Each year, businesses across the country proclaim that THIS is the year that they will grow sales while simultaneously reducing the cost of doing so. In 2015, remaining competitive in virtually any market requires a keen sense of how to push these dollar signs in opposing directions.
A good place to start is to revisit your strategic plan to ensure the assumptions related to your customers, competitors, go-to-market strategy, etc. are still relevant. This plan provides the foundation for your marketing and sales efforts.
The next logical step is to ensure that your digital strategies are up to the challenge. Although your target customer may not have changed, the way they buy products has changed dramatically. Today, B2B buyers undertake almost two-thirds of the purchasing journey online. Your plugged-in consumers get information via websites, LinkedIn, online forums and the like, anytime and anywhere. Marketing and sales teams need to find ways to understand this buyer behavior to gain mindshare and make the short list.
To supercharge your company's growth in 2015, here are five ingredients to complete your marketing and sales strategy:
1. Content Sells
With 95% of B2B sales directly influenced by content, it is critical to unlock its power as a way of influencing decision-makers to whom the sales people don't have direct access.
Landing pages, microsites, blogs, testimonials, success stories and interactive videos help capture mindshare about your company, product or service. My recent blog focused exclusively on content marketing offers a deeper dive into how to get started.
2. Mobile-First Mentality
B2B buyers are using mobile devices to research products and view content, proposals and pricing. With some studies indicating that mobile is now the leading way that the general public accesses the internet, marketers must adopt a "mobile-first" mentality.
Your approach can include things like a responsive design website that adjusts automatically to any screen size, mobile-optimized emails, mobile social strategies, and even text messaging, depending on the markets.
3. Search Marketing
SEO in 2015 is much more integrated with content and social than in the past. Though Google is expected to reduce the emphasis on keywords as part of expected changes to its algorithm, a good organic search strategy must continue to include the keywords most relevant to your prospects. Additionally, you should incorporate mobile optimization techniques that acknowledge the unique needs of a person on the go, a link-building strategy that leverages brand names and links from other portals, and a rich social media presence.
4. Predictive Lead Scoring
Predictive scoring integrates internal CRM, web, and social media data to predict actual buying behavior better. Vendors like Lattice Engines and Mintigo offer cloud-based B2B predictive analytics solutions that offer better quality leads, faster sales cycles, and better conversion rates.
5. Change in Sales Approach
To be top-of-mind with today's buyer, you need to adapt to their changed buying behavior and social signals. Consider using a free or low-cost analytic tool such as Google Analytics, Kissmetrics, or others to see where your prospects gather information. Ensure your website is optimized to quickly move leads to your sales funnel and use LinkedIn and Twitter to research and engage prospects and customers.
Make 2015 the year that you truly sell smarter--not harder. Hopefully, I've reassured you that it needn't take massive amounts of time, energy or resources to implement even one of the above strategies as a means of immediately supercharging your marketing and sales results.
Ameeta Soni is CMO at Chief Outsiders, an "Executives-as-a-Service" firm helping grow early-stage and mid-sized companies with part-time, or fractional, Chief Marketing Officers. Ameeta's background includes marketing, consulting, and board experience in the cloud, energy, industrial, and professional services sectors. She is a Springboard alum and past chair of the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge.