If you operate a B2B company, chances are you’re constantly looking for sure-fire strategies to rapidly grow. Once you understand how to accelerate your growth, you’ll have a competitive advantage in the market. Although all departments contribute to the growth of your B2B company, sales and marketing lead the charge.
In this article, you’ll learn about:
- How sales and marketing lead revenue growth
- The primary challenges limiting sales and marketing
- 6 growth hacks for B2B companies
Sales and marketing are the pillars of any B2B company. These teams work together to drive growth by building your pipeline and closing deals. Ensuring proper sales and marketing alignment is one of the best moves a B2B company can make to cement its growth. Approximately 87% of sales and marketing leaders think critical business growth is enabled by the collaboration between sales and marketing.
Now, let’s briefly look at how sales and marketing departments work individually toward achieving growth.
The sales team is typically broken into specialized roles such as Sales Development Reps (SDRs) and Account Executives (AEs), inbound vs outbound, territories, and so on. For instance, the biggest difference between inbound and outbound sales is indicated by the source that initiates the sales process. In inbound sales, the sales process is initiated by a prospect. In outbound sales, a sales rep first contacts a prospect to initiate the sales process.
The job of an inbound sales rep is responding to leads generated by the marketing department. This lead generation is a result of the intended audience’s response to marketing activities. Such responses could include inbound calls or emails, interacting with a chatbot, submitting a survey or contact form, sharing the company’s content on social media, downloading an ebook or a whitepaper, or registering for a webinar.
Outbound sales involve the task of proactively reaching out to prospects through outbound calls, emails, SMS, professional platforms, or social media messaging to convert them into buyers. Outbound sales reps are generally equipped with a tech stack to enable their outreach like sequencing tools, dialing platforms, prospecting platforms, gifting/rewards tools, etc.
Outbound sales cycles tend to be longer since by necessity there is more warming and education involved compared to inbound leads. Follow-up and post-sales tasks are essential for managing multichannel outreach campaigns with numerous touches.
Marketing teams chiefly work around product promotion, brand awareness, advertising, and similar activities to build brand awareness, educate the marketplace, and ultimately generate leads to pass to sales. Marketing requires a clear understanding of target audiences and their interests, in-depth research of the market, and the use of multichannel marketing campaigns.
Marketing and sales often overlap with one another. Reps leverage marketing collateral in their outbound outreach to drive conversations. Marketing helps educate and maintain the prospects’ interest in the product you’re trying to sell. It also continues to engage the prospect throughout the sales cycle until they become a paying customer. Moreover, marketing plays a crucial role in post-sales pitching and follow-up. Conversely, outreach by reps can drive prospects to become an inbound lead by filling out a website form.
Challenges in Sales and Marketing Processes
Pulling off a sales or marketing plan is no easy task. There are crucial bottlenecks sales and marketing teams need to deal with when supporting the growth of their B2B company.
1. Lack of indispensable B2B data:
Your sales and marketing reps need reliable prospect data to feed their outbound efforts and marketing campaigns. Without B2B data, your ABM, cold outreach, prospecting, and targeted marketing strategies can’t function.
Put simply, if you don’t have enough data to get started you will struggle to keep your pipeline full. Or, if your data is inaccurate and unreliable you will waste effort and time targeting the wrong buyers and companies. Not to mention having to deal with bounced emails and misdials.
2. Not Leveraging Existing Customers:
Existing customers constitute one of the most underutilized resources for many B2B organizations. Happy customers are often better able to promote your product than you are. So, you should incentivize their word of mouth through things like referral programs. Even better if you can find a way to build virality into your offering.
It’s easy to advise B2B companies to incentivize referrals, but the rubber meets the road when you have to commit time and resources (oftentimes financial) to build a referral program. And remember to use a prospecting tool like LinkedIn Navigator to see when someone leaves an existing customer’s company and takes a job at a similar company as they will often be your foot in the door and advocate.
Similarly, existing customers can help create the most effective marketing collateral at your disposal. Things like case studies, reviews, and video testimonials make the case for you in the customer’s own words.
3. Lack of lead intelligence:
Pursuing someone who is not ready to buy or does not fit your ICP will take up a significant chunk of your sales and marketing time and resources. Identifying qualified leads and reaching key influencers are among the primary steps you need to take to ensure a higher ROI from your sales and marketing efforts. Without high-quality lead intelligence, you’re slowing your sales and marketing efforts.
4. Weak offline presence or relationship:
Sales and marketing teams work hard toward maintaining a strong online bond with their prospects and customers through email marketing, social media, website, etc. But do they allocate sufficient resources to strengthen their offline relationship? Do you have a robust strategy for offline brand visibility? Unfortunately, many B2B companies do not consider improving offline presence as a priority.
With the comeback of direct mail marketing and more B2B companies wanting to cut through the digital noise to reach their prospects, increasing offline brand awareness is quickly gaining importance. 75% of marketers say direct mail is the best channel to reach the C-Suite and 84% agree that it improves multi-channel campaign performance. According to the recent survey B2B businesses expect to spend more on the digital market by 21%
6 Growth Hacks Your B2B Company Needs
Here are six of the best B2B growth hack strategies to not only overcome the challenges discussed above but also further advance your company’s growth.
1. Start small
Don’t rush your prospects through the buying process. Map your content and campaigns to the buyer’s journey and be strategic about nudging them to the next step in the process. Begin with value-added educational content and leverage things like free/freemium offerings to get your foot in the door.
Build a content library that’s easily accessible by your sales team to facilitate sharing including various resources like ebooks, explanatory videos, guidebooks, reports, case studies, and whitepapers to build prospect confidence and increase your credibility. After your prospects have used your free products and resources and realized how you can add value to them, your paid offerings will be an easier sell.
Leverage hashtags to join conversations and share your content on LinkedIn. This will not only give you visibility but also increase your chances of getting connected to the right people. You can also join LinkedIn groups to expand your business network, explore partnership opportunities, and get your products and services in front of a wider audience.
If you rely on LinkedIn InMail or have to wait for people to accept your connection request, it’ll consume a lot of your sales and marketing time and lengthen your sales cycles. With free and easy-to-use tools like RevDriver by SalesIntel, you can quickly get your hands on the additional contact information you need like email addresses and phone numbers to execute multi-channel outreach campaigns. The free Chrome extension can also be used beyond LinkedIn to gather data for key influencers by simply visiting their company website.
3. Integrate products
Make the best use of B2B integrations to offer an outstanding user experience, increase the performance of your products, and tap into the customer base of your integration partner. It’s better to integrate your products with those that are commonly used by your prospects or customers.
For example, CRMs like Salesforce have become the hub that almost all sales and marketing solutions integrate with, making them one of the most crucial platforms for B2B software. Speak to your customers, conduct surveys, and investigate technographic data to determine what integrations to prioritize as well as the pain points you’re aiming to solve.
4. Go offline
Who doesn’t want to stand out from the crowd? Harnessing the unique ability of direct mail or print marketing will help your offline brand presence. Sending swag, gifts, dimensional mailers, interactive mailers, and other direct mail campaigns is a great way to build an emotional connection with your intended audience while giving them memorable offline experiences. In fact, 83% of consumers feel positive about receiving packages.
You can step up your direct mail marketing game by using tools like a sending platform to improve your sends and response time, automate certain tasks, send or receive instant notifications, and measure performance. Sending platforms allow you to overcome the traditional barriers of swag management, gifting, and direct mail campaigns.
By integrating with the CRM and MAP you already use, sending platforms automate your fulfillment and logistics processes. And crucially, sending platforms also allow you to understand and measure the ROI on all of your direct mail campaigns.
5. Bridge the gap
Sometimes, B2B companies lean more toward online or offline growth strategies and find it difficult to strike a balance between them. While both online and offline sales and marketing tactics work great individually, combining the two can yield better results for your company.
Video mailers and personalized print-on-demand collateral are great examples of combining physical and digital marketing to reach the target audience at valuable touchpoints in their buyer’s journey. These solutions can be customized and personalized at scale and help create a more exclusive brand moment for prospects and customers.
Tactile marketing automation (TAC) is another solution that bridges the physical and digital worlds and creates seamless, truly multichannel marketing experiences. Orchestrated with digital channels, personalized direct mail can be added to your automated marketing journeys, making TAC a powerful strategy to deliver holistic experiences.
TAC helps you send the right message at the right time by allowing you to deliver trackable and highly targeted, personalized direct mail based on your target audience’s profile and digital behaviors. Tactile marketing pieces can drive 184X greater response rates than online display ads.
6. Capture intent
Intent data enables you to identify where your prospects are in their buying journey, allowing you to target them with the right content for their buying stage. Most importantly, intent data allows you to focus your efforts on those prospects most ready to buy soon. Also, by knowing the keywords or topics that most interest your targeted prospects, you can easily create a focused strategy to quickly connect with them.
It’s not enough to use internal intent data that only informs you about the prospect activities on your website or app. This first-party data mainly comes from your MAP, CRM, or app logs. Dedicated intent data solutions such as Bombora extend your visibility beyond your content allowing you to surface intent signals across the entire web. Intent data can deliver up to 4X pipeline expansion with 300% marketing ROI.
A Final Word
Growth hacks like those listed above can be valuable tools for accelerating your pipeline. Your sales and marketing teams are the lifeblood of your business. But it takes the right strategy, processes, and technologies to facilitate their effectiveness. And by aligning your efforts across these essential departments, you optimize your entire sales funnel.