Tag Archives: B2B sales

The 2018 guide to B2B sales, Part 3: Using CRM data for lasting benefits

In Parts 1 and 2 of this B2B blog series, we discussed how to effectively use different channels for your B2B efforts as well as how to build your audiences, then segment and make use of the right content for mid-funnel remarketing and your overall nurture program.

In the last part of this series, we are going to discuss tying back-end results to front-end metrics so that you can ensure you are reaching qualified audiences with your paid media efforts.

With your paid media efforts, you can track and optimize toward on-site conversions. However, in B2B marketing, those onsite conversions are typically leads and more shallow conversions that do not indicate a sale.

At the end of the day, you want to understand what keywords, audiences, targeting methods, etc., are driving eventual sales – and reallocate focus and budget accordingly.

In order to do this, it is important to pass through parameters within your URLs to track at the most granular level possible; doing this allows your CRM system to identify what drives leads.

You’ll want to pass through campaign-, ad-, and keyword-level parameters in search or campaign-, ad set-, and ad-level parameters in social to identify how those areas are performing.

Back-end CRM data helps you do the following:

  • Campaign – understand what campaigns are performing to sales goals and invest more budget into the right campaigns and pull back on the underperformers.
  • Ad set (social) – understand what audiences are performing well (or not). You can then use this to test other similar audiences and push budgets accordingly.
  • Ad – identify what type of creative or messaging is pushing performance. This will help you in additional creative testing and message development.
  • Keyword – get down to the most granular level in search: understanding what keywords are driving the most qualified users

Now you will want to set up a frequency for matching up the back-end data with your front-end metrics. Think about how often sales volume comes in and the duration it will take to get significant data for optimization efforts.

You may want to set up a reporting cadence to be analyzing data anywhere from weekly, to biweekly, to monthly depending on the amount of sales you get.

As you continue to collect data, remember to take a step back and understand what is truly driving sales at a high level. Look at specific keyword themes, different types of messaging, and the audiences contributing the strongest value.

As you analyze this data, you not only want to optimize bids and budgeting accordingly; you also want to think about next strategic steps.

How can you continue to capitalize on these themes? Are there additional opportunities for keyword expansion? Can you test different variations of your top messaging theme? How can you expand on the audiences you see working – are there different ways to reach similar personas or types of people?

At the end of the day, you want to get out of the weeds when it comes to optimizations based on sales; you need to look at a higher level and refine your strategy to capitalize on what is working best.

This is Part 3 of our three-part series, The 2018 Guide to B2B Sales. If you missed Parts 1 and 2, recap them here:

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The 2018 guide to B2B sales, Part 2: Segmentation, content, and nurtures

In Part 1 of this series, I broke down how to effectively use different channels for B2B efforts –  from demand generation channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest to get in front of highly relevant audiences to paid search to capitalize on audiences with intent.

I also touched on optimizing the landing pages/content you should deliver to these audiences.

In this post, I’ll cover creating smart segmentation, and making use of the right content for mid-funnel remarketing and your overall nurture.

Let’s start by assuming you’ve brought relevant audiences onto your web property, and they haven’t yet converted – but you have cookied them with pixels placed on the site, and you’ve built an audience for remarketing purposes. The first thing you’ll want to do is…

Create smart segmentation

If you’ve followed best practices so far, the users in your remarketing pool have hit different content and landing pages on your site, depending on what you deemed most relevant to them. And their entry points can be very useful in segmenting your remarketing lists.

Rather than just having a catch-all remarketing list for all visitors, create segmented audiences that can accommodate more tailored content. Here are some examples of how you want to think about audience development/segmentation:

  • Industry-specific audiences (if you have landing pages or content relevant to certain industries)
  • Type of content consumed (demo, whitepaper, lead form, etc.) – this allows you to ensure you don’t serve the same content to these audiences as you leverage mid-funnel remarketing to push them down the funnel.
  • Intent level of keywords – are the users in the research phase? Ready to look for purchase options? The B2B purchase process can be a long one, so look for layers and ways to address users at different points of the funnel.

Employ mid-funnel remarketing

I’ll say it again: one of the most unique things about B2B products and services is the fact that the buying process is so long – often because of the high product price point and the level of impact of your service or offering.

B2B decisions aren’t made lightly, which is why I emphasize the educational process, the need to continuously convince the user why you are right for them, and the effectiveness of keeping your product/service top of mind as users move toward a decision.

With the your newly created segmented audiences, you can craft a more precise strategy to serve content and messaging that will push users down the funnel to help them become more qualified leads and, eventually, customers. Think about relevant whitepapers, testimonials, and case studies that show the impact of your offering/service/product to prove your credibility and value.

A final note about remarketing: always take a multichannel approach by leveraging both GDN and paid social so you can meet the audiences where they choose to go.

The 2018 guide to B2B sales, Part 2: Segmentation, content, and nurtures

Always-on nurture

Your users won’t stop browsing the web, so your nurture efforts shouldn’t stop either. Segment your audiences by recency of their last visit to your site, and keep showing them different ads, content, and creative that educates them about your product or service.

Don’t just switch up the messaging; test different ads formats (Facebook video, YouTube, banner ads, text ads, etc.) to keep the creative fresh and engaging. And keep rotating in testimonials that speak to different value propositions that align with your audience’s needs – and lend you credibility at the same time.

 

In our next post, I’ll cover how to ensure you’re driving qualified leads, how to track events that lead most reliably to sales, and how to back into optimized bidding strategies based on your CRM data. Stay tuned!

The 2018 guide to B2B Sales, Part 1: Demand gen and demand capture

If you’ve ever made the switch from B2C or ecommerce to B2B marketing, you know there’s a world of difference.

B2B offerings are generally much more expensive, with a very long lead-to-close time, and marketing needs to be addressed in a different and strategic manner.

In B2B marketing, you must reach users at every point of the funnel – and keep educating them in stages along the way.

Through a series of blogs, I will discuss strategies for how to generate demand, drive qualified leads, master content delivery, and essentially close the sales loop via paid media. In part 1 of this series, we’ll talk about how to generate new demand and capitalize on the intent that already exists.

Let’s jump in.

Use both search and social to get in front of the right audiences

You’ve got more than a few powerful levers to pull to get in front of qualified buyers. I recommend you start with your two biggest: paid social and paid search.

Paid social allows you to get in front of relevant audiences and let them know you and your product/service exist. This is a demand generation play – reach highly targeted audiences who would likely purchase your product/service, educate them on your brand/product/service, and ideally drive them to your site to push them into the funnel.

Paid search capitalizes on the intent that already exists. People are searching for what you have to offer, so leverage paid search to ensure you are capturing that interest.

Paid social strategy

For paid social, I would recommend the following channels and strategies:

Facebook

  • Make use of lookalike targeting! Take your customer list and, rather than uploading the entire list, segment your top (highest-LTV) customers and create lookalikes based on that group.
  • Use Facebook’s native targeting capabilities to segment and address audiences based on different titles, companies they are employed with, etc.
  • Use 3rd-party data companies (e.g. Axciom and Datalogix), which allow you to target businesses of different sizes, specific roles, decision makers, etc.

LinkedIn

With LinkedIn, you are able to truly hone in on your target audience by leveraging a mix of the right industries, functions within those industries, seniority type, and company size. LinkedIn’s CPCs are considerably higher than those of other channels, so you must be willing to pay a premium price for the first click to bring the user onto your site – this way you can introduce them to your brand and educate them on your offerings.

After the leads are in your funnel, you can market to them through other channels, significantly cheaper channels to push them through the funnel (which we’ll address in another post).

Twitter

Twitter is another great social platform to find relevant audiences. Although volume is not as large as that of the other platforms, you can still leverage some of their targeting capabilities to get in front of the right eyes.

  • Lookalikes: very similar to the strategy used on Facebook
  • Targeting by followers:
    • Build out conquesting campaigns to target users following your competitors
    • Target followers of industry thought leaders and publications

Paid search strategy

Paid search is expensive – but extremely effective. Users looking for your brand, product, or service are already exhibiting intent that positions them closer to sale, so these are users you must target.

Our paid search strategy at 3Q has two main components. The first is to implement the Alpha Beta campaign structure, based on single-keyword ad groups and a mixture of negative, exact, and broad match that allows you to capture and control your top keywords while testing new keywords. If you need a refresher on how the Alpha Beta campaign structure works, a quick Google search should help fill you in.

The second is to develop competitor conquesting campaigns that capitalize on the intent that our competitors have built. Note: if your competitors are bidding effectively on their own brand terms, you’ll likely pay a pretty penny to compete, but it can be a very effective shortcut.

Use landing pages strategically

For both paid search and paid social, it is crucial to segment the audiences and keywords appropriately to be able to send these different audiences and appropriate keywords to the most relevant landing page/piece of content.

For prospecting campaigns, you need to get a sense of what each audience is looking for and serve them content that not only gives them an overview of what your business is at a high level, but also offers them value and true insight into your business – this may be a whitepaper, a demo, etc.

Think about the keyword or the type of audience you are targeting. For example, if you’re targeting audiences from specific industries (e.g. finance, retail, food and restaurant, etc.), send them to landing pages specific to that industry if available.

If you’re targeting more senior-level executives, think about the right content to deliver to them, something more high-level discussing key impacts to the business, value props, etc., that your service or offering would bring. If you’re targeting those whose job this would directly impact, highlight the more technical specifics.

The goal is to truly cater content towards the individuals you are targeting; this will make the clicks you’re driving much more effective.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this series, in which I’ll discuss building audiences, smart segmentation, and leveraging the right content for mid-funnel remarketing and your overall nurture.