B2B marketing has hit a wall. Audiences are getting harder to reach, campaigns are fractured across channels and, for many brands, performance is flatlining.
The pressure is on — marketers are becoming more responsible for driving revenue. In fact, Forrester research shows that 82% of CMOs have goals tied directly to revenue. As such, modern marketers are taking an active approach to measuring and accelerating pipeline — a task that was typically reserved for sales. But at companies such as Oracle and CenturyLink, there is a growing priority for marketers to generate pipeline metrics, including velocity, which can provide key insights to accelerate deals and streamline customer retention and advocacy.
Koble is a B2B matchmaking platform that aims to simplify the customer journey by matching prospects with relevant companies, products and people. The Koble platform is designed to spark genuine conversations between buyers and sellers by empowering users to post content, questions, reviews and more.
Progressive B2B brands are taking a note from the B2C playbook and meeting buyers on their preferred platforms, such as on podcasts, through videos and on social media. In fact, the number of buyers using social media to research potential solutions has grown from 20% in 2012 to 54% in 2018, according to the B2B Buyers Survey. Yet, research from the Content Marketing Institute shows that while 80% of B2B marketers have a social media strategy in place, only 32% have documented it.
A winning social media strategy must be documented and expansive. B2B companies should leverage a variety of social media platforms to not only promote their products, but also share relevant content, engage with customers, build brand awareness and more. Here are five B2B brands with a stellar social media presence we can all learn from:
MailChimp is an email marketing platform, but you wouldn’t necessarily know it by looking at their Instagram. The company’s Instagram page is a beautiful blend of bright colors, entertaining videos and a dash of humor — a winning combination that has landed MailChimp over 83,000 Instagram followers. Visit the page for yourself and see if you can resist hitting the follow button.
Slack leverages Twitter as a two-way communication platform to engage with current and prospective customers. On most days, the Slack Twitter is awash with relevant videos, articles and more, and the Slack team is constantly responding to comments from other Twitter users. But on days where Slack is down, the company uses Twitter as an active platform to send out status updates and field individual questions and feedback from users. With Twitter, Slack can provide real-time customer support in an easily accessible and scalable way.
The best brands don’t just have social media pages for their companies, but also their events. HubSpot is a shining example of Facebook use at its finest.
The company has created a separate Facebook page solely for its annual INBOUND event. Although the event takes place in early September, the company is dedicated to building a year-long, sustainable community around it. To do so, HubSpot created an INBOUND Studio page, where it posts video interviews, “dear attendee” tips, quotes and more on a regular basis. The posts help drive engagement long after the event has ended, as well as build excitement around the following year’s event.
LinkedIn is repeatedly named the top social media platform to reach B2B buyers, and Oracle is a prime example of how to best leverage the site. The company is ranked 9th on LinkedIn’s top companies list and has amassed more than three million LinkedIn followers. Beyond just sharing content and relevant news, Oracle makes a point to connect with its followers and showcase the people behind the brand.
Earlier this month, the company opened up about losing 11 employees on 9/11. Then, in the wake of Hurricane Florence, Oracle posted a video of two employees who are delivering supplies and providing aid to those affected by the storm and urged its followers to join them in giving back. In doing so, Oracle humanizes its brand and creates a company image that people will want to support.
Instagram is quickly growing in popularity and is considered the number one platform for engagement. Nevertheless, you’ll be hard-pressed to find many B2B brands using the platform, let alone posting content on a regular basis.
Adobe, which recently acquired Marketo, has a notable Instagram presence on par with MailChimp. The Adobe Instagram feed looks like something straight out of Pinterest, with breathtaking travel photos, inspirational quotes and quirky designs. But don’t be fooled by the professional-looking photos, as they are often created by Adobe users themselves. By crowdsourcing user photos, Adobe always has a steady stream of content available and can showcase the power of its products over social media.
The B2B buyer journey increasingly mirrors its B2C counterpart, with prospects now turning to B2B review sites for credible peer advice much like they would Yelp or Glassdoor. According to Demand Gen Report’s 2018 B2B Buyers Survey, 65% of buyers rate B2B software and service reviews as “very important” when evaluating a set list of solution providers. As such, top-tier marketing and sales teams at companies such as Marketo, InsideView and Quick Base are embracing B2B review sites as a way to gather trustworthy, third-party testimonials and infuse customer voices across the buyer journey.
With all the advantages technology provides these days in terms of marketing automation, efficiency, speed and data availability, there’s still no guarantee that, as a senior marketer, you’re bringing in enough B2B leads each quarter to meet your goals. In reality, for most of the marketers we talk to, utilizing technology and digital marketing tactics alone is not always enough to get across the finish line. So what’s a “surprise” solution for squeezing more performance and more B2B leads out of your digital marketing programs? An older-school technology — telemarketing.
Video production continues to grow in the B2B marketing space and among business large and small. In fact, the new 2018 Video in Business Benchmark Report from Vidyard revealed that video usage in sales conversations grew from 25% to 37% over the past year and the number of businesses incorporating videos into their emails and landing pages increased by 10% and 11%, respectively.
In the B2B world, there is a very real struggle with trying to match individuals (leads) to accounts. With buyers using multiple devices, privacy laws restricting what data can be collected and multiple people involved in the B2B buying decision, it can be nearly impossible for a B2B company to accurately track buyers. And what makes it even more complicated in the B2B context is the fact that you need to be able to roll up the engagement you have with different people to the company you are targeting, so that you can get a true view of how that company is engaging with your business.