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As a business, you face many challenges including how to market your product or service in a B2B environment. Such challenges are faced so often that you are probably familiar with them and discuss with your marketing team on an almost daily basis.
Some of the most challenging hurdles to get over are dealing with a lengthening sales cycle, market segmentation and program attribution. Solving this puzzle is enough to give any business heartburn — but it doesn’t have to. An experienced marketing team can help solve them.
Here are a few specific B2B marketing challenges that companies face every day and some suggestions to solve them:
1. Lengthening your sales cycle
One of the first problems is how to deal with the length of the sales cycle. According to Forrester Research, an independent technology and market research company, a whopping 90 percent of the sales process is completed by the potential client before they ever reach out to your sales team. It is also interesting to note that nearly 50 percent of businesses being looked at are eliminated from contention before sales is given the opportunity to make their pitch.
Solution: To give your business a better chance at being part of the 50 percent that “makes the cut,” have your marketing team look into creating more top funnel activity. An example of this could be using your web site and offer potential clients free eBooks, guides, or checklists that will help make their decision easier.
Doing this keeps your brand in front of them and shows them that you know your business and can be a great way to introduce to them more about who you are and how you can help them.
2. Recording metrics
This can be another sticking point for many marketing teams. Marketing would be much easier if you could determine the exact amount of reach each marketing initiative made. Unfortunately you can’t, so determining where to spend your marketing dollars can be difficult.
Solution: To help with this try determining what the exact goal of each marketing initiative is. For example: Does your corporate website exist to create brand awareness or generate leads? Knowing the exact purpose will help you gain an understanding of which metrics to pay attention to. If you launch a display advertising campaign for brand awareness, measuring click-through rates wouldn’t be appropriate. Instead, measuring website traffic might give better insight into your brand awareness campaign and whether or not it is working.
If leads are your goal, measuring click-through rates on your calls to action and conversion rates from your landing pages. This would be the best way to tell if your website is doing what you designed it for.
For measuring web site traffic, there are a number of programs out there including Google Analytics. But for tracking your traffic on your site and click-through rates, using software programs such as HubSpot is the way to go.
3. Differentiating your brand
Lastly, one of the greatest B2B marketing challenges is brand differentiation. How do you go about setting your company apart from the others? In reality, nearly every business is using email blasts and their websites at every turn because they are good with reaching anyone — no matter what part of the sales process they are in.
The problem is that your business is reaching out to people whom you already know. To achieve brand differentiation you have to get in front of the audience wherever they may be. These days you can probably find them online and chances they are out there looking for someone to help them… is that you? It could be.
Solution: Being an active participant in social media communities like Twitter, Facebook and Google+ could be an avenue to help you reach your audience. However, do note that not all of these are where to find them. Sometimes the people you are looking for may primarily gather on Twitter or only a particular Facebook community. A little research will help you determine that.
Making your business available when the client is looking for you is key when solving common B2B marketing challenges. Using the corporate website to provide helpful blogs or insightful commentary regarding your expertise can be the differentiator between you and a competitor.