3 Steps to Rebound from a Failing 2018 B2B Marketing Plan

“Disappointed with 2018 sales results so far? I guarantee you’re not alone.

Missing the sales mark is a growing issue for B2B companies. In fact, 90% of today’s businesses don’t accomplish their business objectives (Source).

Disheartening first-half results is a challenge all marketers are likely to face at some point in our careers. But don’t worry. Over the years, AMG has helped plenty of clients rebound in the second-half.

Fair warning: there isn’t a single silver-bullet marketing tactic or technology. You need a personalized B2B marketing plan to generate quality leads and quickly convert them to sales for fast end-of-the-year results.

Here, I’ll provide 3 steps we recommend to quickly convert prospects into customers. Don’t be afraid to tweak them to fit your unique situation as you drive fourth-quarter sales for your business.

1. Prioritize Leads by Striking Distance

B2B marketing strategies often focus on building a robust list with a large quantity of sales leads. This top-of-funnel approach focuses on lead quantity versus quality. As a result, it takes the sales team significant time and energy to qualify those leads and convert them into customers.

If you’re looking for quick conversions in Q4, focus on lead quality.

Your B2B lead generation program should concentrate on capturing leads with the highest opportunity for sales. Use tactics such as advanced targeting and target audience validation to quickly generate those high-value leads that are more likely to convert.

Also, take a look at your existing leads. Identify bottom-of-the-funnel opportunities. Then, immediately begin taking steps to convert those prospects into customers.

This approach was very successful for our client, Bill Dominick, Regional Sales Manager at The Lubrizol Corporation. He says, “Understanding where prospects are in the sales funnel and shifting our innovation focus to target prospects at the bottom of the funnel made a major impact for us.”

Switching your lead conversion strategy from quantity to quality will make it easier to close sales faster in the back half of the year.

2. Overcome Detrimental Conversion Barriers

74% of marketers say converting leads is their top priority (Source). However, the B2B sales process is complex, and converting leads is something that we as marketers often struggle with the most.

So what’s the secret?

Identify what problem you can solve for prospects along with what it will take for prospects to say “yes.” Then guide your target prospects through every step of the customer journey.

70% of purchasing decisions are made to solve a specific problem (Source). Activities like stakeholder interviews, customer surveys, competitor overviews and your own analytics will help you understand the unmet needs of prospects. These activities will also help you determine which products or services you offer can fill that gap.

Your prospects are also looking for direction. In fact, 95% of buyers choose a vendor that provides content to navigate each stage of the buying process (Source).

There are numerous tools, such as AnyRoad and UserVoice, that use data to help you understand how to connect better with the prospects who are most likely to purchase those products or services.

So after you determine what problem your product will solve and what information prospects need to make decisions, you can guide the buyer to the final purchase.

One of our clients, Barry Campbell the Vice President of North American Marketing at Aquatherm, says, “We have successfully shifted our product messaging and altered our marketing approach to rapidly increase and convert the qualified leads coming in.”

Using content strategy, sales enablement and other tactics, you can deliver messaging that answers questions, demonstrates a competitive advantage and removes conversion barriers. By demonstrating the value of doing business with your company, you can accelerate longer B2B sales cycles.

3. Grab Ahold of Easy, Untapped Opportunities

Don’t discount opportunities sitting right in front of you. The average mid-sized B2B company receives 30% of its revenue from existing customers (Source). Evaluate advocacy opportunities you may already have sitting in your customer list.

Successful marketers incorporate cross-selling and up-selling into everything they do. Actually, the likelihood of selling to an existing customer is 60% to 70%, compared to 5% to 20% for a new one (Source).

Marketers often make the mistake of trying to cross-sell just about any product or service that’s offered. If you really want to drive results, it’s important to understand what the customer would benefit from most. And that’s where data comes in.

As marketers, we need to collect data to track customer behavior online and off. Data shows us patterns that enable us to make correlations between customers and products.

Client, Martin Lines, the Vice President of Beverages Category Marketing at Nestlé Professional North America says, “We’ve invested heavily in people and technology to help track and retarget to our customers. It allows us to increase average customer value without significantly increasing our investment and has helped lead to some great initial results.”

Retargeting is just one example of the importance of data. There are many effective tactics that enable you to effectively reach, engage and grow customers for quick sales results when you have the data to power them.

Measure, Measure, Measure

Here’s one last piece of advice to wrap this all up: Make sure you measure your marketing.

High-performing companies are more than twice as effective as all others at measuring the impact of sales and marketing efforts on revenue (Source). So, as you put this plan into action, be sure to measure everything you do. Because if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. And if you can’t manage it, you won’t improve and hit those end-of-year sales numbers.

As a pipeline marketing agency, AMG helps B2B companies quickly convert high-value leads into customers. We leverage our client’s brand, audience and industry expertise to develop a personalized plan. We then rapidly drive prospects through the sales pipeline to final purchase by demonstrating the value of doing business with your company. For help getting started, check out our 90-Day Conversion Program.

Kip Botirius, President

Guides B2B and B2C clients, big and small, to improve marketing results. Kip also cultivates meaningful relationships and a positive agency culture with his pleasant personality.

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