B2B marketing is hard.
As a digital marketer, you wear many different hats. But at the end of the day, your main responsibility is generating more leads and sales. Because if your company doesn’t grow, everything else becomes secondary.
So what’s preventing you from reaching the growth targets? We hear these reasons pretty often:
- The lead costs are high. Paid traffic is becoming more expensive, and organic traffic is harder to come by.
- Lead nurturing is hard. Most of the people are not ready to buy, and the majority of your leads will never convert into sales.
- Customer journeys are long and complex. Sometimes there can be hundreds of interactions before you close the sale.
Here is the latest customer journey research from Gartner. It shows just how many interaction points there are before a B2B buying decision is made.
But the biggest problem companies face with B2B marketing is how quickly it’s evolving. Your marketing strategy from two years ago no longer works. Here’s why:
- Inefficient internal marketing processes. You move and react too slowly
- The paradox of choice. There are thousands of tools and strategies out there. How to pick the right one in a complex business such as yours?
- Outdated marketing technology. The tools you use make you fall behind faster than ever
- No alignment between sales and marketing in your organisation. Everyone is working in silos
Just like the buyers’ expectations are changing, the way you meet them must change as well. If you don’t, your company will eventually die.
So how do you stay relevant and keep growing as a B2B company?
You need a Growth Marketing mindset
Contrary to popular belief, growth marketing is not a silver bullet. You cannot magically “hack” your way into more online sales. Instead, growth marketing is a process that transforms the way your company works.
Growth marketing forces you to:
- Go outside of traditional channels and strategies
- Move quickly and test new ideas
- Rely on data and dig deep
- Reach customers at every stage of the customer journey
- Build stronger relationships between your own sales and marketing
There are several key ways that make growth marketing different from your old strategy:
|Traditional way||Growth Marketing way|
|Creating a marketing strategy for the next year||Constantly experimenting with new approaches to see what works best|
|Working with long-term project plans and targets||Using the Agile model and working in 2-week sprints that have their own goals and KPIs|
|Collecting only basic marketing data (e.g. Google Analytics), and not acting on it||Making data the driving force behind all your marketing campaigns|
|Only using proven marketing tools that work for other companies||Testing new marketing technology all the time to see if it improves your results|
Experimentation, agility, data and marketing technology. We call them the Principles of Growth Marketing.
Let’s look at each one in more detail.
Growth marketing means constant experimentation with modern tools and methods.
Digging deep and quickly testing marketing ideas puts your team in a new state of mind. You no longer have the luxury of time, and have to become more creative and agile.
No matter how experienced you are, there is simply no way of knowing if your long-term marketing strategy will work. And if it doesn’t, you’ve just wasted a lot of time and fallen further behind.
Instead of putting all eggs in one basket, you need an experiment-driven process. It helps you to test multiple strategies, and find the ones that fit your company best.
Here’s how to start experimenting with your marketing:
- Deep Understanding. Get the data behind what’s really preventing you from growing.
- Experimentation. Create multiple hypotheses for how to solve the problem, and test them one by one.
- Scaling. Choose the solutions that work best, and kill the rest.
Want to see how this approach works in real life? Click here to read our award-winning case study, where we grew our client’s B2B leads by 13x in 5 months
2) Be agile
B2B companies have traditionally been slow to adopt new processes and tools. There are still many stock-listed companies out there that use spreadsheets instead of CRM tools!
Similarly, marketing departments still get together in January to create a grand plan for the rest of the year. They then meet again in December to review the progress. If it worked, great! If not, no big deal. There’s always next year.
Do you see a problem with this ridiculous way of working?
Luckily, our friends from software development have found a better solution – the Agile Method. It happens to work very well in marketing, too.
Instead of long-term project plans, Agile marketing uses shorter work sequences known as Sprints. Each sprint can be 2-4 weeks long, and has its own goals and KPIs.
By adapting the Agile Marketing mindset, your team can experiment, get results and improve quicker. It prioritises achievable goals over fake numbers that look good on strategy slides.
Here’s how to make your marketing team more agile:
- Analyse data to identify improvement opportunities
- Design and prioritise experiment ideas
- Divide your timeline into 2-4 week sprints
- Set up small project teams of 3-5 people, where everyone has a clear role in the sprint
- Set clear and measurable goals for each experiment / sprint
- Follow up on progress mid-sprint to identify bottlenecks
- When a sprint ends, analyse experiment data and find a way to improve
3) Trust data
Long gone are the days where men in suits would come up with a brilliant marketing campaign over a glass of single malt whisky. So why are you still building your marketing campaigns based on someone’s opinions?
Growth marketing relies on data every step of the way – from initial planning to post-campaign analysis. Without it, you will waste time and money searching for the right answer.
Here’s how to use data in B2B growth marketing:
- Use data to clearly understand your current situation, and set measurable goals
- Collect data during every customer interaction – from the first click to the latest sale
- Share data between your marketing and sales tools to get the complete picture of a customer journey
- Use collected data to personalise your content for different buyer personas
Every experiment you run needs to have a data-driven baseline, and a clear numerical goal. Use tools that can help you collect, visualise and analyse large sets of data. Then make that knowledge the cornerstone of your marketing.
Talking about tools…
4) Use marketing technology
There is no way around it. Growth marketing relies on technology to get results. You are doomed to fall behind the companies that are braver in adapting new marketing tools.
Here’s how marketing technology can help you grow:
- Marketing analytics tools collect and visualise data to help you make the right decisions
- Landing page builders can help you create a new campaign in minutes
- Adtech tools can run thousands of ad campaigns at once, to find the best performers
- Marketing automation helps you save time on routine processes
- Lead nurturing tools keep your contact database warm
- Machine learning algorithms constantly improve your campaigns while you sleep
- AI can automatically personalise your website to fit the right customer
There are over 10,000 marketing tools available today. Trusting the experiment-based process will help you find the ones that fit your needs.
Embrace the fact that the only way to stay competitive is to move away from the old reactionary approach. Don’t wait until your sales start dropping and you realize that what you’re doing isn’t working.
It’s not too late to start doing marketing the right way, and become a growth marketing organisation.