Getting Started – B2B Marketing Strategies for Technology Companies In 2021

B2B Marketing Strategies for Technology Companies

In our previous blog, we discussed some actionable trends that mid-sized technology companies could implement in 2021.

The good part about these trends is that companies don’t have to invest heavily in marketing. All that’s required is the right strategy, the right tools, and the right resources to implement it.

In this blog, we will go a step ahead and share some easy-to-implement strategies that technology companies can use to grow their business. 

Getting Started with B2B Marketing Strategies

Content Marketing 

B2B buyers on average read 13 pieces of content before making a purchase decision. Hence, technology companies need to create high-value content that can address their questions. There should be some form of content to guide the customer through the complete buyer’s journey. The tone of the content should appear more educational and less like a sales pitch. Some of the common forms of content include – website content, blogs, eBooks, and whitepapers. 

How to get started?

  • Before developing the content, determine its objective. Is it to create awareness, is it to explain the value proposition of the content, is it to onboard new customers? 
  • Choose a topic. The topic could be an opinion piece on the industry trends or a how-to-article or an article that addresses the common challenges faced by the customer. Ensure that the content is written for humans and not the search engines. Do in-depth research and back the content with examples, quotes, statistics, etc. Provide backlinks to the source wherever necessary. There are debates on the average length of a content piece. For example, some will say that the average word count of a blog should be 2000 words; some will argue that it should be up to 500-600 words. We would recommend not obsessing about the word count and instead focusing on generating informative and easy to grasp.
  • Once the content is developed, do a basic grammar and spell check to avoid glaring errors. Finally, upload and share the content everywhere for people to see.

Social Selling 

According to a report, 93% of companies use Twitter, and 91% use LinkedIn to create brand awareness, generate leads, engage with customers, and do promotions. It is tempting to create accounts on different channels such as Instagram, Facebook, or even TikTok. However, you should select the social channel where your target audience is and not necessarily the channel with the most users. Based on our experience, for B2B technology companies, LinkedIn and Twitter seem to be the most relevant platforms.

How to get started?

  • Create easy-to-remember or easy-to-find accounts on Twitter and LinkedIn. Fill in all the company details, such as company location, offerings, company size, etc. Remember to add the company website’s link in the bio to garner traffic. Twitter, for example, drives third-most referral traffic. 
  • Post frequently and ask employees to share them to increase the impressions. The posts could be a link to a blog, eBook, a landing page, or link to an article of an external publication. It could also be other updates – such as the latest wins of the company, a client testimonial, or an important update relevant to the industry. Use relevant hashtags to get noticed. Creating a social media calendar would help the social media team to streamline the process.
  • Respond to users who take efforts to engage with the content, so they feel encouraged to engage more. Have conversations with the audience, so they feel heard.
  • Look for positive and negative feedback and address customer queries as early as possible. Set SLAs for the team, so they respond to the queries and messages within a stipulated time. 
  • Measure the efforts to understand what kind of content appeals the most to the target audience. That will help in developing future content.

Thought Leadership / Educational Webinars

The one thing that became a buzzword in 2020 was Webinar. A webinar is the web version of seminars and live shows. Due to the social distancing norms and the travel bans imposed worldwide, technology companies started conducting webinars to create brand awareness, educate prospects, and generate leads. However, webinars were being used as a part of content marketing strategy even before the pandemic. 73% of B2B marketers admitted that the webinar was the best way to gain high-quality leads.

How to get started?

  • Choose a topic that would interest the prospect and align with the company’s offerings. Get an expert speaker on board.
  • Develop the content for the webinar. Ensure that it is relevant to the prospect and does not look like a sales pitch.
  • Decide on the date, time, the platform that will be used to host the webinar. Choose a day and time when most people have lesser work commitments and can attend the webinar.
  • Promote the webinar on social media and website. Create a landing page so people can sign up for it easily.
  • Create an email workflow, such as sending a confirmation email after sign up, a reminder email before the webinar begins, and a thank you email with contact details and the recording after it runs.
  • Do a dry run with the team a day before the webinar to ensure that the logistics are in place.
  • Follow-up with the leads after the webinar.

Case Studies

B2B customers want to know if the company has the expertise and knowledge before engaging with them. Case studies offer validation and evidence to the customers. They act as social proof for the company.

How to get started?

  • Seek approval from existing or former customers if they would be comfortable with their case study published on the website and social media channels. Some customers may prefer their names to be masked. 
  • Determine the format of the case study. It could be a video testimonial from the customer or a short interview with them or a case study in text format. 
  • Follow the problem-solution-results format for the case study. Be specific about the solutions offered and add the right numbers in the results. Do not exaggerate, make tall claims, or add any content that could mislead a potential customer. Make the case study clear and concise, so the impact is clear to the prospects.
  • Get it reviewed by the customer if required, and publish it on the website and social media. It can also be used in email marketing. 

Landing Pages 

While websites offer general information about the overall company, a landing page is more product-focused or industry-specific. Its purpose is to drive conversions. So, the content has to appear different from -website content. 

How to get started?

  • Determine the purpose of the landing page. Is it to drive conversions or ask the prospect to download a whitepaper or sign up for a webinar? Write the content accordingly.
  • Make the content as concise and clear as possible. It should lead the prospect to take action. Ensure that they don’t have to search for the click on the call-to-action. It should be visible on the page. The navigation, the content, and the design of the landing page must be simple and effective enough to drive conversions.
  • If the audience is different, create different landing pages for different segments to add value. Segment them, so the right email is sent to the right audience.
  • If the landing page is being used for paid ads, ensure that it aligns with the landing page’s message.
  • Add social proof such as reviews and testimonials to add value to the page.
  • Do A/B testing to know which one works better.

Personal Branding of the CXOs

Gone are those days when CXOs were elusive and almost unreachable. Today’s CXOs are more social and approachable. They are active on Twitter and LinkedIn and even respond to people’s comments. Having a personal brand helps CXOs establish themselves as an authority in their industry and build trust among prospective customers. They can also leverage their network to stay connected with ex-customers, the existing ones, and the prospects. 

How to get started?

  • Create a profile on Twitter and/or LinkedIn. Ensure that the profile is completely updated with a bio, recent photograph, professional and education experience, and other necessary details.
  • Post regularly. The posts could be important news related to the company or a personal opinion on the trends that dominate the industry, or links to the blogs or other company content. 
  • Write a guest blog or guest article for third-party websites related to the industry to get established as a thought leader. 
  • Network with peers and engage with prospects to establish a relationship. Ensure that the opinions are aligned with the values of the company. 

The sales cycle of B2B marketing is longer than B2C. A single deal could take as much as 9 months to get closed. An average of 7 people is involved in making buying decisions. It can be particularly difficult for technology companies as they have no tangible evidence of their offerings. So, companies should not expect overnight or quick results from B2B marketing. Patience, consistent marketing efforts, and continuous measurement of its effectiveness are necessary. Companies must use a combination of the above strategies and wait for some months to see results. However, merely implementing all the above strategies without a concrete plan will be a futile exercise. Here are the next steps to get a positive outcome:

  • Set goals – it could be creating awareness or converting leads into customers. Set SMART goals, i.e. specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound, so it’s easy to implement them.
  • Set the budget and seek permission from the management– This will help plan the strategies accordingly. 
  • Understand the customers – Understand their business challenge, decision-making process, the solution they seek, and accordingly plan the strategy. Be where the customer is! 
  • Test and measure the outcome – Test different forms of content and different channels. Measure the results and decide what works best for the business.
  • Align sales with marketing – Working in collaboration will help in closing deals faster. 

Need help in planning and implementing the B2B strategy for 2021? We can help.

Actionable B2B Marketing Trends 2021 for Mid-sized Technology Companies

B2B Marketing Trends 2021

2020 may have been a rough year for all of us, but technology companies did a great job at continuing the business even through the peak of the pandemic. 

2020 was the year when technology companies looked beyond networking at events or getting recommendations from someone and embraced B2B marketing willingly. According to a LinkedIn report, 76% of marketers were compelled to change their key objectives to align with the current situation. 

As an agency that has supported B2B-focused mid-sized technology companies in establishing themselves as thought leaders of their industry for the last ten years, we believe that now is the right time to invest time and efforts into B2B marketing.

When it comes to B2B marketing, let’s take a look at some of the unique challenges of mid-sized technology companies, especially those which are just starting with their marketing efforts.

  • Don’t have big budgets for ads: It is natural to do paid ads to get more leads. While it might work for B2C, it might not necessarily work well for B2B companies. A mid-sized company may have a limited budget, while a single ad campaign could cost the company $1000-$2000 per month for ads. The returns are low too, with the CTR being as low as 3.10%. Even those clicks may not necessarily convert as the sales cycle in B2B is longer than B2C. That apart, unless the company has first established a strong online presence, spending on ads would not lead to any benefits. Hence, they need to think of alternatives to get more leads.
  • Creating multiple content formats is not always possible: It is tempting to create various content formats to gain diversified traffic. However, companies must remember creating multiple formats such as videos and podcasts can be time-consuming, expensive, and require people with specific skillsets. Companies that are just starting with their online marketing efforts need to prioritize where they want to spend their energies.  
  • They need focused marketing efforts: Mid-sized companies need to start with specific marketing goals, so that they can focus their marketing efforts on achieving them instead of trying everything and seeing no results in the end.
  • Marketing needs to support sales efforts: Marketing and sales can no longer work in silos – especially for B2B companies. They have to help each other to drive business and revenue growth. 57% of companies believe that collaboration between marketing and sales will advance marketing’s contribution to sales success and generate more ROI. 
  • CXO’s personal network plays a critical role: A CXO of a mid-sized technology company would have a strong network with other C-level executives of other companies. They can tap on this gold mine by posting their views and news on social media and interacting with other peers actively. Building a personal brand is imperative for creating a positive impact.
  • Marketing needs to be a self-running effort: With limited bandwidth, time, and budget, mid-sized technology companies may face challenges in running campaigns and achieving marketing goals. They need to, therefore, focus on creating a self-sustainable marketing plan that can run with minimal effort and resources. 

Now that we have set the ground rules, let’s look at the actionable trends that mid-sized technology companies can implement easily.

B2B Marketing Trends in 2021 For Mid-sized Technology Companies

High-value content

80% of decision-makers prefer to get information from an article instead of an ad. 

Hence, technology companies must focus on developing high-value content such as whitepapers, eBooks, and blogs. Cover topics such as the latest trends and industry news with unique take from experts, solution-specific content that addresses the company’s pain points, principal content such as prominent use cases or latest product updates, etc.  Whitepapers are also a great way to launch email campaigns. 

While creating high-value, evidence-based, and research-backed content is important, it is also equally important to create content regularly. Developing a content calendar and planning content distribution is the best way to ensure that content is published periodically. Publishing regularly will help the company to create brand awareness and also increase organic traffic to the website over a period. Ensure that there is content available at every stage of the customer journey such as attraction, consideration, and conversion, so the decision-makers are guided through the process.

Robust social media presence

According to the Harvard Business Review, 90% of C-level executives ignore cold outreach. So, those cold sales calls and emails will no longer help in generating leads. 

Instead, marketers and the sales team must focus on social selling. 84% of C-level and VP-level customers use social media to make purchase decisions. Posting on social media regularly will help technology companies to create brand awareness, network with prospects in an organic manner, and humanize the brand. Some types of posts that work well on social media include – posts from C-level executives, trends and challenges related to the industry or target customers, regular product principal content updates, new releases or wins, etc. 

Plan your blogging and social media posts using a social media calendar and regular schedule to strengthen its presence. Monitor its outcome regularly to know what works and what doesn’t and use those insights to create a solid social media strategy.

Webinars or live events on social media

Typically, technology companies leverage trade shows and industry conferences to network and get leads for their company. However, last year, it took a beating with most trade shows, exhibitions, and conferences getting canceled due to the pandemic. 

Companies can now conduct webinars and live events on social media to create awareness of their offering and generate leads. 46.5% of companies confirmed an increase in webinar hosting during the pandemic. Webinars are cost-effective, remove geographical barriers, and it’s easy to get the best speakers to speak to prospects across the world. Most importantly, webinars are generally attended by prospects who are in the consideration stage. So, the chances of conversions are high after the webinar is completed. 

Focus on personal branding

We cannot stress enough about the importance of personal branding. 

82% of people are more likely to trust a company whose leadership is active on social media. 

Encourage the C-level executives to actively post on social media platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn. It will not just give a face to the company, but it will also help gain the attention of customers and investors. The best part is the leaders do not have to do anything elaborate to build their personal brand. Even small efforts such as sharing a personal opinion on the trends taking place in the industry, sharing personal or professional anecdotes and lessons learned from it, and writing an authoritative piece of article can help the leader establish their reputation as a thought leader.

Read more about personal branding in our previous blog here 

Build credibility with social proof

According to Edelman’s 2020 Trust Barometer Survey, 70% of respondents said that trust is more important for them when dealing with brands. To gain the trust of prospects, technology companies will have to show social proof to back themselves as experts in the industry. These social proofs could be in the form of client testimonials, case studies, or industry-recognized certifications. These will enable companies to demonstrate their expertise and impact on prospects. Ensure that the feedback and ratings are collected from customers regularly and publish them on the website and social media to show value and build trust. 

2021 – The Road Ahead 

There are so many things that companies can do to build their brand and get more leads. But with limited time, bandwidth, and budget, mid-sized technology companies must focus on getting their foundation strategy right before experimenting with other trending tactics. We would recommend beginning with these three actionable tactics:

  • Write high-value content regularly
  • Establish a strong presence on social media
  • Empower the C-level executives to share their opinion on social media and leverage their network

We have created a post-pandemic marketing plan – it outlines a rescue recipe for all kinds of mid-sized technology companies. Read it here

These tactics will take time to show results. But our experience of working with some of the best mid-sized technology companies has demonstrated that with consistency and quality content, companies can even supersede their goals and build a long-term relationship with their customers at a fraction of costs and efforts. 

Now that you have survived 2020, it’s time to grow in 2021

Post Pandemic Marketing Strategy

2020 changed everything – especially sales and marketing.

The old strategies, tactics, and tricks won’t work now – no matter how hard you try. So, what should you do instead to catch the eye of your target audience?

This “Post-Pandemic Marketing Plan” resource is for you if you are

  • A partner of global product companies like SAP, IBM, ServiceNow, Atlassian, Oracle, etc.
  • A company with a specialized set of service offerings in niche areas like IoT, AI, Blockchain, etc.
  • A company with a ready-to-launch product
  • In a highly competitive space like s/w development and testing, app development, cloud etc.

This resource may highlight what exactly has changed and what could be the “rescue recipe” for you.

http://i-midastouch.com/post-pandemic-marketing-plan/

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

4 Places To Find The Cash For Your Upcoming (But Necessary) Marketing Campaigns

Even during a worldwide crisis, your business must grow. You have your priorities right, and the need is immediate.

But even as the importance of increasing your visibility on digital platforms grows more obvious by the day, you may wonder, ‘How will I fund a meaningful marketing strategy?’

Let’s look at where you can find the cash to fund your necessary marketing endeavours. 

The expenses of flagship events

You may have planned your event calendar at the beginning of the year and allocated substantial funds there. Be it becoming sponsors of the mega-events of your product principals or arranging for your own events, exhibitions, and launches, none of these stand much chance of coming around for the next 12-18 months. Of course, you’re not alone in this. Many industry biggies like, Apple, Dell World, Atlassian, DrupalCon, NVidia, Oracle, Microsoft, and others have been forced to cancel their flagship events because of the pandemic. These companies are moving online as a way to reach their audience and maintain visibility. 

So, what will happen to all those funds that you had allocated for your event plans? Use them online. Add bandwidth to create content, liven up your social media presence, and build an impactful personal brand for your CxOs. Use the online medium to establish your brand identity and reach a relevant audience. When the time is ripe, this enhanced visibility will drive an inevitable increase in your customer base. 

Savings from canceled business trips

Have you depended on a chain of business trips to meet your clients, or your international partners each year? If so, there’s little chance of that happening for a while now. Even when lockdowns are lifted, the costs of travel will increase by leaps and bounds and remain so for quite some time. Mandatory quarantine, more expensive flights, and more reluctance in accepting invites for face to face meetings are here to stay. They will increase the cost of travel and reduce its impact. This is not a wise way to spend your cash any longer. 

You can easily use your travel budget on your structured marketing efforts to reach out to more people and enhance your visibility. Of course, reduced travel also adds time to the credit column! Beside developing blogs, newsletters, infographics, and research papers, you can also create interactive videos, podcasts, and customer success stories online to help people know your value proposition better. These strategies won’t cost you a fortune but pay huge dividends without you or your employees having to risk their lives by travelling. 

Expenses for client/customer entertainment

According to a survey by Cvent in 2018 with about 3000 corporate event planners, 52% said that their event budgets keep increasing every year. Another report by the event manager blog revealed that big corporate meetings spend about $1,294 per participant on average. Further, international visitors (potential clients or stakeholders), who are invited to these events generate about 21.8% of the spending in travel expenses, 24.6% in shopping and recreation, and 26.5% in entertainment. 

So, you see how much you spend on holding those parties, corporate gatherings, and for entertaining your visitors, who may or may not turn into potential clients? As you can imagine, no travel cuts both ways. Just like you’re likely to cut travel back, your customers and prospects are also likely to cut back on travel to visit you. While you focus on creating meaningful connections with these people in other ways, remember that you can now use these funds effectively and enhance your marketing strategies, a smart move to establish your brand presence online. It’s the smart thing to do. 

Office infrastructural development 

Did you think about redoing the interiors of your office or of shifting to a new office this year? Well, as most of your employees are working from home, what chance of that happening? Large IT companies like TCS and Tech Mahindra have announced that they intend for overwhelming numbers of their employees to work from home. When the employees are happy (no travel, more work-life balance) and they are uber-productive from home, why get them back into an office at all?

Save on that swanky office. Invest the resources that you had kept aside for the same in your marketing efforts to help your business survive and thrive. 

There is no longer any doubt that digital channels like content marketing, social media, and personal branding of the CxOs are the only way to become and stay visible in the eye-line of your target audience. Until now. if your key objection was the budget, then that should no longer be the case. 

Why Your Sales Team Needs Social Media to Achieve Its Goals

Photo by Neil Thomas on Unsplash

 

“Lead people with what they want. – Lead with what they’ve already said. – Lead people from where they’re at. – Lead them with the things that concern them.” – Sandi Krakowski

You will notice that Krakowski wants you to create a lead generation strategy around your target customers’ needs on the platform where they prefer to be. Today social media has become an inseparable part of our lives and work. While we meet potential clients and customers through professional networks like LinkedIn, we nurture those relationships through Facebook as they become more personal, get a glimpse into their likes and interests through Instagram, and if possible, chat with them on Whatsapp.

Why should your sales team then shy away from leveraging this powerful medium to enhance their lead generation strategies?

In fact, it’s time for them to start using social media marketing to increase sales and the visibility of your business if they haven’t already.

What is Social Selling?

Well, the term has been doing the rounds for quite some time, but it is not just about the use of social media. In fact, it is a way, used by efficient salespeople to create and nurture long-lasting relationships on social media platforms. In some quarters, this seen as a replacement for cold calling and mass outreach efforts.

Social-selling is a structured but indirect way to generate more leads, not by coaxing your target customers to buy your products or services but making them aware of the benefits of opting for the same. The nudge is subtle, structured, and sustained, once you appear in the eye line of your prospect as someone worth connecting with.

If your sales team haven’t adopted social selling yet, you may well be missing out on a lot of potential customers.

Are you still wondering why to engage your salespeople in social selling?

Building Real-Time and Long-Term Relationships

Lead generation with social media helps your sales team make real-time relationships with clients, who have similar tastes and preferences. Most people these days avoid responding to cold calling and direct advertising, so this may be the safest way to generate new conversations that turn into leads. Your sales team can also use relevant social media tools to identify potential customers (or clients), who are already talking about the problems that you can help them solve, taking an interest in your industry, or your competitors, and use that information to connect with them at the right time.

Managing your Online Perception Easily

With social media, you can manage the perception of your brand more easily. You have the opportunity to add a focus on customer testimonials, reviews, and feedback. According to some estimates, 70-80% of buying decisions are influenced by online reviews. Try conducting a Google search on your sales team. What do you think will come up? Ask your sales folks to optimize their social profiles, so that such a search, when conducted by a potential buyer of your products (or services), showcases a positive outcome.

Generating Prospective Leads

As mentioned earlier, people are becoming more and more turned-off by banner ads and cold calls. They tend to place their faith more on businesses that engage, listen, and specifically cater to their needs. In short, they believe in real-time conversations rather than machinated advertisements. Therefore, if you wish to grow, you have to engage on a personal level with your potential clients or customers. You need to earn their trust before you can expect them to buy from you.

Creating a Loyal Customer Base

What about after someone has bought from you? Your social media presence can go a long way in establishing a relationship of trust with your potential customers, as well as existing ones. Social selling helps your sales team stay in touch with your existing customers, engage them, and take their feedback on board. Responding to queries, taking suggestions, apologizing for mishaps, making amendments for negative reviews, all help create involvement and engagement. If you listen to your customers, you have the opportunity to build a relationship. That could go a long way in helping retain customers in the long run.

So how do you go about adopting social selling?

  • Instruct your sales team to create and optimize their individual social media profiles, as well as your business profile
  • Define a clear social media communication strategy and messaging that everyone can follow in tone, focus, and direction.
  • Hire professional content writers to generate content that your sales team can use in their social selling campaigns
  • Stay active on LinkedIn, which is the biggest professional social media network out there and optimize your profile according to your image
  • Use your Twitter handle to follow the current social media trends in the industry and also make some useful connections
  • Hire a social media marketing agency, if possible, to take the load of keeping your social media strategies current, off your shoulders

Conclusion

Marketing and sales are, of course, incomplete without each other. If you lag in one, the other will fall. Ensure that you invest adequate time and resources to updating your social media marketing strategies and integrate that with your lead generation process. It’s the right, in fact, the only way to get ahead in this social age.

Choosing Between Creating an In-house Team, Hiring an Agency or a Freelancer for B2B Marketing

Photo by Raphael Schaller on Unsplash

“The only way to consistently grow in B2B is to be better than very good.” – Seth Godin

But, how can you be better than good with your existing B2B marketing strategies?

You have to always be on your A-game in your marketing department so that you do not lose ground to the competition. This involves cash -B2B companies invest about 25% of their budget in their marketing. The effort is also high – founders and CEOs worry themselves sick to come up with ideas that will improve the age-old ways of promoting their business on social media platforms.

The question arises,

Do you really need to spend that time and effort to market your business or you should hire someone with the expertise and experience to handle that department?

Given that you are a founder or the CEO of a company, you will have a lot on your plate. You do need help.

So, should you hire an in-house team? Or appoint a reliable social media agency to take care of your marketing endeavours? Nowadays, when telecommuting or remote working has become quite a trend, you could also opt for freelancers to manage specific elements of your B2B marketing.

This post may help you determine the best possible choice by carefully evaluating the pros and cons of each.

Creating an In-House Marketing Department

In many cases, creating an in-house marketing department to handle your B2B marketing needs seems to be the best possible option you have.

Why is it so?

The main reason for hiring an in-house marketing team is sustained accessibility. You can turn to them as and when you please, get updates regularly, issue suggestions and hold discussions without any difficulty. While these are the ready advantages of an in-house team, some of the cons of hiring one are given below:

  • Hiring expert marketers and building a team of skilled people requires a lot of time and investment.
  • You have to take care of their needs and demands, manage them, sustain them, and keep them challenged and engaged. Most importantly, you will have to keep them busy at all times.
  • The amount of financial investment will increase when you expand the team and include senior executives.
  • The cost will keep escalating as from time and again, you have to think about promotions and increments, especially if your team turns out to be the best and are successful in taking the business to the next level.
  • Hiring an in-house marketing team will increase the operating expenses.
  • Lastly, there’s no real guarantee that you will be able to hire the best in each functional area. That means your marketing efforts may end up being only as good as the weakest link.

If you think you can manage the time and financial investment of building your own marketing team, and that you will always have enough work to keep those dedicated people well and good! However, if you have your doubts, you can always hire the best social media marketing agency instead.

Hiring a Social Media Marketing Agency

Now, if you hire a social media agency, you will not have to deal with the issues highlighted above. You can tap into their specific areas of expertise, according to your unique B2B marketing requirements. You can take their help to define a robust strategy that includes the latest and most innovative methods. Once you agree on the way forward, you can leave the rest of the task to them. However, you do need to maintain a regular connect with the agency to keep track of progress.

The Pros

  • When you appoint a social media agency to take care of your B2B marketing needs, you will rest assured that your business is in expert hands.
  • If you think that a marketing agency is not being able to deliver according to your expectations, you can always opt for the next best one in the industry. It is way easier than dissolving your entire in-house marketing department to create a new one.
  • Most of the time, outsourcing your marketing endeavours results in pulling together a group of experienced people, who are experts in their fields and are capable of improving areas you may never have thought of.
  • No training is required to make them understand your needs. Their discovery processes will ensure they capture the most relevant information.
  • The best social media marketing agencies have the latest tools at their own disposal, which they will use while handling your B2B marketing

The Cons

  • You have to hunt down the best possible social media agency from among the various options available. It’s sometimes hard to know which agency has real skills and which is just talking a good game.
  • It may not always be possible to build a partner relationship within your budget.
  • You will need to give the agency some time to understand your specific needs as well as your market niche.
  • Accessibility becomes an issue at times when you need to make an urgent connection but you find that you are unable to reach your partner.

In the case of hiring a reliable social media agency to handle your company’s marketing responsibilities, the inherent benefits, of course, outweigh the cons if your need is to drive a contained but high-quality and sustained marketing strategy.

Hiring a Freelancer for Your B2B Marketing Needs

Most of the time, a company will hire a freelancer to handle specific elements of B2B marketing, if it is new and in no condition to invest realistically in promotion and marketing. Hiring freelancers is often more inexpensive than hiring a social media marketing agency. Generally, start-ups and mid-level organisations will opt for a freelancer, or a group of individuals working as freelancers, to handle their marketing needs -often to get things off the ground.

The Pros

  • The freelancers are always on their toes to impress you and get your feedback, which they may be able to use to expand their network.
  • They are way less expensive than reputable marketing agencies
  • In the case of a single freelancer, communication gets easier, as you have to contact only one person for all your needs.
  • If there is any issue, only one person will be accountable for the same, and amendment will be easier.

The Cons

  • Freelancers are not bound to anyone or any particular company. They have a number of clients to attend to, and you may not be their only focus area.
  • You cannot blame a freelancer entirely, as they have no contractual agreement with you. They are sometimes hard to pin down and it’s not unknown for freelancers to vanish halfway through the effort.
  • Communication can get difficult if the particular individual is unprofessional, ill-equipped or dishonest. They may only concentrate on taking your money without providing results.

Therefore, if you wish to hire a freelancer, you should do considerable background research on the person before letting him/her in on your marketing team. That will help you filter out cheats and frauds to some extent.

Conclusion

In short, the choice that you have to make solely depends on your business needs, and your budget. Of course, if marketing is strategic for your organisation, you should probably hire a social media agency to handle all business to business marketing needs of your company. In case you are an early-stage start-up, get a freelancer to work for your initial needs. However, if you believe that the volume of work will be large enough, you can create an in-house marketing team. It’s what works for you that matters!

The 5 Essential Traits Of A Specialist B2B Social Media Agency

This post is for you if you are responsible for delivering the big numbers in a B2B-focused company. Yes, you -the sales leaders, the marketing heads, and everyone who feels the pressure of carrying a sales target, either directly or indirectly.

Chances are that if pay heed to the data, you would almost certainly have altered your marketing mix over the last few years to add more content, more social channels, and more of everything digital. It’s also possible that after starting down this B2B Social Media path, you may have wondered if you have the people or the time, or the strategic depth to be able to do all this on your own. At times like this, you may start considering engaging a social media agency –that’s where this post may come in handy. This is my attempt to outline the 5 defining characteristics of a B2B specialist agency. This could help you determine if the agency pitching to you has serious B2B chops or not!

  1. Understanding of the sales process: A true B2B specialist agency must have a deep understanding of just how the B2B Sales process is different. These agencies know that this is more complex, involves more decision makers, takes much longer, and is driven by logic more than by emotion. Such a complex sales process demands a more complex content and social strategy. Can your agency under consideration convey how the strategy will change to address the nuances of the different decision makers and the various sales stages?
  2. Focus on business outcomes: Branding is important, no doubt about that, but the B2B specialist agency will almost certainly focus the conversation on delivering some other, more tangible business outcomes. They will talk about numbers, they will showcase the reports they generate, they will explain at length what they measure and how those measures are relevant to the specific business objectives you are driving for. They may surprise you by their interpretation of some traditional metrics. For eg., they may well claim that reach/impressions are more important than the number of fans or followers. They may focus more on the clicks going back to the website than on the number of “likes” and so on.
  3. Channel focus: Most in the B2B game now agree that LinkedIn is the most important channel, with Twitter to follow, and your agency would know that too. The real expertise lies beneath the surface. What experience do they have of working with LinkedIn groups? What stories do they have to tell of the impact their clients got from Linkedin groups? On Twitter, beyond RTs, what is their plan for engaging with Influencers? B2B Influencers are acknowledged experts in their space and it takes skill to build and nurture a relationship with them that is based on mutual trust and respect. Does your agency give a sense of knowing how to do that?
  4. Expertise in “professional” content: B2B content is just different. This is professional content consumed by professionals. The focus is on being informative, showing thought leadership, and projecting expertise. Different objectives demand different types of content written differently. No doubt the content has to be readable but in many ways the depth of the content is even more important than the language. Can the agency point to their work that is available online? I submit that samples have relevance only if they have made an impact in the real-world.
  5. The right evidence: The proof of the pudding is in the eating and that’s where references or testimonials come in. Most agencies can provide references on request but to my mind, not all references or testimonials are equal. Does your agency have references they can share from companies similar to yours? Again, like content samples, I submit that the best testimonials are those that are in the public domain. Do the clients of your agency under consideration care enough about them to say so to the whole world?

This is a new space with potentially vast opportunity and a number of agencies are making their play there. But being a specialist B2B social media agency is hard. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea and so choosing the right agency could make or break your own B2B Sales effort. I hope this post will help you make that choice. Or you could make it easy on yourself and just call Midas Touch Consultants.

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!