Can Marketing Help B2B Technology Businesses Survive and Grow During COVID-19?

B2B Technology Marketing

Mid-sized technology product and services companies have always been somewhat more focused on sales than marketing. And B2B tech marketing has never been easy.

Business leaders and marketers in technology companies have to juggle between several platforms, ensure a meaningful omnichannel presence and do everything in the book and yet there’s always room for improvement in how they market their products and services.

Conventionally, B2B technology companies were largely dependent on the word-of-mouth recommendations passed on by clients to their peers and others in the network, the powerful network of the founders, and CXOs who are most likely alumni of prestigious universities and B-schools or the good old outbound route. 

Gradually, targeted email campaigns, presence at tech events, expos, and sponsoring tech conferences were also brought into practice to reach out to new potential customers. The mid-size tech companies with potential clients located primarily in the USA and other English-speaking geographies were pursuing all of these, in tandem to attract new customers. Of course, all that was supplemented by a hefty focus on travel by the sales pros and key executives. 

The pandemic, however, has changed everything.

We’ve put together this handy guide for B2B tech companies who are wondering what to do to get their marketing game on. The question on their minds is, whether or not to focus on marketing during this time. (the answer is, Yes)

This guide is for every B2B technology company that is striving to tap into new customers, is eager to retain the existing ones, and does not want to get washed off by the competition.

This guide can help B2B technology businesses direct their content marketing efforts to survive the pandemic and thrive in the situations that will abide after.

This guide covers

  • Changing Dynamics of B2B Tech Sales
  • Why now is the time to do marketing
  • An “all bases covered” playbook covering content, social media and personal branding of founders
  • The ROI – What you will get

Changing Dynamics of B2B Tech Sales

At the onset of the pandemic, B2B technology businesses weren’t directly impacted. But this gradually manifested into a considerable hurdle. IT sales is faced with obstacles all around. Suddenly, every potential customer of the B2B tech companies had a fully remote team, operations were shifted online, processes were overhauled and person to person contact became very different. 

Read: Why COVID-19 Has Changed IT Services Sales Forever

With severe restrictions on travel, sales reps could no longer travel for meetings. As things stand, even after travel restrictions are lifted, things won’t return to normalcy soon, and even for the local clients, setting up face-to-face meetings in the times of social distancing is going to be quite impossible. Moreover, all events and conferences for the entire year are canceled or moved online, nullifying the prospect of meeting potential clients, networking, and meeting new people. Tech companies can, obviously, no longer get the visibility they otherwise would. 

The traditional sales channels are being constrained even more than usual (which were already getting outdated – who answers cold calls made to the office landline when everyone is practically working from home?) and other outbound methods such as email marketing are facing too much competition (you don’t want to spend your marketing efforts simply adding to the pile of emails your client receives each day), a fresh approach towards marketing is the need of the hour.

Obviously, doing nothing is not an option. Clearly, the pandemic demands B2B tech companies push their boundaries and think outside the box to nail marketing now to outlast the tough times.

Why NOW is the time to do marketing

Unfortunately, the first expense item to take a hit during the pandemic was the marketing budget. ‘If customers aren’t buying, why to spend on marketing?’ was the impulsive call that several business leaders and marketers took in the first half of 2020. 

But this approach WILL prove absolutely fatal to B2B tech companies. 

The big economic numbers might be slowing down, but that absolutely doesn’t mean that your potential clients do not need a solution for their pressing business problems. In fact, with events canceling, even these clients are exploring other avenues to find solutions that are the right problem-solution fit for their needs.

Now is the right time to become visible in their eye line with valuable content that focuses on solving the business problems that plague your customers. ‘Out of sight is out of my mind’ and you don’t want to be out of the eye-line of your customers at this crucial time.

Of course, you have to be empathetic, and hard-selling like before seems a little out of place but there couldn’t be a better time to grow the top of the funnel and to nurture your audience with value-adding content. 

In fact, with no commute and people -including business leaders and decision-makers working from home, there has been a significant rise in the time spent online. People are consuming content online, the only question is, whose content is it?

Sooner or later, your clients are going to be looking around for the right solution and this is when you want to be top-of-the-mind. Now is the time to invest in creating customer-focused content that can prove your authority and expertise and ensure your offering appears to be the most viable option for your target audience. 

Once you decide you want to leverage the situation and direct your content marketing efforts other questions will arise. Which channels are to be explored? What type of content should be created? How often should the social media posts go live? Who should your target?

Let’s explore each in detail!

An “all bases covered” playbook

Let’s talk about content

It is needless to say that in the era of screen fixation, remote working, and fewer avenues to strike a face-to-face conversation with your potential clients, digital content is truly the king. Investing in content creation at this stage will not only help you come into the much-needed spotlight but also help you in the long run, especially if you choose to create timeless content pieces that are going to be valuable today and in the future. 

Let us have a look at the type of content B2B tech companies should be creating right now!

  • Informative Content

Nothing makes your content more worthwhile than true utility to your audience. Irrespective of where your customer is in the buyer’s journey, you should have relevant, valuable, and highly informative content to offer. This content should not only be engaging to read with extremely accurate information but should also have key takeaways that can help your readers solve their real-world problems. The content need not necessarily lead to a conversion, at least not through the first piece your readers consume. But it should be worth remembering, useful, practical, and authentic enough to build trust with your users while also resonating with their problems and challenges. 

Focus on creating content pieces that have actionable insights, especially in times like these where your customers are anxious and are quite frankly looking for solutions, not stories.

For example, Thinksys, a software development services company has extended quick guides for thriving the pandemic with its articles such as The Top 5 Factors To Consider While Developing Products With Remote Teams and Cost-Saving While Maintaining The Pace Of Product Development– the topics the audience is exactly looking for- from remote teams to cost-saving. 

Another excellent example is the blogs from construction technology services company Virtualize Services. They have very cleverly created content that amalgamates their service areas with the newly required mandates and changes the construction sector is going through in the USA. 

B2B Content Marketing Example
  • Content riding on current topics

Staying relevant is crucial for making any marketing activity, a success, especially in times like this. Ghosting the current topics is obviously not an ideal route. Your audience needs to know, in their unique context, how your company, its products, and services are relevant to them in the current times. Hence it is extremely important to create content that rides on current topics. This content might not be usable once the trend subsides but, it is worth the effort for the contextual impact. 

You can integrate your offerings with the current topics. For instance, data science platform Rubiscape has created articles like The World Post COVID-19 – AI to The Rescue in The Battle Against Pandemic or how Analytics services company Inteliment has spoken extensively about the Role of data and analytics in COVID-19 response

Aroscop, an ad-tech company has put together several articles around the changing dynamics of consumer behavior and digital ad rate trends due to COVID-19 which are also a fine example of writing about current topics while continuing to focus on the key concerns of your target audience. 

B2B Content Marketing Example

 

  • Content demonstrating business as usual

With uncertain times, it is quite natural that your potential customers (or the existing ones) are anxious. And while being empathetic is important, the real challenge is that no one really knows what to do next. Hence, creating handy guides that can help in getting back to business or preparing their businesses once the ‘new normal’ sets in can be impactful. 

Fintech company Simple2Trade has been creating blogs such as How Technology Can Help Drive Trading Strategies As “Business As Usual” Kicks off Again or COVID and Customer Onboarding – What Financial Services Companies Need to Do which can prove to be very useful for their customers and potential clients.

  • Content talking about Remote working

Not enough can be emphasized about how remote working has impacted several businesses. For most businesses, this entire remote working wave was unexpected, and the transition hasn’t really been a cakewalk. Especially since remote working looks like it is here to stay, businesses are clueless and do not know how to go about remote hiring, onboarding, and employee engagement while everyone works remotely.

In the context of technology services companies, outsourced product development company Forgeahead has chosen to focus on what WFH means for the enterprise software target segment. They have created content highlighting the security challenges enterprises need to address in the remote working age as well as speaking of UI changes.

Similarly, creating an enterprise mobility strategy for remote working by BenchmarkIT can strike the right chord with the enterprise product audience hit by a WFH disruption. Such content practically ticks all boxes- informative, relevant, and helpful. 

  • Content demonstrating hiring and culture

The job market has been merciless and as per the experts, with the approaching recession, it is only going to get worse. But companies are still going to hire high-quality people. This is why writing about your company culture around hiring is important. It not only helps you put the best foot forward as a brand but also helps in attracting rich talent to your organization, in times of uncertainty. 

With a multitude of opportunities for top talent, content like ‘We work on highly complex technology projects – here is how it changes whom we hire’ by Wissen can be refreshing as well as inspirational. If your organization is doing anything out of the box to engage, retain, and nurture your employees or customers, this is the time to talk about it! 

  • Visual and other types of content

It is important to consider the possibility of having an audience that doesn’t consume a lot of textual content. It is about time to get creative and present diverse content types so that you don’t miss out on anyone on the radar! Especially if your past marketing experience for a particular niche in B2B tech has been driven by diversified content types, you should actively focus on creating more. 

For example, TruckX Inc has been creating highly engaging visual content that focuses on the trucking companies that are their customers and truckers who are their end-users for promoting their products.

This could also be a good time to release podcasts or host webinars since a lot of people are working towards upskilling. Presenting your customers or your internal thought leaders could be a very important move for your branding efforts.

Let’s talk about social media

Unlike B2C companies, B2B companies seldom fully acknowledge the power of social media. The perception that social media presence works more for B2C companies has sometimes made B2B tech companies stay away from social media marketing. Most companies, especially the small or midsize ones, have almost no presence on social media and look at it as an unnecessary effort. They simply post links to their new content pieces or to announce new collaborations or major updates. They have no expectations from the efforts and those expectations are met!

If you are not actively engaging on social media platforms, you should start now. And here’s what you should post on social media, apart from sharing links to your content such as blogs, whitepapers, and ebooks.

  • Hiring related updates

Speak, scream, and tell the world if you are hiring during the pandemic. Not just job seekers, but your customers will also have a newfound respect for you once they learn you are hiring in these tough times. Because it simply means- your business is up, running, and doing well, you have future plans put together, you have enough projects lined up which basically means you know what you are doing and this is exactly the type of company anyone would want to do business with! 

  • Relevant content – tips and tricks

You can’t expect each of your potential clients to read through the detailed content that you create and hence your company page should be alternating between sharing links to content and sharing tips and tricks as a post on social media. These not only provide quick assistance to the ones who are looking for it but also serve as a great engagement engine. Especially if the tips and tricks you share are new, experience-based, or unique, you can expect users to engage on the post, which essentially helps in increasing the reach of your post and ultimately your brand. 

Let’s talk about Personal Branding of founders

Founders are invariably the face of the company and play a huge role in establishing the brand of the company. Especially for the small, midsize companies and B2B tech startups that do not have the cash flow to invest in full-blown advertising, the company branding is subtly established via the founders. When it comes to cracking large value deals, clients look for companies that have trustworthy founders who they’ve read about or seen and interacted with on social media. 

If you are a founder of a B2B company that is looking to establish itself during these changing times, there couldn’t be a better time to build your personal brand. B2B tech founders have a great deal of industry experience, good references, and knowledge of the ecosystem. Creating content to focus on personal branding aligned to the company’s brand can be the key to engage customers, leave a long-lasting mark in the mind of the audience as well as attract new talent to fill in key positions in the company. Being social-media shy is not ideal. Today, there is no excuse to have dormant LinkedIn profiles or be invisible on other platforms such as twitter. People need to know the face behind an organization, especially when it comes to small and mid-size companies.

Here’s how you can get started with founders’ personal branding:

  • Share stories

It could be personal growth experiences of the founder or their take on anything they hold an expertise in. Founders of tech companies are tech leaders in their respective fields and over the years have garnered tons of experience. This could be not only an interesting read but also create thought leadership. Founders can share their interesting perspectives, opinions, and their personal journeys to create a bond with your readers along with amplifying the company branding. 

Here are a few examples of how founders can share stories, opinions, and experiences:

CXO Personal Branding Example
  • Success stories

Resonating with your audience and exhibiting your expertise is commendable, but what makes your potential customers take the leap of faith are your success stories. You can share your success stories, client testimonials or peculiar experiences of solving challenging business challenges and those will usher in a direct impact. Since these are the stories your potential clients are going to read and relate to and they are a data-backed proof of your expertise and efficiency as an organization. 

For sure, be careful that your story doesn’t brag, overpromise, and is not salesy. Think of it as a candid exchange between your network and remember a little goes a long way. 

Here are a few great samples:

Current content

Founders who want to take up personal branding seriously need to remember that this activity is not short-term and needs a lot of nurturing, just like real-world relationships. And hence, if you are only going to be talking about your journey, your products, and your experiences, you are going to be uninteresting for your reader. It is important that you write about current topics, share your opinions on how it will impact the space your customers care about. It’s also ok to be controversial if you can justify your stand.  

You can check out how these founders have spoken about current issues which have helped them stay relevant within their network: 

The ROI – What you will get

As we reiterate whenever the discussion of B2B marketing picks up, we firmly believe that strategic B2B marketing should be done with the intention of gaining brand visibility to the right set of audience in exactly the right context. 

Putting in efforts and investment in building a comprehensive marketing strategy based on all the points mentioned in this guide can yield that brand visibility.

You can create a positive impression of your brand in the minds of your target audience.

You will be more visible. You will be understood better.

Your target audience will be able to place you in the right frame in light of exactly what you can do for them.

Then, you will see them reaching out to you when they feel motivated enough to want to solve those specific business problems.

You will be the frontrunner in that race, maybe even the only runner. There will be a number of signs along the way that this is working.

You will see a noticeable difference in connection/follow requests for your founders’ social media pages, improved web traffic, and a warmer response to your sales outreach since your customers already know about you!

Maintaining the consistency and context with your content is the bottom line. Traffic, engagements, and leads will follow suit. That’s the way to beat the COVID-induced slowdown.

Let’s connect if you would like to know how this would work for you too.

Disclaimer: The examples shown here are all live and in the public domain. Not all the companies mentioned here are current clients of Midas Touch

Midas Touch Wins “Disruptive Agency of the Year” Award at AgencyCon Indian Agency Awards and Summit

Indian Agency Awards - Disruptive Agency of the Year

Midas Touch, a B2B specialist content and social media marketing agency, has won the Gold award in the “Disruptive Agency of the Year” category at the Indian Agency Awards and Summit.

AgencyCon, an initiative by Social Samosa, was dedicated to the unsung heroes of the marketing & advertising world. An eminent jury of veterans of the Ad and Digital Marketing world selected the winners through a rigorous selection process.

“We are extremely thrilled to be the winner in this category. I must thank Social Samosa for this great initiative. They have created a wonderful platform for agencies to come together, collaborate, and share knowledge. While we were, possibly, the only B2B specialist agency at the event this year, I hope to see many more coming up in the near future”, saysRadha Giri, CEO, Midas Touch Consultants.

As a B2B Social Media Agency, Midas Touch helps   B2B companies make a digital impact. Since the early days of online marketing, the company founders have helped organizations achieve their long-term business goals using digital, content and social media marketing.

“The agency ecosystem in India has been extremely focused on the B2C space and that also reflects in the categories in the major awards. We do some great B2B Social Media and Content Marketing work but none of that fits naturally into the prevalent award categories. That’s why we decided to apply for the “Disruptive Agency” slot. We showed examples of how we were doing innovative things in a B2B-specific context. We documented the business impact on our clients. In essence, we set out to prove that B2B deserves a seat at the big boy’s table”, adds Sanjeev Nambudiri, Co-Founder, Midas Touch Consultants.

About Midas Touch

Midas Touch is a specialist B2B Social Media Agency. It helps B2B companies make a digital impact. Their customers gain more visibility, become perceived as thought leaders, and receive warmer responses to sales outreach efforts.

Since the early days of online marketing, the company founders have helped organizations achieve their long-term business goals using digital, content and social media marketing.

The company’s primary playground is Digital, Content, and Social Media Marketing. They leverage various channels that guarantee exemplary results for their clients.

The bottom line: build an exhaustive digital and social media marketing strategy rather than just a Facebook or LinkedIn strategy.

To know more, visit www.i-midastouch.com

 

Course Module on Social Media for Business – 2018

Sanjeev Nambudiri, Co-Founder of Midas Touch, was invited to take a course module on social media for business at IIM Sambhalpur. This was a part of the integrated marketing course for second year students.

B2B Companies – Don’t Start with Social Media If….

B2B Companies – Don’t Start with Social Media If….

Let’s see why B2B companies are more and more turning to social media –

Because thought leaders are saying so –

Content marketing is the only marketing left – Seth Godin

We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it – Erik Qualman

Because these stats are enough to convince us –

  • 94 percent of B2B buyers conduct some form of online research before purchasing a business product (Source)
  • 80% of business decision makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus an advertisement. (Source)
  • 75% of B2B buyers and 84% of C-level or vice-president level executives use social media to make purchasing decisions (Source)

Because traditional sales methods are not working anymore –

Company CEOs and sales heads are seeing that what worked for them a decade ago does not work any longer – cold calls are incredibly ineffective, email campaigns are not getting enough response, and meetings are hard to get. The conversations with the buyers start at a much different note where the buyers are well-informed about what they want, how they want, and from whom do they want it.

Now that you understand the relevance, importance, and need of B2B Social Media, you should just start with it, right? Hire a good team and get started? Well, not really. Let’s take a step back. Instead of looking at “how” to get started, first you need to examine if you are really readyfor B2B Social Media or not.

Don’t start the efforts if –

You are not sold on the idea of social selling

Don’t just go by stats or quotes. Impartially evaluate your business, your industry, your customers, their purchase behaviors, and your sales cycles. See what role content marketing and social media can play in your business growth. Only once you are convinced and have understood the relevance of social media and content for your business, you should start the efforts. Without any specific goals, your efforts will be, well, just efforts. 

You don’t have a good website

A lot depends on your site. Period. And I am not talking about a jazzy and fancy website only. The role of social and content is to bring users to your site. If your site cannot convince them as to why they should do business with you, then no matter how good your social media efforts are, you are not going to get the desired results. Some basic things to look for include – does your site talk to your target audience, does it offer all the relevant information, does it specify the “benefits” your target audience is going to get by working with you, does it establish your expertise in the field, does it offer enough proof (aka case studies/ testimonials) to convince your target audience that it is beneficial for them to work with you? Another important thing to check for is navigation and placement of the right CTAs on the site – these help in keeping the visitors involved and engaged with the site.

You, as the head of the business, can’t commit time to it

Social media is not free. It is differently expensive. Hiring the best team or a great agency is not going to give you the desired impact if you are not involved in it yourself. As the head of the business, provide the required direction, views, and pointers to the team. Regularly evaluate the progress and see if the goals are being met or not and what tweaks are required. Make sure that there are synergies between sales and marketing teams. As someone who has the visibility about various other aspects of the business, it is your responsibility to ensure that the marketing efforts are aligned with the overall business goals.

You don’t have integration of marketing and sales

Gone are the days when marketing and sales teams could work in silos and have different goals and targets. In today’s age of hyper-connectivity, every department within the organization is the marketing department. Especially between marketing and sales, there needs to be a tight integration. Sales teams should leverage the content being created, the marketing team should ideally align the content based on sales campaigns, social media activity should talk about the same things as the sales campaigns, content should help in addressing the common objections which the sales teams are facing, and so on. All these things are not possible unless the marketing and sales teams work together.

You are “trying” it out

Remember that social media and content marketing is a commitment and not a campaign. I would not recommend you starting the efforts if you want to “try it for a few months and continue based on the results”. Social media requires serious commitment, well-defined goals, a thorough action plan, and flawless execution. Unless you are prepared to invest your time, energy, and resources over a long term, you should not venture into it.

Don’t let these factors deter you from starting your efforts. The sole objective of this article is to help you plan better.  It really pains me to see companies cannot leverage this powerful medium simply because they were not well-prepared and do not know how to get started. Right preparation is the key to success. As Abraham Lincoln has famously said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

9 Things You Will Regret Not Knowing about B2B Social Media

B2B Social Media

Social media is just a buzzword until you come up with a plan.” – Unknown

Well, chances are that you have heard a lot about B2B social media and are convinced that it has moved beyond just a buzzword. You want to start adopting this new way of marketing and sales, but not sure what to expect and what mistakes to avoid.

Through this blog post, I have tried to capture 9 key points which every B2B company must know while planning their social media and content marketing initiatives –

B2B Social Media is different than B2C

The nature of B2B businesses is different – the sales cycles are complex, purchase decisions do not happen in seconds, there are multiple decision makers involved in the sales cycle, and fitment of the solution plays a more important role than emotional connect. Considering all such factors, don’t you agree that the social channel which you visit for connecting with your family and friends is probably not the best channel for educating the buyers about how they can solve a business problem?

As Erik Qualman has very rightly said, “Successful companies in social media function more like entertainment companies, publishers, or party planners than as traditional advertisers.” Bombarding your message to hundreds of thousands of people is not going to help you close a deal.

Not only the distribution channels, but you need to think differently in every aspect when it comes B2B social media – does your audience prefer a serious language or humor can work with them, what is your choice of social channels, which type of content is used by decision markers vis-a-vis the influencers, and how can you integrate your marketing efforts with sales campaigns.

In a nutshell, while B2B social media is still about human-to-human interaction since the goals and intentions are different, the efforts need to be tweaked appropriately.

A team of interns would possibly not be able to pull off your B2B social media efforts

Many companies think that social media is about setting up accounts on popular social channels and posting updates on those. This, according to such companies, is a very simple task and can be done by virtually “anybody” – even as a side project. Don’t mistake it to be just an activity. You need to start looking at it as an investment of valuable time and resources. Don’t have a Twitter or Facebook strategy. Have a social media strategy. As Brian Solis has said, “Social media is about sociology and psychology more than technology.

B2B social media requires a strong strategy, the right choice of tools, right message, understanding of the customer needs, ability to listen to what they want and what are they looking for, and engagement with the target audience – I would say this is too much to expect from a team of interns without a business acumen.

You can measure the Social Media RoI

If anybody has told you that you cannot measure the RoI with B2B social media, don’t believe them. You definitely can measure the RoI as far as you remember that R stands for “Return” and not only “Revenue”. Social media and content marketing can help you achieve –

  • Increased awareness and visibility in front of your target audience
  • Greater engagement
  • A chance to be front of the digitally-driven, socially-connected, informed, mobile audience
  • Opportunity to engage with your buyers through relevant and authentic conversations
  • Stronger relationships with your target audience
  • Your thought leadership

And all these things will eventually lead to sales, which is your ultimate objective.

You can’t avoid content marketing – content is king

And by content marketing, I do not mean the brochures and corporate presentations. When today’s B2B buyers are looking for information, finding answers to their questions, and doing their research, you need to be in front of them through educative content which helps them in their research – this content can be in the form of blog articles, whitepapers, eBooks, webinars, podcasts, case studies, presentations, etc. Do note the word educative here, because if you try to constantly sell through your content or keep on talking about how great your product or service is, then you aren’t talking about content marketing.

Your website needs to be a strong one to capture the interest of the audience

Thousands of visits to the website are worthless if they don’t take any action. Of course, your products and services have to be relevant and useful for the visitors for them to take any concrete action. However, it is also important to showcase the information in the right format, through right visuals, and with the right CTA (Call-to-Action buttons).  Some of the ways you can capture the interest of the visitors are: having a CTA on popular blogs, a banner image on all pages for unique events like webinars/ podcasts, option to download a whitepaper on relevant pages of the website, links to case studies from the services pages, etc.

B2B social media is not a replacement for your sales engine

That’s right. Social media is the top of the funnel activity in your sales engine. It can create awareness, generate interest, get people interested in your content (blogs, whitepapers, webinars, etc.), and drive traffic to your website. But if you think people will fill out the contact form after reading the blog, then it’s little unlikely to happen – and that’s because B2B sales cycles are complex, there are multiple decision makers involved, the questions of every decision maker and influencer are different, and people don’t make decisions based on impulse. Having said that, based on my personal experience as well as our experience of working with several B2B companies with their social media initiatives, I can confidently say that these things play a huge role in your sales cycle and you must integrate these efforts with your sales efforts. Don’t run these two engines in silos.

Influencer marketing works – even in b2B

People listen to people. People value opinions of the experts in the field. A thought leader talking about the latest trends in the industry holds more weightage than an advertorial. Therefore, it makes a perfect sense to connect with the right thought leaders in your industry, share their thoughts, ask them questions, seek feedback, invite them for guest blogging, or run a webinar series with them. Of course, this is a long shot and it has to be a subtle and consistent effort. The thought leaders need to get convinced that your offerings and ideologies resonate with them.

You need the involvement of your employees

In today’s digital age, the whole company is your marketing department. Marketing departments cannot run in silos. You need involvement of various department stakeholders to make your B2B social media initiatives successful – for example: you need to involve the subject matter experts in your content creation efforts, your need the sales teams to leverage the content created by the marketing teams, you need the external facing employees to amplify the impact of the social promotions, and you need your HR teams to leverage the content and social properties to connect with the right talent.

Executive branding is important

Companies need to ensure that their leadership team is highly visible on social media. Especially for companies where the top leadership is involved in large value sales deals or is the face of the company for talent acquisition, it is important that the leaders depict the right image of themselves in the online world. Publishing thought leading content, being active on B2B focused social channels like LinkedIn and Twitter are some of the ways to be in the eyeline of the right audience. I agree that the CXOs may not be able to spend a humongous amount of time in this activity, but trust me, if you can, it is totally worth it. Have a concrete personal branding strategy (define what you want to be known for), choose the right channels, engage with the right people (don’t forget to respond to the comments), and ensure that you are consistent with your efforts.

Some of these things might appear to be very obvious and basic – the key lies in following these consistently and diligently. Good luck with your efforts!

Top 4 Types of B2B Content You Must Pay Attention To

B2B Content Marketing

As someone who has been in the field of Digital Marketing for the past 15 years, I have seen the evolution of marketing – especially B2B marketing. Content marketing has taken center stage. It is the key element which helps marketers capture the attention of their target audience.

One of the most common questions asked to us is: “I have a killer product. Do I still need to invest in content marketing? Won’t my product sell itself”. Today, with the proliferation of new and emerging technologies, a lot of innovative products are coming in the market every single day. But look at it this way – if your target audience does not find the solution to their problems (aka your product), then they are not going to come to you. In fact, content marketing helps tremendously in concept selling.

So once you are convinced that you do want to start your content marketing efforts, the next obvious question is, what type of content. Contrary to the common belief, blog is just one type of content which you can create.

Let us look at the four most popular types of content which you can benefit from –

Types of B2B Content

Blogs/ Articles

A blog is an easy way to keep your target audience engaged with information and educational content. As we all know, search engines love fresh content and blog is an excellent way to keep your website updated with new content. Remember that your blog should NOT be about your product or service – you have the other pages of the site for that. The blog should have articles which provide answers to the questions of your target audience. It should provide solutions.

B2B Blogging Tips

  • Keep the articles in the range of 800-1000 words
  • Include at least one image in each article
  • Your articles can be technical or non-technical – depending on the needs of your target audience. In any case, again, the articles should provide answers to the questions of your audience.
  • Start with a frequency which you can maintain. There is no point in writing five articles in one month and none for the next 3 months.
  • Involve your subject matter experts in providing the content and have the B2B content writers translate that into a promotable and publishable format.

Whitepapers

Whitepapers are more in-depth and more authoritative reports than blogs. The difference between a blog article and a whitepaper is that a whitepaper addresses a specific business issue in detail. From the organization’s perspective, these are great resources for demonstrating in-depth technical and business knowledge.

B2B Whitepaper Writing Tips

  • You need to involve the subject matter experts at a deeper level for writing a B2B whitepaper – from the content writers perspective, they need to do a more in-depth study of the topic, prepare the outline, and then have a detailed conversation with the SMEs.
  • You can, by all means, include a section in the whitepaper which highlights your expertise in the area. It is a great place to position yourself as an expert in the field but don’t make the complete paper a sales pitch.
  • Be sure to present proofs and references to your claims.
  • Make the whitepapers and eBooks available on request and use these in your lead generation campaigns. This requires you have a landing page for the whitepaper which outlines key benefits of downloading the paper.
  • Feel free to reuse the content in the whitepaper and create more detailed blog posts for each section in the paper.

Infographics

I see that many people are big fans of infographics. Infographics are highly visual in nature and are great for showcasing a complex topic in an easy to comprehend manner. These are great for sharing on social media (although one needs to zoom in to see most of the infographics completely). Infographics are great for creating awareness about your brand and also to drive traffic to your website.

B2B Infographic Tips

  • Infographics are much more complex and well researched than simple graphics. These require a deep understanding of subject matter and design. Don’t attempt adding this as a part of your social strategy unless you have access to both these talents.
  • Finalize the promotion plan before creating an infographic. Most of the social platforms do not render infographics well.
  • You can always reuse the infographics by converting it into a blog or a video.

Webinars

If you haven’t tried webinars as a part of your B2B social media strategy, I would highly recommend you venture into it in the coming year. Since webinars offer a great opportunity to learn from the experts, B2B buyers prefer these during their research phase. Webinars can also help in generating qualified leads and moving the prospects up in the interest ladder.

B2B Webinar Tips

  • The success of the webinar heavily depends on the speaker and the webinar topic. Make sure that you not only have a great topic but also have an equally wonderful, established, expert speaker to deliver the webinar.
  • Have a concrete promotion plan in place – leverage the network of your employees, partners, and customers to promote the webinars.
  • It’s a good idea to give away a whitepaper or eBook on a related topic as a part of the webinar giveaway.
  • Make the webinar recording available post the webinar for those who miss attending it
  • For more tips of making the webinars successful, here is a more detailed post.

What does this mean for your content strategy?

Apart from the content types mentioned above, there are also other types of content which you can create such as case studies, videos, presentations, eBooks, testimonials, emails, social updates etc. When it comes to creating your content strategy and deciding the type of content to create, honestly there is no one answer. It totally depends on who your potential buyers are, on which platforms they are searching for information, and what types of content they are consuming.

If you are just starting with content marketing and social media, possibly blogs are the easiest to start with. Videos, although very impactful, are difficult to produce. Case studies and presentations are something which you will require irrespective of your strategy. Get into Whitepapers and eBooks once you have a strong blogging strategy and execution in place.

Lastly, do remember that just creating content is not enough. You need to promote it too. So when you plan for your content creation efforts, don’t forget to have a strong content promotion plan in place!

Free Webinar: Traditional B2B Sales IS dying – What Can Save it?

Free Webinar: Traditional B2B Sales IS dying – What Can Save it?

Are you seeing –

  • A dramatic drop in conversations with new prospects (because – 90% of business decision makers don’t respond to any cold outreach)
  • Sharply lower responses to phone calls (because – only 1% cold calls result in even preliminary meetings)
  • Expensive and unpredictable ROI from Google Ads (because 97% of Google AdWords campaigns fail)

Your tried and trusted ways seem to be failing you. The nagging suspicion at the back of your mind is correct – things have changed. Today, 50-60% of the B2B buying decision is over even before organizations engage with vendors. The B2B buyer has become more informed.

HERE IS YOUR CHANCE TO HEAR FROM AN EXPERT WHO HAS SEEN THIS EVOLUTION AND EMBRACED IT.

Sanjeev Nambudiri has over 25 years of B2B sales experience across the world including in some of the most developed markets. As Co-Founder at Midas Touch, he designs strategies for B2B companies to help them navigate this transformed world.

In this free webinar, with real-world case studies and examples, Sanjeev will share insights on –

  • The changed B2B sales environment
  • Where traditional B2B sales is falling short
  • The challenges for B2B companies
  • How B2B companies can survive and thrive!

All registrations get a copy of whitepaper on “An Integrated Approach to Lead Generation for B2B Companies”

 

To register, simply drop an email at info@i-midastouch.com with a subject line as “Interested in Webinar on Traditional B2B Sales IS dying – What Can Save it?”

Course Module on Social Media for Business – 2017

course module on social media for business at IIM Sambhalpur

Sanjeev Nambudiri, Co-Founder of Midas Touch, was invited to take a course module on social media for business at IIM Sambhalpur. This was a part of the integrated marketing course for second year students.

Our Experience of Hosting the First of its Kind B2B Sales and Marketing Event and Making It Super Successful

As a B2B specialist social media agency, we get many opportunities to interact with several business owners and marketers to discuss about how the dynamics of sales are changing, what is the impact of social media and content marketing on that, how are companies adapting to the new ways of selling, and so on. During our conversations, we realized that while there is lack of understanding in this area and a lot of curiosity about it, there is no common platform where people can come together, discuss, and learn from each other.

At Midas Touch, we had been contemplating creating such platform since a long time and finally we decided to take the first step towards it by organizing the first of its kind event. The event was titledWhy B2B Sales Must Harness the Power of ‘Digital Marketing’ to Go International” and we decided to have it on 24th Nov, 2017.

The Speakers and The Program

We knew that the key highlight of any event is the panel of speakers. We decided that the speakers have to be the industry experts who have “been there done that”. The people who have seen the revolution themselves and have adapted it. The people who truly “understand” B2B sales and marketing from their own experiences. We also wanted the attendees to not only understand the concept but also leave with some practical key takeaways which they can start implementing immediately. The whole program was then defined keeping in mind these objectives.

We are very thankful to Vishwas Mahajan and Ashutosh Parasnis, who came and presented their views at this event, outlined the evolution, the changing face of B2B marketing, and the importance of strong strategy and flawless execution.

Next was a panel discussion moderated by Sanjeev with Shivesh, Avani, and Ashutosh Saitwal as the panellists. The panellists very honestly shared their experiences – not only the success stories but also their failures and the lessons learned from those. Filled with lots of examples and practical tips, the panel discussion gave extremely good insights into the B2B sales and marketing process. Our sincere thanks to all these experts.

#PuneB2BSocial Panel Discussion

The best part of the program was that all the sessions were very interactive – the audience not only asked questions but also shared their experiences. Lot of attendees also learned where they are failing and what could be the reasons.

The Ecosystem Support

#PuneB2BSocial-Ecosystem Partners
We approached various associations and bodies for their support for this event. TiE Pune, Pune Open Coffee Club, HeadStart Pune, Indo American Chamber of Commerce, Software Exporters Association of Pune, Pune Digital Marketers, and GLOW – Global Organization for Women – all of these were our ecosystem partners who helped us in spreading the word about the event. After all, when you are creating such unique platform, you need all the support from the existing associations and bodies.

The Social Buzz

As a social media agency, we have a strong belief in the power of social media. After the event was conceptualized and announced, we had one month till the date of the event. The social platforms started buzzing with the hashtag #PuneB2BSocial – we started talking about the event, the speakers, what to expect, some interesting insights into how B2B marketing is changing, etc. Registrations started coming in through this buzz and before we knew it, we had a full house!

We prepared a list of potential attendees who we thought will benefit from this event and reached out to them through one-on-one messages on LinkedIn.

We created an event on Facebook and specifically invited people to join in.

Our learning – Twitter worked extremely well in driving traffic to the event page. Facebook helped in creating the awareness and LinkedIn helped in reaching out to specific individually on a one-on-one basis.

During the event, we covered the event live on Twitter through live tweets and photos and Facebook through Live videos. The attendees also shared their views by joining in the conversations and within the first two hours of the start of the event, it was trending on top on Twitter.PuneB2BSocial Twitter Trending

The Team with the Midas TouchTeam Midas Touch

The Midas Touch team worked really hard to ensure that the event was successful – right from managing the registration counter, handling the venue arrangements, managing the Q & A rounds, and most importantly, covering the event live on social platforms – the team did it all! Kudos to everyone!

PuneB2BSocial - Midas Touch Team

The Result

A full house. An extremely interactive audience. Loads of learning. Event hashtag trending on Twitter for over 6 hours. And most importantly, a validation of our belief that a common platform for B2B sales and marketing was needed and we have been able to establish that. We aim to host more such events in the future. Hope to see those who missed it this time!