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  • Alan Thorpe

Effective B2B marketing in 2024. We reveal how to stay sane and generate the demand you need.

Updated: Jan 26

You’ve read all the books/blogs and…hell this B2B thing seems complex!

Just a few years back B2B marketing was simple. It went something like this:

· Advertise in trade press and at events

· Send standard emails + cold calling

· Find & qualify leads

· Sales team sell, sell, sell.

· Close deals.

But, in 2022, the old model isn’t working so well. We’ve got:

· Lead generation

· Account based marketing

· Demand generation

· Content Marketing

· Performance Marketing

· Etc, etc, etc

It feels over complicated. Yet, cut through the jargon and this isn’t the case. Buyers certainly don’t welcome complexity in their working lives and nor should you!

Here are our steps to clarity and effective B2B marketing in 2024.

1. Acknowledge the old model isn’t right for now. Writing in Harvard Business Review, Gartner’s Brent Adamson found that salespeople have influence upon buyers for only 5-6% of their buying cycle. Ouch! So traditional Sales Development Representatives (SDRs) will likely deliver poor returns.

The shift? Most B2B buyers now prefer to find things out for themselves. So, our job as marketers is to understand buyers and help them with their research plus decision taking.

2. Understand how lead generation has given way to demand generation

In 'Demand Generation – 5 Core Reasons Why It Is The Most Crucial Marketing Discipline For Early Stage Startups' Jenna Walter says ‘the major difference between the two approaches is that demand generation takes more time, requires more research, and really focus on the customer want and need, compared to the traditional lead gen approach which is more focused on paid advertising, instant results, and pipeline velocity’

In simple terms, understand who your customers are. Not just ‘x company’ but ‘what do the key buying job roles need know about our solutions to buy from us? What does the FD need to know? What outcomes do you give your prospects? Hard numbers. Can they sell more or save more? Describe these role holders in human terms. What channels do they use?

Then, for each stage of the buying cycle, ensure support for questions that buyers will research / want answered. Make this information easily accessible, ideally on your website and LinkedIn.

Success? Put yourself in the buyer’s position and adopt a mindset of know-how generosity.

3. Remember that buyers still prefer the familiar.

We’ve long banged on about +80% of B2B sales starting with a recommendation or referral. The psychology is that you and I prefer low risk decisions. Of course we do!

Our job as marketers is to a. make sure we’re maximising our recommendation and referral opportunities b. also support new, colder, prospects. A recommendations and referrals strategy is focus A for any marketing team.

So, in practical terms, what works best?

Our experience is that to scale B2B marketing works efficiently when:

· Buyer persona matched content (that’s not boring) is consistently produced. This is where most businesses fail. They don’t have the skills and/or time to make this happen. Or they produce dirge that’s ignored. Be brave.

· Brand building is key to achieving scale. Brand recognition delivers the mental shortcut that persuades buyers that you’re lower risk. So, invest in brand. We can explain how to do this.

· If you’ve got SDRs then focus their time upon crafting hyper personalised emails vs. ‘carpet bombing.’ Our experience is that taking the time to craft highly personalised messages is worth the effort. It’s hard graft and slow. But it works. What the FD needs to buy is different to what the Commercial Director wants. And it’s particularly worthwhile where you’ve an identified a set of higher value prospects.

If you've too many SDRs then shift investment to content driven marketing.

Would you like simplified, yet deliverable and effective, B2B marketing? Please do get in touch!

Here’s a terrific piece from Forbes that sums up things up nicely.


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