Business-to-business (B2B) marketers often face a dilemma. They are aware that digital marketing can be more cost-effective than traditional marketing, but at the same time they need to deliver leads and so typically have little opportunity for experimenting with digital.

To help those in this situation, Econsultancy recently held a Digital Intelligence Briefing in Singapore featuring B2B marketing specialist Anol Bhattacharya. Bhattacharya related his vast experience in generating leads online for some of the world's largest B2B enterprises.

Key points from his presentation are summarized below, but first we'd like to invite all B2B marketers in the APAC region to attend Econsultancy's Masterclass in Lead Generation, led by Bhattacharya, on the 19th and 20th of October in Singapore. You can find out more information and book your spot here.

So what should B2B marketers do to improve lead generation on digital channels?

1. Make sure your messaging is relevant

Research indicates that 80% of a purchase decision for B2B buyers is made before contacting sales.

What this means for B2B marketers is that messaging now plays a greater role in B2B lead generation than it ever has before.

To highlight the factors of B2B messaging, Bhattacharya presented delegates with an equation:

The first point to take from this equation is that if you want your messaging to be effective you need to make it relevant. If relevance is effectively zero (i.e. not relevant), then you are providing your customers only friction and anxiety.

So to improve your relevancy, and your lead generation, Bhattacharya said marketers must remember two key points about making their messaging relevant:

  1. You are not selling to a corporation, but to a person and your messaging must reflect this fact. Making your customer 'more human' by drafting customer personas can help a great deal.
  2. There is always more than one person involved in the B2B sales process, so consider all of those involved when crafting your messaging.

Multiple personas, representing each person involved in the buying cycle, will help ensure that your messaging is relevant across the whole organisation you are targeting and improve your overall messaging effectiveness.

2. Map the customer journey

In order to improve the next part of the messaging effectiveness equation, the offer value and incentive, marketers must understand where the customer is on their journey. There is little point in offering a discount when the customer has not yet decided what they are going to buy.

The traditional customer journey has four steps: awareness, interest, desire, and action (AIDA). Aligning messaging with these familiar stages makes marketing easier, but unfortunately the AIDA model rarely corresponds with the actual customer buying process.

As every B2B business has a dramatically different customer journey, Bhattacharya acknowledged it can be difficult to give general advice. He did, however, recommend that those who are just starting should have a look at two different models:

  1. The experience map, which combines the guiding principles of the buyer, their buying stages, and how the buying experience appears to them along the way.
  2. The Jobs To Be Done framework, which looks at how each persona moves through the buying process so that marketing can find and eliminate any potential gaps.

Using one of these frameworks or another which provides a more realistic model for the customer journey than AIDA will help marketers deliver the right offers and incentives at the right time.

3. Reduce friction and anxiety 

The final variables of the messaging effectiveness equation are friction and anxiety, and marketers should aim to reduce both.

A simple way to remove friction, according to Bhattacharya, is to use everyday language, not 'gobbledygook'. This means purging your marketing materials of many of the buzzwords which plague modern business writing.

Another way marketers can reduce friction is to ensure your marketing content covers subjects which matter to the customer, not just to the brand. A customer spends nearly all of their time thinking about their business, not your product, and so the overlap between what they are interested in and what you want to say is probably very small.

Finally, B2B marketers should avoid including any information requests which may cause either friction or anxiety.

As an example, Bhattacharya encouraged attendees to first review all requests for user information and remove redundant or useless fields so that potential customers will be more likely to fill them in.

Additionally, marketers should also remove form fields which may cause anxiety, such as address and phone number. Unless you need to send something or the prospect has requested you contact them by post or by phone, then asking for these will only make them suspicious of your motives. Then it will be less likely that they offer any information at all, thereby reducing your B2B messaging effectiveness.

So...

As corporate consumers now use 80% of the buying cycle to research a business before contacting sales, messaging is now one of the most important parts of B2B marketing.

To make it more effective, marketers should follow the messaging effectiveness equation and audit their marketing materials and interactive parts of their site to make sure that they are providing relevant information for each part of the customer journey, and not causing friction or anxiety when gathering information.

A word of thanks

Econsultancy would like to thank Anol Bhattacharya, CEO at GetIT Comms and B2B marketing specialist, for his presentation as well as the delegates who took time out of their busy schedules to attend.

We hope to see you all at future Singapore Econsultancy events!

Jeff Rajeck

Published 24 August, 2017 by Jeff Rajeck

Jeff Rajeck is the APAC Research Analyst for Econsultancy . You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.  

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