For many B2B marketers, plans for 2020 were anchored around in-person events—the problem with this is that it misses out on the changes that have taken place in society and business on how to reach crucial business decision-makers.
I've already received questions about how events should look in 2021, putting Covid19 to one side (as if we could), again events miss understand that the buying process has changed.
As Gartner said on this webinar last week
"the world is not going back to the way it was before, we are going to be selling virtually for a long time”
To learn more about how the business decision-making process has changed, Twitter partnered with Bain on a new research study.
What they found didn't surprise us: There’s quite a disconnect between how marketers think they influence the buying process and what they actually do.
B2B buyers don't want "brands" they want human contact. After all, people don't make connections with other companies, but they make connections with other people.
How can you make the necessary changes in your organisation so you can level up your marketing and sales so it meets the requirements of the new buyer?
Here’s how to do it in three easy steps:
Step 1: Create opportunities that foster connection
We talk to a lot of people who say "we are all over social" when you ask them what this means, they are actually still treating social as a tactic. Somebody in marketing might post something from time to time, a VP might post something and an email is sent around for everybody to "like" it. All tactical.
I always ask people "so how much business, did you get out of your last post?"
I usually get blank looks. I clarify my question "so how many leads or meetings do you get from your posts on social?" Again blank looks.
If you are not driving leads and meetings from your social, then it is a cost to the business and certainly not a profit.
If you want to see how companies are accelerating by using social as a strategy, read on.
Case Study 1.
People post on social because you think you have to, or somebody tells you to. Once you have posted you walk away. Let's talk about this post.
Eric's post of his 16 year old son, Austin, on his Birthday got 18,000 views and 165 likes, which is great.
But better still, he got 6 - C-Level meetings from this post? How?
Let's stop and think about this for a second.
This post took 10 minutes to create and it got 6 C-Level meetings, how come?
Because, all of Eric's post are strategic. He knows exactly why he is posting it and knows how to monetise it.
He doesn't always post "humanised" content, I'm using this as an example of you your team(s) of people could be doing. Just think of the $ impact to your business, especially if you scaled this across your business.
How does Eric do this? He builds relationships with prospects and customers and because they have a relationship with a human, not a brand, people are happy to engage. Eric is also able to cut through the myrmid of noise that brands keep putting out. If you are a buyer, where will you spend your time? Reading an advert that says "buy my product because it's great" or look for the insight and educational content that people like Eric is putting out?
Case Study 2
In this case study, Danielle Guzman, talks about how Mercer, empower their employees to talk on social. The ROI (return on investment)? Danielle explains how Mercer as a brand will develop the business a certain amount of business, because they are well known in certain markets. She also confirms in this video how empowering people on social and giving them personal brands gives Mercer 4 times more revenue than the brand.
Step 2: Connect with the C-suite’s secret weapon
"According to our study with Bain, nearly 90% of business decision-makers say that middle management provides key inputs into the decision-making process—from providing recommendations on vendors to testing demo products—but only 33% of B2B marketers in our study assumed this was the case.
Middle managers also happen to be the audience you are most capable of reaching on social media. They trust social media to discover new products, and they spend more time on these platforms than senior members during the workday"
The team at Microsoft Azure, for example, look for "change makers" in their accounts and they know that these people will take the content that is given to them and then distribute it, within the companies they work in. One slight qualifier on that, they don't take crap content or branded content and distribute it. That has no intrinsic value. Buyers are looking for insight, they are looking for people that are authentic. Something that people are and brands are not. Which brings us onto H2H.
Step 3: Flip B2B to B2H
Remember: You’re not communicating with a business, you’re communicating with humans about business products and services.
That’s why during this time, we have seen brands shift their focus to their relationships with their customers. Brand leadership has taken advantage of social media to connect with consumers on a human-to-human level, providing recognizable voices for their brands.
In fact winning marketers have diverted all their marketing spend to lead generation, focusing energy on using their employees to grow their networks, to build relationships and have conversations on social.
Time to step it up
It’s not enough just to get your brand’s message out there. By following these three steps, you can influence the conversation and convince people within the buying community that you’re worth the spend. And if you’re lucky, those buyers may even spread the word about you, acting as your own spokespeople.
And finally ...
Late last year McKinsey and Co reported that its corporate clients experienced on average 7 years of digital transformation in the first six months of 2020 as they hustled to adjust to the global economic COVID disruption.
Another way to think of that statistic is that if you didn't start transforming your business in those months you are now 7 years behind your competitors!
Where Do We Go From Here?
Just give me, or one of the DLA Ignite team and hour of your time and we can walk you through what we are doing in the form of case studies, what we are doing for other businesses to transform them to digital. No hard sell, just practical examples.
DLA Ignite is a global business and we understand that a "cookie cutter" approach to digital does not work, we have to take into account local language and cultural sensitivities. Which is why we have built teams across the globe, that can support you by country and industry sector.
2020 was full of disruption and fast pivoting across the marketing spectrum. But for B2B marketers—whose plans are often anchored around in-person events—this period changed the playbook on how to reach crucial business decision-makers. To learn more about how the business decision-making process has changed—and how marketers are adapting accordingly—Twitter partnered with Bain on a new research study.