Do you sometimes just deploy a marketing tactic without giving it too much thought? Then chances are you haven’t spent enough time thinking about your B2B marketing goals. In the next 3 articles I will help you get rid of this approach. Together, we will create a solid B2B marketing plan for more leads, appointments and sales.
In today’s blog, we will start with the basics; choosing marketing goals based on three relevant studies. In the next blog, we will take it one step further and show you how to choose the right strategies to reach your goals. Let’s go!
Want to professionalise marketing? You are not alone
First a compliment: you have a good sense of wanting to professionalise your B2B marketing. You are not alone: many B2B organisations have this ambition. Why? Below are a few clever studies that provide the answers.
Digitalisation is accelerating and is impacting B2B
Of course the digitisation of work is nothing new. However it took some time for this trend to catch on in B2B. And while some are reaping the benefits with fast-growing B2B webshops, most B2B companies are lagging behind in their digitalisation efforts. Why is that an issue? Today, millennials are the generation that are budget responsible and they are expecting a convenient customer experiences. They wonder, “Why is a request for a quote more hassle than an order from Amazon?”.
Unfortunately, this is often the case. In fact, digital satisfaction in B2B is not doing very well. 77% of B2B buyers state that their latest purchase was very complex or difficult. For this, you can look at Drift’s latest report, ‘The 2021 state of Conversational Marketing‘, which was published at the beginning of this year.
What do people find frustrating? It is the small stuff: annoyance at not being able to find basic business information has grown by 20% compared to a year earlier. Other frustrations? Website navigation (+25%) and the use of forms (+27%) are in line with this negative trend.
And yes, you are reading this correctly….This is not a report from the nineties. Why have digital frustrations increased? Perhaps we all have been a little too busy with artificial intelligence, data analytics and chatbots in recent years to have lost sight of the basics..?
No, I don’t need a meeting with sales. Yes, I will sort it out myself
According to a 2021 Forrester study, the need for digital self-service platforms is growing. More than 70% of B2B buyers find ordering from a website more convenient than the traditional sales process. Our customers give similar feedback: buyers are holding off until they have made a choice by themselves. Sales has to do more work for the same well-filled pipeline.
And who is responsible for improving this self-service experience? Most of the time it is marketing as the marketer is responsible for the digital customer experience. That’s good news: marketing is finally taken seriously and becomes an essential part of the management team. Awesome. Now let’s dive into the next part; choosing your marketing goals!
The sense and nonsense of strategic marketing models
Do you want to get started with your marketing strategy? Then it’s a good idea to put a few ideas on paper and create a marketing plan. Chances are, you’ll be looking for a nice, practical fill-in-the-blank template that you can use as a guideline for your plan. Right?
In this case, Google is not your best friend. Just try it. Before you know it, you’ll be watching a two-hour video lecture and wondering how this umpteenth strategic marketing model is going to help your business generate more revenue. These are similar doubts that you had when you were in college. Porter, BCG, Kotler and customer pyramids; a complete dejavu…
Unilever has different marketing objectives than an IT company with 100 employees
In practice, marketing is much less strategic than the models discussed in studies. How is that possible? Unilever simply has more say in a curriculum than an IT company with 100 employees. When you think of marketing, you probably do not have the ambition to reinvent your entire business. Chances are you are simply looking for concrete things you can do to get more leads, appointments and sales. Nothing more, nothing less.
Therefore, beware of deploying a strategic marketing model. It is fine to get ideas, but I prefer to look at the challenges that companies experience when it comes to marketing. Because only when you have your challenges in focus can you determine relevant marketing objectives.
Choosing marketing objectives? Focus on challenges
Let’s take a look at the challenges B2B marketers experience. Because only when your marketing strategy connects with the things that keep your CEO awake you can make a difference. To this end, I am going to look at three studies that can serve as a basis for your B2B marketing strategy.
Marketing objectives of marketers in large organisations
45% of B2B marketers say that identifying target groups or accounts is one of the most critical challenges in their digital marketing strategy. This is according to a 2021 report by Intentsify and Ascend2. The study included more than 250 B2B marketers in the US who work at companies with more than $10 million in annual revenue.
The most important challenges in a row:
- The cooperation between different departments (36%)
- Reaching target groups via digital channels (35%)
- Scaling results with current resources (34%)
- Determining the right messaging for specific accounts (32%)
Nothing new, but still worth mentioning: about a quarter (23%) say that the alignment of marketing and sales is an obstacle to a successful digital marketing strategy.
Marketing objectives of marketers within tech and IT
Another perspective? For this, have a look at the study ‘The State of B2B lead Management 2022‘ by LeanData and OutreachB2B. It was conducted among 1,732 marketing and sales professionals, mostly working in tech and IT.
The most important challenges in a row:
- Generating sufficient growth in the pipeline (48.8%)
- Attracting talent and teams (22.4%)
- Scaling up and reaching the current target group (8.3%)
- Accelerating digital transformation within marketing and sales (7.1%)
- Investing in new tech stack (3.5%)
It also indicated that COVID-19 had a major impact on the marketing strategy. IT companies have been busy adjusting their go-to-market approach with virtual selling at its core.
Marketing objectives of marketers at IT companies
Finally, have a look at the ‘2022 Demand Generation Benchmark Survey‘ by ON24. It is a survey that was conducted among 116 B2B marketers active in IT. About 3 in 10 (31%) of the B2B marketers in this survey are going the extra mile to increase sales by at least 20%. A growth in the number of leads should ensure this.
The most important challenges in a row:
- Improved cooperation between sales and marketing (42%)
- Warming up and following up leads (40%)
- Improving the conversion of marketing lead (MQL) to opportunity (38%)
- Providing better insight into the ROI of marketing activities (36%)
- Formulating a strategy to generate qualified leads (32%)
Choose your marketing objectives based on your challenge
Although the outcomes of the reports are different, there is definitely an overlap. If you zoom out a bit, these are the most important marketing objectives you want to address in your B2B marketing strategy.
5 objectives you do not want to miss in your B2B marketing strategy
- Creating digital content to support your sales team and processes
- Having an effective approach to lead generation
- Finding the right online marketing channels
- Warming up and following up leads
- Improving collaboration between sales and marketing
Fulfilling your marketing objectives
I can hear you think, ‘Yes, this sounds relevant, but how am I going to do all this?’ And you are probably right, giving substance to these 5 objectives is no picnic. Not everything can be done at once. Remember what I told you in the beginning of this blog? The one about B2B decision-makers being massively annoyed by information that is missing from websites? Does that sound familiar?
In that case, I would wait doing A/B tests between online marketing channels to optimize your cost per lead (CPL)… In that case, focus on the essentials first. Focus on your marketing fundamentals. In the next blogs we will dive deeper into how to implement these objectives. For now, there is one other thing I would like you to do…
Checkout where you are in marketing maturity to help determine your marketing objective(s)
Do you remember when you just got your driving licence? And your first time driving around the neighbourhood in your parents’ car? At that time, it would not have been wise to step into a Ferrari.
It is not much different in marketing. Below you will find a frequently used marketing maturity model. In it, you will find the marketing objectives in the form of a step-by-step plan. What does it involve? You start at level 1. Completed level1 ? Then you move on to the next level, working step by step towards a professional B2B marketing strategy for your organisation.
What b2b marketing objectives are you implementing this year? Share your thoughts and inspire others!