As we are nearing the end of this decade and most likely working on plans for 2020, let’s take a look at the top 3 B2B marketing trends. Some are similar to what have been happening over these past few years and some are gaining in intensity.
1 - Creativity is one of the critical skills companies want to build in their organization today.
There are many skills that successful B2B marketers need, whether the role is within a small organization or a company that has multiple customer segments, thousands of products and a high level of complexity.
The risk of having this key position become a “cleanup on aisle 9” role, where you are fighting fires on a daily basis and have no time for strategic thinking, is high. That risk is even greater for smaller organizations. Sometimes, just responding to pricing requests from the sales organization (if that is indeed part of the role) can take up 80% of the week.
In that context, having different skills and balancing some of the “hard” skills of marketing such as critical thinking and business acumen with some softer or people skills of leadership, such as coaching, mentoring a team or interpersonal effectiveness is very important.
Creativity becomes even more critical as time pressures mount on this key role. Being creative on how you look at the market, how you communicate internally and externally as well as how you create your value proposition is urgently important. And that can be a very difficult skill to build. As always, practice will help make it perfect.
2 - Different channels will produce different results (including digital). Knowing what works and what doesn't for a specific client segment is key.
There are many different channels that B2B marketers can use to create and nurture leads: search, live events, social, email, content marketing, print, etc. It would be great if there was a guide that could tell you to spend X% of your budget on this specific channel and that you could get a guaranteed ROI.
But unfortunately, that is not the case.
The key is identifying and measuring what works. Looking at a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) that will help you identify what works and what doesn’t should be your strategy.
3 - Finding the true balance between sales and marketing accelerates growth.
There is still usually tension between sales and marketing. The marketing team thinks that sales people are only out there for the commission and the sales group thinks that marketers are the “creative types” that focus on wordsmithing and pretty colors and have no idea what customers really want.
Of course, neither is true. Finding a way to have each side understand and walk in the shoes of the other side is critical for success.
A risk-free exercise where one takes on the role of the other to understand what the real issues are, what the purpose of the role is and how both sides can work better together does not necessarily take a lot of time but can make a huge difference in the success of the organization.
Need some advice?
If you would like to learn more on how we can help your teams acquire the necessary skills to face today's challenges in the B2B world, reach out to StratX ExL today for a free consultation with one of our expert consultants.