In the B2B market, most of the buyer’s journey is now done online: for 70% of professional buyers, the orientation phase is now digital.
In addition, they are increasingly using their smartphones for research. It is certainly a trend to watch even for B2B.
As a marketer, how do you cope with these rapid changes?
The answer: inbound marketing.
Inbound marketing offers B2B companies very powerful opportunities to build a serious relationship with potential customers.
First, we will discuss the benefits of inbound marketing and then we will see the essential steps to develop a successful strategy.
The advantages of inbound marketing
Here are the 4 main benefits of inbound marketing:
- This provides a continuous flow of leads.
- You get more information about leads during the buying cycle.
- You create/strengthen your brand image.
- Optimize the lead acquisition phase from data analysis.
It is easy to be misled if you are looking for information on inbound marketing.
Inbound marketing is not really synonymous with content marketing, emailing or marketing automation.
We cannot talk about an inbound marketing strategy until all these elements have been combined into one clear process.
In order to effectively implement this inbound strategy, you need to reverse your thinking.
It’s not about what message you’re going to get across, but what information can really help the visitor of your site during its purchasing cycle.
This marketing strategy really focuses on the needs of your future client.
A clear inbound marketing strategy 5 steps
Where to start?
The most important prerequisite for success is step 1: alignment of its marketing and sales strategy.
1. Make sure you have the required expertise in your team
In this first step, you will have to make sure that you have all the necessary skills to develop your inbound marketing strategy.
Ideally, you should have the certain technical knowledge to connect different tools together. (For example, Hubspot – SalesForce – Clearbit)
Then then, make sure you have the more general marketing skills namely preparing different lead nurturing scenarios, different versions of your emailing, or even scoring your leads for example.
Inbound marketers mainly need to have a strong strategic vision, a certain appetite for data analysis and content creation.
These skills are needed to start working on buyer personas, content strategy, content creation, and a marketing automation process.
Sales and marketing will need to work more closely together so marketers can send “hot leads” to sales reps at the best time, and ensure sales reps reach and qualify leads quickly.
2. Define buyers personas
Who are your future customers and what are they looking for?
What do they base their choice of supplier and their final decision on?
The success of your inbound marketing strategy relies on a good definition and development of buyers’ personas.
A buyer persona or buyer profile is a detailed profile of a sample of customers based on their behavior and goals.
Each client has needs, motivations, frustrations, expectations, etc. that are specific to it.
Depending on the personality of the buyer, you can decide which questions a certain type of customer should answer and which questions you should answer in order to help them in their buying cycle.
3. Develop a solid content strategy
The central element of inbound marketing is meeting the (information) needs of a prospect during their buying journey.
Every persona needs relevant content to respond to associated frustrations.
Make sure that at every touchpoint on their journey, prospects can find highly relevant content on your site that meets their needs at that precise moment.
This will allow you to establish a rapport with your brand and you can create leading brand awareness for your business from the start of the orientation phase. To do this, you need to develop a content strategy based on your personas.
Tip: How do you reach your prospect at the perfect time?
- Develop an SEO strategy that responds to the frustrations of your personas
- Develop emailing campaigns targeted by personas
4. Set up a marketing automation system
Oh no! Setting up a marketing automation system is not the first step.
In fact, it is quite the opposite. My advice is to first set up an inbound marketing strategy so that you can better choose the right automation to put in place.
A marketing automation process allows you to track, maintain and manage all interactions a lead has with your brand/site.
The system collects a set of data that you will need to analyze to optimize your strategy. In addition, marketing automation will save time and easily centralize your data.
A good analysis of this data can be used to optimize the process / your funnels for get the best possible ROI.
5. Prioritize data management and analysis
This is the last (big) challenge for your marketing department.
Collecting data is easy, sorting data is complicated, but the analysis is even more so!
Data-driven marketing is the future, including for B2B companies.
This is why we can see a multitude of new tracking and data analysis tools emerging in recent years.
Businesses accumulate large amounts of data on marketing actions taken, actions of site visitors, purchases, and customer demographics.
To enable your business to grow with this impressive amount of data, you need to focus on the organization of the data and the technologies used.
This requires a strong data-driven vision at the scale of the company.