What lies ahead

Author: 
Paul Nolan

A new year means a new calendar, and new trends to incorporate into your go-to-market strategy.

Forecasting, it is said, is the art of saying what will happen, and then explaining why it didn’t. It may be a fool’s errand to predict what B2B marketing strategies will emerge in 2019, but trendwatching is an important skill for business leaders across all industries.

The following ideas about important marketing trends conjure up a Tom Peters quote: “Test fast, fail fast, adjust fast.”

Automate for efficiency

B2B industries already automate a range of processes in order to streamline workloads and increase productivity to great success — and you should too, says Kayleigh Alexandra, a content writer for Micro Startups, a site dedicated to spreading the word about startups and small businesses.

As social media becomes more and more vital in B2B, social marketing automation tools like Edgar are becoming commonplace — allowing teams to multiply their marketing efforts from a variety of locations around the globe.

B2B email also benefits from widespread automation. You will want to create sophisticated email funnels and triggers that make the most of dynamic data and personalization. And you don’t need to be enterprise-level to make this work: using email automation software such as Moosend makes this an affordable, highly scalable tactic that is vital for growing your business in 2019.

Conversational selling

Speaking of efficiency, one-to-one sales conversations are valuable, but they’re not scalable. With the widespread use of technologies such as live chat and messaging apps (e.g., Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp), businesses can apply conversational selling strategies at scale without spending an arm and a leg on hiring a large sales team, says Ling Wong, an independent consultant on content experience design, inbound strategies, transformative storytelling and copywriting.

With conversational selling, you can attract visitors to your website, convert them to leads, follow up on previous interactions, nurture relationships with targeted content, connect prospects with your sales team when the time is right, and improve customer retention by adding value or providing timely product support.

The key to successful conversational selling is to make sure the interactions are relevant and contextual by providing your prospects and customers with the most helpful information in real time.

To effectively personalize these conversations, Wong says you need a robust customer data management platform that allows your team to access all customer data in one centralized location. By combining information such as customers’ purchase histories and preferences with real-time interactions, you can deliver the most relevant experience to each individual buyer and increase conversion.

Video soars

It’s not exactly a new element of B2B digital marketing, but the numbers are staggering, says Amanda Foushee, a demand generation associate at Marsden Marketing. Check out these stats on video marketing from Forbes:

  • Video is projected to claim more than 80 percent of all web traffic by 2019.
  • Adding a video to marketing emails can boost click-through rates by 200 to 300 percent.
  • Ninety percent of customers report that product videos help them make purchasing decisions.
  • 64 percent of customers are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video about it.

Video can also make an incredible difference for sales teams, adds Foushee. Using video, especially video with personalization, is shown to help sales reps boost response rates, accelerate pipeline, and close more business. Even if you’ve adopted video as a key component of your marketing strategy, look to see how you can incorporate it into sales prospecting cycles.  

Our online archive of Closers features includes interviews with Daniel Pink, Samuel Adams founder Jim Koch and behavioral economist Dan Ariely. Visit SalesandMarketing.com/Closers.