Between dwindling budgets, mass layoffs and economic volatility, 2023 was a scary time for B2B practitioners. Whether they were attempting to motive their remaining team members or trying to make the most of existing technology, practitioners often felt they were cobbling together marketing strategies à la Dr. Frankenstein.
As the tribulations of 2023 will likely bleed over into 2024, here are three strategies practitioners should lock up in their asylums (and hope they don’t escape Michael Myers-style!).
1. Overt Sales Pitches
Blatant sales pitches trap B2B buyers in a haunted house of messaging, with “Hi [Name],” and Calendly links dripping in red down the walls. With that lovely visual in mind, it’s unsurprising that nearly half (46%) of all B2B buyers want companies to curb sales messaging in favor of outreach that demonstrates an understanding of their company’s unique needs.
“It comes back to the old adage of buying a used car: We hated it because we knew we were going to be sold to, it was probably going to cost more, the payments would be more expensive and our ROI would drop as soon as we drove off the lot,” said Roderick Jefferson, a Sales Coach for Growth Companies and author of “Sales Enablement 3.0.”, on the B2BMX podcast. “The same thing is happening now, because I think our prospects and customers have access to so much information that they're not looking to be informed; they're actually looking for confirmation about whether or not they should buy from your company.”
Instead, buyers want to build relationships with their sales reps and feel a connection to the company — specifically, 55% want communication that speaks directly to and demonstrates expertise around the needs of their industry. Roderick continued that there’s never been a time in history where humanity and empathy has meant as much as it currently does, so he encouraged salespeople to start actively listening to prospects.
“It’s all about asking the right questions, and it’s about clear communication,” Jefferson continued. “It allows you to demonstrate your credibility but also starts driving the conversation toward action items, like scheduling the next follow-up and moving a prospect along in the buyer’s journey, as well as understanding why they buy, how they buy, when they buy and who’s buying.”
2. Product-Specific Content
I get it: While the primary purpose of marketing efforts is to generate awareness of products, buyers don’t want content that focuses solely on a brand’s value and solutions. Freddy Krueger is the perfect example of product-specific content: He only appears in dreams, and you know you’re in trouble when you see him. Instead, practitioners need to take Jigsaw’s approach and keep buyers on their toes of what they can expect.
Beyond building personal connections, buyers also want content that:
- Presents thought leadership presented by experts and peers (71%);
- Uses data and research to support its claims (53%); and
- Is personalized and tailored to their needs (42%).
3. Form Fills & Gates
Some of the most predictable twists in horror movies feature the captured person finally making it to the door or gate of their captor’s building, only to find that it’s locked, they’re trapped and danger is imminent. B2B buyers feel the same — more than one-third (35%) want content that’s easier to access, while 43% want ungated assets that are easier to share with colleagues.
“People care about time more than ever,” said Jay Baer, Founder of marketing consultancy Convince & Convert, at the B2B Marketing Exchange. “We all only have 1,440 minutes per day — you can’t buy more. Time is the only resource that we all share equally on this planet. A lot of these trends we’re seeing — quiet quitting, the great resignation, traveling, working from home — are all the same. We care about time more than ever so if you give your customers time, they’ll give you money.”
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