Many manufacturers have capital goods that have long selling cycles. Most I think would welcome ways to pull buyers forward in the sales process via lead nurturing.
I recently finished eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale by Ardath Albee that I would recommend you read. Her insights and strategies have been used by many major companies.
It’s an easy read and what I liked about it was it not only showed you what/how you need to do to engage the potential customer, but it also shows you a different way of looking at your company from the inside.
Even though prospects are more informed now than ever, so are their problems. They are looking for solutions not sales pitches. She shows you how to attract more prospects into your pipeline and then nurture them through the sales process (once you’ve figured it out). Instead of pushing what you have to sell, you need to be pushing the value you bring to the table. What you bring to the party must be relevant.
My blog is an integral part of our total overall marketing program. We use it as the hub of our lead activity and think most B-to-B companies should be blogging as part of their overall marketing efforts. To that point, there’s a new white paper out authored by Tony Karrer and Tom Pick that asks industry leaders (and mine) their thoughts.
Blogging is often viewed as the core component of a B2B social media marketing strategy, and other than discussion forums, it’s the most mature component of social media. Facebook, Twitter and even newer tools like Quora may be sexier and get more attention, but blogs are the workhorses essential to making social media marketing work. Research from HubSpot shows that small businesses with blogs have twice as many Twitter followers as those who don’t. Increased search engine visibility, targeted traffic and enhanced brand image are just a few of the benefits of business blogging.
So what’s next for B2B blogging? What trends are likely to emerge in the coming year? To answer those questions, the founders of the B2B Marketing Zone asked 22 of the most influential b2b marketing and PR bloggers—including Roxanne Darling, Jay Baer, Ardath Albee, Erik Qualman and Chris Abraham—for their prognostications. You can get the whole story in B2B Blogging Trends in 2011, a free (and no registration required) white paper from Aggregage (the software that powers the BMZ site). Among the findings:
- If you don’t have a blog yet, 2011 is the year to start one. As less than half of all B2B companies currently have blogs, there’s still an opportunity to stand out and establish thought leadership in your niche. If your company doesn’t have a blog, you’re not a laggard…quite yet. But time is running out to grab the best intellectual spots of turf on the B2B blogging landscape.
- Blogging helps a company demonstrate expertise, it’s ideal for search, and as Blake Landau points out, “As push marketing becomes less effective, blogs become more important.”
- Blogs are not islands; as pointed out above, they are the central point to social marketing efforts. Blogging is most effective when integrated with other communications efforts including PR and email marketing.
- Although there is still opportunity to get started with a business blog, it’s crucial to do it right. Jay Baer predicts an “explosion of bad B2B blogs” in the coming year as companies scramble to embrace the medium, but many fail to do it well. To stand out and achieve business success with a blog, it’s critical to focus narrowly on the information needs of your customers and prospects, as Kristin Zhivago and Harry Hoover both note.
There’s much more. Again, you can download the complete Aggregage white paper on B2B Blogging Trends in 2011 here.