Unlocking Growth: Three Under-the-Radar B2B Marketing Trends for 2023 | Industry Insights | All MKC Content | ANA

Unlocking Growth: Three Under-the-Radar B2B Marketing Trends for 2023

By Den Kozlov

The old way of casting a wide net for leads to drive revenue doesn't work anymore. The "one-size-fits-all" marketing era? Gone. It's time to refresh the game plan.

The economic downturn isn't playing nice; it forces marketing and sales teams to look for new solutions quickly. Prioritizing revenue-oriented goals is the lifeblood of sustainable growth. In this cut-throat climate where ROI is king, here are the marketing trends that businesses should implement to keep growing.

Trend #1: Reinventing the alignment between sales and marketing for revenue-driven objectives

Why are we talking about reinventing something that's been largely talked about for years? Isn't it obvious that the two departments whose main objective is to drive revenue should work in perfect sync? Well yes, it is. But if you were to ask your sales reps right now whether they know the target audience of your marketing campaigns, would they know? Do both departments even realize that revenue is the metric they should measure their every effort against?

The main thing to keep in mind is that sales and marketing have the same key objectives and should focus on the same audiences. If a prospect reacts positively to some ad that marketers have launched, SDRs must know about it. If someone clicked a banner and checked a landing page, sales must act upon it right away. It's as simple as that.

So, how can you ensure that your marketing and sales cooperate in full transparency?

  1. Setting shared goals. Sales and marketing teams need to set shared goals and KPIs: pipeline generation, pipeline closure, and customer retention.
  2. Targeting the same audience simultaneously. The focus should shift from the outdated formula 'first marketing brings in prospects, then sales close the deals'. Instead of blindly targeting whomever, marketers should support sales by generating the pipeline and boosting engagement via relevant personalized ads.
  3. Promoting transparent communication. For better or worse, there's no better way to share information than by talking. So yeah, organize meet-ups, schedule sync calls, and just make sure sales and marketing talk to each other. For instance, we at Influ2 have established the leads day, where sales, sales development and marketing gather together to discuss the pipeline: accounts rolled out to the program, new opportunities generated by sales, and won/lost deals.
  4. Establishing a shared tech stack. Integrate your marketing and sales tools with each other. This way all valuable data will be effectively shared in real time.

Trend #2: Recognizing and embracing the power of B2B influencers

While it's true that influencer marketing has been long associated with the B2C segment, there's no denying that B2B buyers are also (kind of) people and they also get influenced by industry leaders.

If you want to sell cosmetics, you go to Kendall Jenner. If you want to sell software or services, you go to the Kendall Jenners of your niche. Most likely, they won't have hundreds of millions of followers and will be using LinkedIn instead of Instagram, but their audience will be highly engaged. And that is the key.

So, how do you choose the experts that your prospects listen to?

  1. Choose thought leaders that share the same vision as you. If influencers are not genuine in their endorsements, people will feel it immediately. That's why it's important to pick the influencers whose vision aligns with yours. Only their honest thoughts will foster trust and credibility with the audience.
  2. Build your partnership on reciprocity. The industry experts can possess valuable expertise in your niche that can and should influence your value messaging. Listen to what they have to say and use their opinion for content creation or even product vision.

At its core, B2B influencer marketing is not that different from B2C. As long as you maintain authenticity and avoid overly promotional messaging, people will catch up and see the true value of your offer.

Trend #3: Promoting customer retention as a powerful source of growth

As Jason Lemkin pointed out, up to 80% of growth should come from existing customers. The problem is that the two teams that are usually responsible for the retention, upsells, and cross-sells – customer success and sales – don't collaborate with marketing as they should.

That's where the circle closes. Everything comes back to consolidating your revenue departments. There 4 main pillars to it:

  1. Aligning your marketing, sales, AND customer success teams. By bringing customer success into this equation, you can make sure all departments understand that their goals and challenges are virtually the same. Everybody learns to focus on revenue-driven results rather than their department-specific disconnected KPIs.
  2. Sharing insights and data across all three departments. A retention strategy and, as a result, value messaging must be cohesive across all channels and touchpoints. For instance, marketers can pick up some catchy relevant phrasing from real conversations with customers while also ensuring the continuity of the brand story.
  3. Launching marketing campaigns for existing customers. Timely ads focusing on customers' unique needs and pain points can be a powerful tool for upselling and cross-selling. Imagine this: after you introduce new functionality, your customer starts seeing ads about it. After a few impressions, they click the banner sending your team a signal that they're finally interested. And that's the cue for customer success to send a message with a relevant offer.
  4. Encouraging brand advocacy. You can find genuine brand advocates among your customers by celebrating customer success stories and testimonials. Implement a referral program that rewards customers for bringing in new business, further contributing to company growth.

In Conclusion

GTM (Go-To-Market) teams need to start dancing together, not stepping on each other's toes. It's all about creating a seamless buyer journey for your prospects, from sharing the same audience, through relevant ads and convincing prospecting, to powerful endorsements from influencers and post-sale customer experience.

Now you might ask, "How do we get there?" Get your teams that care about revenue to talk, share insights, and swap ideas. Easier said than done, I know. Disrupting a system that delivers modest, yet reliable results can feel scary. But, when you trade the incessant back-and-forth of leads for a joint venture into account hunting, that's when you start bringing home the big feast. So, ready to mix things up a little?

The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.

Den Kozlov is the vice-president of growth at Influ2.