Some B2B sales teams doubt the ability of marketing to help with their “spear fishing approach” to new business sales. Instead, they see marketing as the operator of a wide net that catches lots of sprats, albeit hopefully, alongside the prize fish they are actually looking for.
That said, let's also consider the flip side to the argument: even the best sales people in the world will struggle if a contact likes what they have to say, but can find no real EVIDENCE that your company really is the best for the job.
This is backed by several surveys.* (Links to surveys at the bottom of this blog)
Did you know, for example, that a whopping 70% of the buying process is conducted before buyers want to speak to a sales person - and most of that research is done online?
Taking that a step further, Gartner predicts that by 2025, "80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will occur in digital channels".
(However, with the current COVID pandemic, I expect we could be seeing that already.)
Despite this evidence, those companies that offer a very specialised product / service still question the role of digital marketing in their business. They tell me:
- MY buyers don't do research
- They don't look for MY solution on the internet
- They're an older demographic and wouldn't use website chat tools or social media reviews
They DO research before they buy.
"They" are no different to you in this respect, and when did you last make a major purchase without checking the facts?
Don't you research, or ask someone else to do that research on your behalf before you buy?
Don't you go through a process of gathering requirements, doing desk-based research to draw up a long list, then more research prior to your final decision?
So, whilst the person who signs your contract may have left no digital footprint on your marketing efforts, someone in their organisation or within their sphere of influence almost certainly will have checked you out.
As for thoughts that the researcher would not using digital channels like social media and chat...consider this: millennials are quickly replacing baby boomers in seats of power and, for most, digital is the channel of choice.
So that's why B2B companies NEED digital marketing, and why B2B marketers need a robust platform like HubSpot to provide them with the tools, insight and analytics to catch more fish than sprats.
How does digital marketing support B2B sales?
When sales and marketing are truly aligned in this B2B world, marketing addresses the buyers need for consistent information, provides evidence of trust in the brand and supports over 70% of the buying process:
1. Creating awareness
Just imagine a situation where information about your business appears on your target buyer's desktop (or mobile) via Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, adverts, online news and more. Aren't they are more likely to take that call from the sales person in the first place?2. Influencing thoughts and ideas
And what happens if you offer information that they find valuable in the format they enjoy – words, video, animation? They may keep it or share it. They will remember you.
Then, if they then receive a direct email from you, they may read it.
3. Making the long list
And finally, when the time is right for them to look for a solution that you could fulfil, your company's name should be in the frame - on the long list.
Or perhaps you will appear on their short list - after all, 70% of the buying process is conducted before buyers want to speak to a sales person - and most of that research is done online.
4. Supporting the sales process
The content created by marketing can and should be used by sales to support their work - case studies, product comparisons and more can and should be used by the entire team - at the right point in the sales cycle.
In Gartner's report "What sales should know about B2B buyers in 2019", they talked at length about the need for consistency in the information that buyers receive about a company. Aligning sales and marketing is critical to maintaining consistency.
So the question is not “does HubSpot work for B2B marketing?”, but
“HOW should I be using HubSpot to fulfil MY B2B marketing strategy?”
What functionality does HubSpot provide for B2B marketing?
There are several elements of HubSpot that support B2B marketing. Here are just a few examples:
- ABM functionality which helps both sales and marketing identify gaps in their approach to each target account
- Content marketing to improve SEO and get found online
- The Prospects report that shows which companies have visited your site
- Landing pages, forms and CTA to drive conversions from visitors to contacts
- Automated lead nurturing that drives conversions from contacts to marketing qualified leads
- The contact timeline that details every interaction with your company - digital and in person.
- Chat bots and live chat to help potential buyers get answers without picking up the phone
- Email marketing and segmentation to create a targeted approach to your outreach
- Integrated analytics to measure the ROI of every campaign action
- A single repository for graphics, marketing templates, standard phrases to be used in personalised emails, blogs, PDFs, slide decks and more that are used by both sales and marketing to provide a consistent message and approach.
Together these functions form the foundations for creating a highly successful, integrated, focused sales and marketing team.
Want to explore whether a different approach to your B2B sales and marketing is right for you now? Click the button to request a free consultation.
* Here's the evidence I used to create this blog (thanks to those mentioned!)
87 percent of B2B buyers say that online content has a major or moderate impact on their purchasing decisions CMO Council
70% of B2B buyers fully define their needs on their own before engaging with a sales representative, and 44% identify specific solutions before reaching out to a seller. Miller Heiman Group
"75% of customers agree or strongly agree that their purchase involved people from a wide variety of roles, teams and locations" Gartner Each of them has different perspective - functionality, ROI, security, brand reputation and other factors need to be addressed with the right buyer.
"53% of buyers said trust is second most important factor. 60% said price was the most important" Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report 2020
84% of CEOs and VPs use social media to make purchasing decisions. IDC report (2014!)
Complex purchases typically involve 6 to 10 people, each using 4 or 5 pieces of information. Gartner