Most B2B companies struggle with lead generation and delivering marketing qualified leads (MQLs) that are valuable to sales. A HubSpot study revealed that only 7% of salespeople said they receive “very high quality” leads from marketing. So how do you stop this cycle of friction between sales and marketing?
Here are five B2B marketing strategies that we’ve helped clients implement to fill the sales funnel with more MQLs:
1. Set the foundation with thought leadership.
Thought leadership content should position you as a subject matter expert and educate your customers to make informed buying decisions. Curating compelling thought leadership content lays the foundation for lead generation campaigns by gaining your prospects’ trust.
In an Edelman study, 37% of business decision-makers and 41% of C-suite executives said thought leadership content influenced them to ask a vendor to participate in the RFP process, and 48% indicated it had a direct impact on closing the deal.
Thought leadership content is the cornerstone of our agency’s approach, and successful campaigns start with it. Create a core piece of content, turn it into multiple assets like e-books, bylined articles, white papers and infographics, and then promote it across every channel. With lengthy B2B sales cycles, companies must gradually nurture and build trust with prospects using content relevant to every stage in their decision-making process.
2. Turn more passive visitors into active prospects with a lead-generation-focused website.
Every company should design and organize its website with the buyer journey in mind, incorporating features that deliver conversions. Here are a few features every website should integrate:
• Call-To-Action (CTA) Buttons: A great CTA uses action-packed words like “get in touch,” “download now” or “reserve your seat,” and gives the visitor a good reason to click. Taken a step further, personalized CTAs convert 202% better than standard one-size-fits-all buttons because they match content with each visitor’s characteristics and level of interest.
• Testimonials Or Case Studies: Buyers read an average of 10 online reviews before trusting a company, and positive reviews make 68% of consumers more likely to purchase a product or service. Testimonials should always relate to the decision factors of your prospects and they should strategically mention what buyers are looking for. Case studies can be incredibly powerful if they start with the problem and include how it was resolved and the impressive results. The best case studies tell a great story but most importantly showcase why your solution is better or different from the competition. Since most case studies are downloadable, the CTA should be embedded in the file.
• Landing Pages: These are an essential tool to help marketers achieve a specific goal, such as driving website traffic, generating signups or selling products, without the distractions of navigating a full website. Publishing compelling landing pages can be a targeted way to showcase your latest thought leadership, secure new opt-in contacts, boost SEO and automate lead generation.
• Analytics: The only way to improve conversions and performance is with analytics. One mistake we often find is not setting up analytics correctly. Ensure that each button, link and form is being tracked so you and your team know where, when and how readers are converting or not converting. This is powerful because you can make adjustments based on real behavior. Changing button locations, reducing required information on forms, headlines, CTAs and speed of the landing page are a few places to start when looking for ways to get more out of your landing page.
• Friction Test: Before launching, make sure to complete a “friction test.” We recommend testing the speed of the landing page (one of the top reasons people leave) by using a tool like Google’s PageSpeed Insights.
3. Sponsored content should be in every marketing plan.
Sponsored content is predicted to exceed $400 billion by 2025, and nearly 75% of communications professionals say they incorporate it into their sales and marketing strategy. We’ve successfully executed numerous sponsored content campaigns on behalf of our clients and found that some strategies consistently deliver, one being gated content syndication.
• Gated Content Syndication: Our clients have seen great success through sponsored content campaigns that are simple and turnkey. Paying the right media company to publish content in a natural location — usually mixed with editorial content — to drive readers to download it in exchange for their contact information is a sure-fire way to get high-value MQLs. Companies see a 50% higher brand lift when publishing their content in the media versus self-publishing. And this lift translates to leads, too.
4. Leverage the hyper-targeting abilities of social media.
According to a 2018 B2B Buyers Survey report, 65% of buyers rely more on peer recommendations and review sites when considering solutions.
We continue to see success in running paid ad campaigns on LinkedIn to expose brands to more decision-makers and drive new top-of-funnel relationships. LinkedIn reported an average 6.1% conversion rate among its sponsored content user base, compared to 2.58% for B2B Google Ads. Running lead generation or brand awareness ads that share thought leadership content is an easy and inexpensive way to generate leads and amplify your work.
5. Tradeshow marketing strategies can captivate attendees and drive new leads.
Innovative tradeshow activations, such as hiring an artist to live-draw in your booth, can captivate attendees right where you want them: in your booth. We made this happen for a client who walked away with valuable video content and hundreds of new leads. Or, consider partnering with a media company to co-sponsor video interviews of executives from your top prospect companies. Your sales staff can leverage pre-scheduled media interviews with prospects to convert them to buyers, and you land valuable video material that boosts website traffic.
With billions of dollars spent annually on sponsored content, tradeshow marketing and website content management, marketers are constantly hit with new tools and strategies. Stick to these B2B marketing strategies to deliver MQLs that the sales team appreciates.