While B2B businesses have already embraced the idea of customer-centricity, many have yet to adapt to the reality of online customer experiences. That's resulted in millions of marketing dollars being misspent and potential sales lost at a time when companies can ill afford it. In fact, McKinsey revealed that more than 30 world’s top B2B organizations around shows that 55% all marketing spend is misaligned, going to areas that do little to influence the purchasing decisions of top customers.
Understanding what drives customer engagement means that B2B marketers can make smarter, more informed decisions about where to allocate resources and how to drive sales.
Today we will give you several tips on how B2B brands can engage with their customers and more effectively measure their ROI.
1. Target and Refine your Marketing efforts
Measuring the success of marketing and branding initiatives for B2B brands requires substantial effort and must be constantly revisited and refined.
Too many companies make assumptions about what works in marketing without the research or testing to back them. Rather than trying to prove that your marketing works, shift your mindset to focus on uncovering what works for your brand.
Stop making assumptions. Ask your existing clients: “How do you want to hear from us? What’s the best way for us to engage? How can we improve your satisfaction?” There are many ways to engage your customers online: through social media communities, personalised emails, articles, interactive quizzes.. This way you will know how to push your current customer acquision strategy and extend your reach! Our Knexus platform lets marketers distribute content across one or every digital channel, with an easy to use interface.
2. Brand yourself as an expert
In Brand Engagement in the Participation Age, Google highlighted the shift in consumer behavior from “leaning back, receiving brand messages, to leaning forward and actively engaging with them.” As leaders and their teams assess current marketing efforts and budget for a new year, it’s important to consider the benefits of establishing your company’s key subject matter experts as thought leaders in your industry. The goal of thought leadership marketing is not to create sales heavy content, but to provide an entry point to your business by branding yourself as an expert. (Forbes)
If your products/services are complex or technologically advanced this provides a greater opportunity for thought leadership. Customers are more likely to want to take the time to understand the market, and you have more room to play the role of a visionary. You need to actually acquire the necessary knowledge and provide B2B buyers with purposeful, practical advice. In doing so, you’ll build trust and develop a relationship that could eventually lead to a sale. This is what real thought leadership is about - knowing your topic extremely well and pushing out informed, creative content.
B2B companies can evolve toward customer engagement by understanding their customers and creating a value-added user experience. Companies create user segments that target their most highly valued customers and prospects. They must be able to quickly type users, surface targeted messaging, and deliver a user experience geared specifically to that user segment. By personalizing the interaction, the chances of conversion improve exponentially.
3. Use the right metrics
According to Content Marketing Institute, over the past six years, B2B marketers have consistently cited website traffic as their most often used metric. Still, we say the most important metrics are sales lead quality (87%), sales (84%), and higher conversion rates (72%).
This year Clickz came up with four key metrics key to succeed in the B2B marketing space that the most successful brands focused carefully on.
1. Lead generation metrics - ROI of ads & campaigns, Raw leads generated, Quality of leads.
2. Top of funnel metrics - Visitors to most popular landing pages (even ones that don’t convert to optimize them), Organic / non-paid traffic (search, social, etc), PR and non-paid media impact.
3. Community & nurturing metrics - Size and engagement of community (directional), Email metrics (for nurturing, education, etc), Time to respond for user questions (how quickly does your team resolve issues).
4. Customer satisfaction / loyalty metrics - survey data, Net Promoter Score.
4. Foster partnership between marketing and sales
By developing a common understanding of the journey and those battlegrounds where they needed to compete for customers, marketing and sales can communicate more clearly and focus more effectively on activities that engage customers. Both - sales and marketing teams should have built in tracking and analysis that makes it incredibly easy to get this information when needed.
You can also track engagement through metrics that determine lead conversions, customer conversions and percentage of web traffic associated with your social media efforts. And remember, not all social media will work for your business, so be sure to track the ones that really matter to you and your customer. B2B companies that embrace the concept of customer engagement and invest in evolving their online presence see 30% increase in their lead generation activities.