Tips for Planning Your B2B Digital Marketing Strategy

25 Nov

Tips for Planning Your B2B Digital Marketing Strategy

By b2b blogging, b2b business objectives, online marketing, proactive marketing, b2b tactics, content marketing, Social Media Strategy

67% of B2B purchases are influenced by digital channels (Google, 2019).  In 2020 the percent is even bigger, due to the accelerated digitization of the B2B sales - around 80%.

A real case scenario of digital marketing planning for a scaling up B2B software outsourcing company

In this context, you are probably scaling or growing up your company, planning your marketing and sales activities at least 6 to 12 months ahead. Although not many startups and scale-ups really need to plan their activities, having a plan will keep you among the winning businesses in 2021.

If you are continually planning but never benchmark your results against your plan, your initial plan was not good, or it was not used as a tool to help you scale your business, one of the things you can do to successful planning is keeping up with implementation steps you decide. One of these recurring steps can be agile reviews of your plans and adjustments as you progress with the implementation.

B2B digital marketing plan

 

Deciding on good marketing and sales goals that can support your business goals 

Are you planning for a moderate or for an accelerated marketing strategy?

If you are planning for moderate business growth, how are you going to ensure that? Some questions to consider may be:

  • Who within your organization is responsible for this goal?
  • Does your current business model accommodate growth?
  • Do your previous years confirm some of this projected growth?
  • Does your market in general (industry trends, moderate leaders growth, etc.) allow for such growth that you predicted?
  • Is this a comfortable goal for your business, or is it a stretch?
  • Should you consider ABM (account-based marketing) methodologies?

Accelerated growth needs a different approach. For it, you have to consider those questions:

  • How do companies scale up within a similar business environment or market as you do?
  • Where do such companies see accelerated growth?  
  • What are some main sources of awareness and leads? Digital events? Inbound communications? Virtual or digital sales via social networks like LinkedIn and Xing? 

 

Share the goals with the implementation team, understand who is responsible for what in terms of goals for marketing and sales. Are those people committed to meeting the goals in the timeframe you planned? But most importantly, they think the goals you set are achievable?

Sharing your customers' goals, prospects, and professional network also makes you committed and gives you many opportunities and support by achieving the plans if you are clear with what you are trying to achieve.

There are many ways to define the right goals. Most relate to the SMART methodology of setting up goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound is still core to most ways goals are setup. You should set up one main marketing goal in terms of revenue or no customers or new business to acquire, and then you can have in total 3 to 5 supporting goals that ensure you meet your main marketing goal. Each objective needs to have a specific role or person responsible for achieving it, is clear, and committed to achieving it.

Example of a B2B marketing goal

Here is. an example of a  B2B marketing goal : double your business next year, with $300000 new business with an average deal size of $50000, which translates into 6 new clients for your outsourcing business.

Activity Example supporting this B2B marketing goal:

  • Build awareness with your audience – 1 out of 3 prospects reached out via LinkedIn should know you; 
  • Gain an award;
  • A certain net promoter score;
  • Customer retention and attrition goal;
  • No. of referrals (getting 3 referrals from each customer).

Who is your customer? Not knowing what your marketing persona is?

A few steps to take in clarifying your target segment or buyer persona:

  1. Start from general and narrow down to specifics;
  2. Test your customer persona through meaningful conversation;
  3. Trial and error approach to all lead nurturing steps;
  4. Qualify with clear Q&A;
  5. Understand your actual persona once you narrowed down.

For example, if you are targeting startups, test your persona, start talking to them. If you find that they're already using some other outsourcing service provider or using internal teams or none of the above.

If they have an in-house team, which they have hired, they're answer will be something similar with: "Hi, thanks for connecting, we are not looking for this right now, but if we needed a future Let's stay in touch." That should tell you that maybe this is not your target persona. 

 

Engage at the right moment

Ask yourself when is the moment that this specific profile starts to outsource, to fine tune the right moment that you get in contact with them. You may be either too late or too early into the process. A startup goes through different financing rounds, and their long term product roadmap is usually something that they put together before a financing round. Have you tried to connect somehow their need for your services with their financing rounds? Have you noticed what it's different?

It may be that the reply rate from startups that just got the funding round is a lot lower than from those who haven't received any financing, and it's not like they are not trying to grow because you can see that they are looking for people. The challenge is when they actually received the funding. They are not really looking to outsource development since it is a condition that the investors (these are influencing the buying decision in your case) ask the financed startups to keep the development in-house as this is a core process company. You may notice that the startups that hadn't received the external funding are more likely to engage with your conversations rather than those who received the funding rounds. 

 

Test alternative prospect profiles

How about more mature startups? For example, in around, D, E, F, financing. A question for you or criteria to qualify is to understand what round of funding they are. So maybe one opening question for you is, which round of financing are you at? Based on A, B, or C, first or second or some more advanced round, you should understand when is the moment your buyer is ready to purchase.

If your best prospects are pre-seed or self-funded, you could try to figure out which startups are pre-funding, and maybe you can do a value proposition around "Let us help you craft your product roadmap for the next 12 to 24 months" as your prospects need this product roadmap in order to get funding. Also, you can offer only to review the technical aspects of the product roadmap, technology, etc. 

 

What are the right questions?

Your new criteria to qualify prospects is to ask:

You: Are you pre-funding? 

Prospect: Yes 

You: Do you need help with crafting your product roadmap or MVP?

Prospect: Yes. 

You can now start engaging with these prospects as you already know they are a good fit customer. 

If you believe this profile challenging to identify because you have to find them at that moment when they are looking to start their business, ask yourself, where does a person like this go to get information to set up their business? 

When and where do they go on the lookout for information? Think of your customers right now. How did they start their business with you? Can you identify business partners involved in opening their business with you (e.g. VCs, investors, consultants) or sources of information that your prospects may look into?

 

How to simply add value to the B2B buyer in the lead nurturing process

Your prospects may look for relevant information for this phase of their development, so the content on your website may be critical to attracting them at the right time. Content like advice on product development, around developing MVPs, and other types of relevant content may be good to include in your website. Providing value during the lead nurturing phases is very important. You can consider a free workshop or free brainstorming sessions you could provide regarding MVP, or on topics like what technology is a good fit, how to plan for product design, how they do product development, how to launch an MVP once it's up and running, etc. In order to be relevant, stick to your area of expertise and value you can add to your prospects.

 

Here is a quick ramp-up plan for a B2B digital sales funnel or campaign

  1. Build a landing page – your main location for gathering and capturing contact details:
    -Make sure you have a form to capture leads
    -Offer something of value like exemplified before so that you can give them a reason to provide contact details
    -Think of an entry point offering (e.g. a simple package to build an MVP);
  2.  Write a couple of relevant blog posts that lead to your new landing page
  3. Setup a really well targeted Google Ads campaign for your new landing page targeting searches for MVP development services;
  4. Make some buzz through LinkedIn and Twitter by promoting your new landing page and blogpost;
  5. Think about getting together a one hour webinar on a relevant topic like how to develop an MVP and invite your contacts to attend;
  6. Use the webinar video content to break it down to 30-60 short movies 30 sec to 1 min each and post it via YouTube. Promote these videos via social networks;
  7. Answer to relevant posts on Quora;
  8. See what people are asking, what they are engaging in, and revisit and update constantly steps 1 to 7;
  9. Run your campaign for at least 60 to 90 days.

What to do with Personas that are not well-targeted?

  1. If they allow you to continue the conversation, provide some newsletter, piece of content, or advice every month;
  2. Every quarter you can send an automated greeting like "Hi How are you, any news on your development?" or "We were in touch a while ago, and you mentioned "I should revisit this conversation". This is something you can set up automatically and a good campaign will keep you top of mind for prospects that may mature over time;
  3. Invite these contacts to your free events like workshops and webinars. 

 

Agile planning you B2B scaleup marketing and sales for 2021?

There is no perfect way of planning. Some marketing tactics work for some companies, and some don't. Most companies early stages don't even have a plan. A small portion of companies manages to put together a plan and manage to implement and follow it. No matter how you plan, having a plan is better than not having one. If you are a young software company and you are at an agile phase, you have to be flexible and accommodate different opportunities and time pressures. 

Having a plan will give you that general backbone, a framework to revisit once you are lost and can't seem to get more opportunities or growth. Monthly or quarterly, you would go back to the plan to see what's done and hasn't been done. 

There are different ways of planning. Starting form goals and dripping down to strategies, tactics, and activities, adjusting periodically, and reviewing based on results.

In our example, a goal of "five new customers that request an MVP development for $50,000 in a year and a bigger customer that requests a $20,000 development team per month". Share this goal in your network of contacts, for example, or telling people around from your professional network if they know someone that needs an MVP or if they know a bigger customer that needs a team of four people. This strategy it brings clarity to your intent, and it's getting you there much faster. 

 

Break the goals into simple, actionable steps

Braking this goal down to how many meetings and RFPs you need before closing a deal, doing a reverse funnel analysis on how many fit prospects you need to get a meeting and how many contacts lead you to a good fit prospect will provide you with the raw numbers of your primary lead generation funnel KPIs. Let's say you need 100 contacts with the right profile, a specific role, a particular type of company, etc.

Once you have this number, understand what the channels that can help you get 100 contacts are. Example:

  • 10 referrals;
  • 20 LinkedIn;
  • 30 website inbound contacts;
  • 40 webinar attendees.

Once you've nailed down the tentative split, these become your main KPIs to benchmark to achieve your results. Expand into an action pans that ensure you get the number of referrals, inbound contacts, and so on. 

Here is a sample of such a marketing plan. The plan's components can be documented on a single page, making it easy to communicate and share.

Step by Step Marketing Plan Template

 

Identify a shortlist of metrics to describe your marketing and sales success

If you have one main goal, you only need one good KPI that measures the goal achievements and benchmarks against it. Ensuring you are on the right track to achieving this goal may imply you are developing a series of metrics that show you that the activities you perform are optimum. Download the Step by Step Marketing Action Plan for Your Business Launch and check out a series of sample B2B marketing KPIs you can track through the year. Each activity should have a responsible, and that responsible owns the activity's KPI.

 

What's next for your marketing planning?

If you need help with your planning, want a second opinion or some specialized advice, schedule a free consulting session with one of our senior strategy consultants to successfully grow your business with advanced marketing planning. 

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