B2B’s changing business environment, changing customer expectations
Create a company marketing plan that responds to these challenges
Developing an effective marketing plan in the modern world is a big challenge for many B2B marketing areas. The variability of the environment in which B2B operates causes many planning elements to become obsolete from month to month. So what features does the marketing plan take into account?
Planning marketing activities requires a very flexible approach so that, based on the data and conclusions obtained, we correct our assumptions and prepare the next stages of the plan.
Therefore, in the main concept of the marketing plan, we propose to focus on the 6 months ahead. We will take the time to find out what is important at the moment and what we know today. This approach will allow us to conclude the effectiveness of action in a fairly short time. We will be able to take appropriate corrective action immediately and update our marketing plan to match the current market situation.
Marketing Plan – Main Goals
The goal of the plan is that the company’s marketing activities take into account the needs of customers and match the solutions held by the company. The result is to acquire marketing (MQL) and sales (SQL) leads.
Marketing plan elements should set goals for acquiring a specific number of leads. First of all, we need to determine what characteristics have customers whose contact we want to acquire. The various stages of the marketing plan proposed by BusinessWeb bring us closer to this goal.
Key elements of the B2B marketing plan
Your company’s marketing efforts should be based on the following steps:
- analysis of the current situation in the company in terms of b2b customer acquisition,
- analysis of customers and what customer profile is attractive to us,
- collect information about the perception of the company by customers,
- analysis of the company’s strengths and weaknesses in sales and marketing services
- setting targets related to the number of leads obtained,
- preparation of details of marketing activities that will provide the required number of leads.
Analysis of the current position in the company in the field of marketing communication and sales activities
The first element of our activities is to understand precisely what situation we are in as a company. Our task is to answer the questions:
- Who are our customers?
- What do we know about them today?
- What do they think about our company?
- How do they interact with our company?
- What action do we take against our offer today?
So our first step is to gather certain information about the behaviours and knowledge that our customers exhibit in connection with our company.
We may collect this information based on various activities. Conducting interviews with employees serving customers, interviews with sales departments or interviews with the customers themselves. We can also automate our research more by connecting specific tools to our website. Such tools include, for example:
- Hot Jar – with this tool, we will be able to observe customer behaviour on the site and analyse what they are watching, click on how they react to our content.
- HubSpot Sales Hub and CRM – we can collect data from the CRM system regarding the interests of customers with certain elements of our offer, reaction to content on the website, downloads of documents or reading offers sent to them by e-mail.
This approach allows us to draw major conclusions and insights about how audiences respond to the content we share. Is it attractive to them? Are there any issues in receiving content? Thus, we get better information about how a particular customer perceives us, where our strengths are and where we are weak.
A developing buyer persona, or who are the exact recipients of our services
If we have data on the current interaction of customers with our company, then we can proceed to a very important step related to the development of the person. Personas are fictitious people who have the characteristics of our real customers. This allows us to group information about potential customers with a few clearly defined people.
When creating a Buyer Persona, we focus on imagining a specific person representing a specific position, in a particular organization. This person has specific problems and needs arising from his or her role and the situation in which he or she finds himself.
If our person is a sales director and we create such a persona, several elements related to its analysis should be taken into account. First of all, what internal problems he has and what external problems he has. The external problem, in this case, will be, for example, the lack of employees on the market to work in sales, that is, some external factor over which we have no influence. An internal problem may be a lack of skills related to running sales teams or motivating employees.
Next, we need to analyse the needs of the person. What do they need in terms of our services? What possible solutions do we have as a company that meet these needs? With defined needs and solutions, we can see how our services and products lead to a persona avoiding failure or succeeding in achieving its goals.
When also analysing our persona, we need to take into account what concerns may prevent it from taking advantage of the offer. What can cause you not to be willing to use the services of our company and continue to cooperate with us?
There should be several such concerns on our list that we scrupulously need to work out. The next step is to identify proposals for solutions that will overcome the customer’s concerns. The developed solution proposals will thus become our benefits and strengths communicated within the offer.
For example, if the customer’s concern is the lack of our experience in his industry, we can give a benefit showing what projects with similar clients we have implemented and with which clients we have cooperated. As for the fear of the speed of our operation, we can show the benefits in the form of delivery time, reaction speed.
A fair and comprehensive definition of the list of concerns is very important. On the one hand, it allows you to realize and see the elements that cause the customer to not want to cooperate with us. On the other hand, it gives us the opportunity to develop arguments and a communication style that will allow us to overcome them and turn them into our strengths.
When constructing our persona, let us remember those equally important elements of its characteristics are demographic issues, experience with our company, a typical working day, the goals it wants to achieve and decision-making processes related to the use of our offer.
Achieving lead and customer acquisition goals
If we already have personas defined, we can start working towards our sales goals. All marketing activities that we want to plan as part of B2B processes are aimed at bringing new customers to the company. Therefore, we need to carefully plan the processes related to their acquisition.
If we know what revenue we want to achieve, what the average transaction values are, it will give us a potential number of customers. And so, with a given number of customers, we can calculate how many leads we need to acquire to finally lead to a certain number of customers.
For this purpose, we can use the lead calculator developed by BusinessWeb. It will allow you to accurately plan the number of potential leads needed to finally close the expected number of transactions/acquire a certain number of customers.
When planning activities related to determining the number of leads acquired, it should be taken into account that our entire sales process has a very big impact on how many leads will have to be delivered by the marketing department. All the effectiveness of sales activities depends on how good leads we get. How many leads have we been able to contact and how many of them have we moved on our sales path? How many of these conversations ended up actually sending the offer to the customer, and how many of these offers ended up signing them in the end?
Having calculated the number of leads needed, we can see how to choose marketing activities to get them in the calculated quantity. For example, if we need about 1,000 leads in lead acquisition activities during the year, we need about 1,000 of them during the year, then to meet our sales targets in the form of closed transactions, we need to specify in the sales conversion plans what the amount of traffic on our website should be.
In some cases, looking at % of conversions, we may need up to a dozen or tens of thousands of visits to the website to obtain the right number of leads and consequently to close the assumed number of transactions.
Plan marketing activities that affect the acquisition of the right number of leads
So, with calculations on the number of leads, we can move on to the next step related to how to plan individual marketing activities. In the marketing plan that we are going to create, we should associate this activity with the goals of acquiring customers.
The marketing plan should include a look at three levels in customers’ awareness in the purchasing process:
- TOFU level, or top of the funnel – the phase of building customer awareness,
- MOFU level, middle of the funnel – phase of selecting, comparing solutions, thinking about offers
- BOFU level, or bottom of the funnel – a phase characterized by the customer’s willingness to make a purchasing decision. At this stage, the customer is looking for a specific company that will provide him with the solution of his choice.
To better plan marketing activities, in the first step, we should focus on planning content in the form of blog articles, sales materials that will work for us at different stages of contact with our potential customers. In this case, it is worth using an additional tool offered by BusinessWeb, which is a template for creating content pillars. It has detailed information on how to prepare different types of information and content to get more leads.
We also need to plan all kinds of advertising campaigns using google ads, Facebook Ads, as well as social media activities, social media profiles, types of published content and social selling using e.g. google ads. LinkedIn and processes that are related to direct sales.
Use Hubspot Marketing Hub tools to increase the effectiveness of B2B marketing efforts
With knowledge of customers and our sales goals, we can construct an effective marketing action plan for the coming months. Since our plan contains a lot of details about the types of activities, blog articles, ads, types of mailings, it will be easier to prepare a plan for a shorter period of time, even 6 months.
The measure of the effectiveness of our marketing plan is its detail and adaptation to the current situation, not the period that covers its activities. Therefore, the more precisely we define the plan of the upcoming activities and their monitoring, the closer we will get to achieving the sales goals set at the very beginning.
To effectively control the activities and results of internet marketing, it is worth using various types of marketing support tools. One such tool could be the HubSpot Marketing Hub, which will allow us to guide in one place all activities related to what we have set up in our marketing plan.
We can also monitor and report the effectiveness of all activities at the level of individual advertising campaigns or keywords. With HubSpot Marketing Hub, we’ll know what returns we generate from each keyword, how many contacts we’ve closed as a result of our actions, and how much revenue we’ve made from each marketing activity.