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The pace of change in the world of B2B is famously rapid, which makes the task of generating impactful strategies difficult: no sooner have you settled on and refined your plan of action going forward than you realize a competitor is achieving results with a technique or tactic you’d never even heard of, let alone mastered. The increasing sophistication of artificial intelligence makes this unavoidable to a degree, but the best thing you can do is cover all bases, frequently refresh your knowledge of the emerging technologies, and commit wholeheartedly to your own tailored, data-driven processes.
Strategic planning and budgeting are essential for companies of all shapes and sizes, whatever business model is favored. But in an increasingly noisy space, it can be a struggle to know what you should be devoting your time and attention to. If you’re a resource-strapped, time-constrained B2B marketer, you might consider using the following innovative approaches to smash your revenue targets in 2019.
Embrace AI to meet customer expectations
None of us can predict the future, but if we learn to better anticipate what prospects and customers want to hear from us, we will achieve better results (and waste less money trying to figure out their expectations). Tech-savvy organizations have already begun to leverage AI and machine learning, using platforms like Genesys Altocloud to drive sales by identifying intent signals and driving segmentation for marketing programs. That intent data can then be passed to sales team and act as the lifeblood of their strategy and interactions. Being able to better predict what buyers are interested in also informs content topic selection, helping you get ahead in search by crafting impactful, query-solving blog posts and how-to videos. With artificial intelligence continuing its meteoric ascent, and predictive analytics improving day by day, the opportunities to incorporate it into your marketing – for lead generation, predictive sales, up-selling and encouraging collaboration – are virtually limitless.
Tomas Gorny is the CEO of Nextiva, a business communications platform which integrates features such as CRM, cloud communication and business intelligence software. Gorny believes that companies must think outside the box to put information customers provide to better use: “To be successful in today’s environment, businesses need to focus less on how customers contact them and more on how the information those consumers provide at every touch point is collected and used. The value for modern businesses lies in providing real-time and actionable information to everyone in their organizations, from front-line employees all the way up to the CEO.”
Evolve your ABM
In the last 12 months, B2B firms have largely accepted that they can’t generate enough demand without Accounts-Based Marketing (ABM). Indeed, the number of account-based programs is set to grow by at least 150% in 2019. As such, this is the year to ensure your ABM game stacks up: that means ensuring the best tools and technology but also deploying no end of creativity and thought leadership, and leveraging all that data you’ve been gathering to up-sell and cross-sell. To grow your ABM program in 2019, you should be looking at rebuilding your target account list (as well as leveraging account ID software to identify high-value accounts more likely to buy). Remember, too, that it’s easier and cheaper to generate meetings when you are targeting current and previous clients, so growing existing accounts is a must. You should also look to expand your segments and personalize ads for these target account segments. If you don’t already, it may be worthwhile to invest in Lead Management and Marketing Automation software such as Engagio or Terminus.
Start Focusing on CRO
SEO is still key, but if you’re not paying attention to CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization), 2019 has to be the year. Cultivate a high-converting, customer-focused B2B experience by incorporating more high-quality images and video into your website, integrating a customer feedback platform and strengthening your CTA, both in terms of design and text. If you aren’t already, you should start utilizing heat maps to get a clearer idea of how users interact with your website, and you should streamline your basket journey to minimize cart abandonment and inspire retention. While smart SEO will help you gain traction in Google, CRO gets customers in the funnel.
Capitalize on LinkedIn’s Surge
The buzz is back at the world’s largest professional networking site, and you’re missing a trick if it doesn’t figure in your B2B marketing campaign.
Between 2011 and 2017, a period when you might’ve assumed LinkedIn had gone the way of the dodo, the platform’s user base actually grew from 140 million to over 500 million. And the power brokers at the site are responding in kind, adding newer, slicker features into their in-vogue platform. One noteworthy novel development is the site’s brand-new integration with Google Marketing Platform, providing attribution for all your LinkedIn ads in one place. LinkedIn is also altering how users view sponsored content, in a bid to help businesses achieve more actionable clicks. To leverage the increasing popularity of the platform, update your profile, clean up your network connections and post more regular (and relevant) updates, including images, captioned videos, infographics and quotes.
Gear Up for Consumer Voice Searches
Voice is undeniably the fastest-growing trend in terms of search engines, with more than half of teenagers now using voice commands and uptake increasing among adults (41% of whom use voice search daily). This particular trend hasn’t come out of nowhere, of course; it’s been amply fueled by the preponderance of virtual assistants we now use like digital butlers. Whether it’s Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa, the voice recognition of such systems is continuing to improve, and companies are starting to appreciate the key difference between voice searches and their typed equivalents.
Jim Yu, CEO of the enterprise content performance platform BrightEdge, is all too aware of the transformative potential of voice. “In the age of assistance, it seems voice will be the preferred mode of access to AI-driven devices,” he says. “Brands need to think about how they want to sound, rather than just look. Voice search naturally opens up conversations, and it is certainly possible to foresee a future where digital assistants relay messages directly from brands, rather than just reading the text.”
In responding to the rise of voice searches, organizations must customize their content to reflect more long-tailed keywords and phrases. Why? Because voice searches are more often than not long-tail queries. Improving the voice-search discoverability of your content is a question of producing more conversational content, answering specific queries, perfecting local SEO and improving site speed. With many believing that voice search could surpass mobile search within the next few years, this is a trend you want to get an early jump on.
With any luck, you can start putting these tips into practice straightaway. Of course, you needn’t implement all five: it all depends on which ones suit your goals and budget. Even devoting time to mastering one of the aforementioned opportunities could pay rich dividends, though. One thing’s for sure, there is no better time to get going with your B2B marketing essentials, and if you stay informed about the latest trends and opportunities, you won’t be left behind. 2019 could be your best year yet.
March 6, 2019 at 04:49AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs