The reality of B2B marketing is changing rapidly. As a leading provider of advice and support to some blue-chip brands in Australia – Nestle, Sigma Healthcare and USG Boral to name a few – we have the privilege of working with some of the most experienced B2B marketers in Australia on a daily basis.
With this in mind, we recently hosted a webinar (yes, another webinar in the zoom typhoon of 2020) with three clients who have looked at their changing surroundings and embraced the opportunity.
Below I cover some lessons from their discussion, layered with our take on some of the more pertinent matters in the B2B marketing landscape moving into 2021.
1. Sales teams must turn to Marketing to help build virtual relationships
B2B marketers have a role to play in enabling revenue generation particularly through sales and marketing orchestration and moving from cost centres to growth drivers. Solutions such as virtual tours and demonstrations (check out this KelloggInsight piece) are becoming more acceptable in lieu of more traditional face-to-face meetings.
We believe the opportunity ahead lies in exploring intent data and planning for account-based marketing to move prospects down your sales funnel. Pre-empting your prospects requirements is the only way to ensure you are ahead of the pack when a buyer enters the market and the trysts of 2020 have made this only ever more relevant.
2. The move to digital and B2B eCommerce at scale
Buyers have grown increasingly reticent of communication tactics (looking for unsubscribe buttons at the bottom of emails to identify bulk-senders, for example) and will look to self-serve as much as possible. Aligning to evolving buyer content and channel preferences will not only prime leads for handover to sales but also promise growth in revenue and cost savings, as outlined by this Magento report.
Meanwhile, an increasing number of B2B decision makers are millennials – up to 73% in fact (Forbes) – and global eCommerce is expected to top $20 Trillion by 2025. Put together, these statistics present a compelling case of B2B businesses to start investing in new platforms and online purchase models. We are working with companies such as PPG and Thermo Fisher as they make the move towards this future – learn more about these case studies in the Green Hat Pandemic Playbook.
3. Building online communities will bear fruit in the long term
Large online communities have set the bar high as companies such as Salesforce aim to have 50% of their content being user-generated in coming years. As marketers we all know the importance of referrals and advocacy – anything from comments in online forums to testimonials, particularly in rich media play an increasingly important role in buyer evaluations.
Sellers lament that buyers have more time to do their research in lieu of the charming smiles and handshakes that traditionally sandwiched facts in sales pitches. Buyers would argue it is time better spent understanding how the offers in their consideration set can affect their business. The truth is communities are a great sales support because not only do humans buy from humans but they also look to their peers in their purchase evaluations.
Ultimately, we may be close(r) to the end of the pandemic but it is no secret that the world will not be the same. B2B buyers have now seen the potential of a contact-less world and as marketers, we must adapt to this reality. At Green Hat, we see this as an exciting time of change. One where we can try a host of new ideas because tried-and-tested just doesn’t exist anymore. If anything, it’s a time for us to truly think about the humans at the other end of our conversations and the better we do that, the more we will win our share of voice.