Top B2B Marketing Trends: Sales and Marketing Alignment, Personalization, Visual Content, Visuals and More!
We're all in this together!
Stop “aligning” sales and marketing, and become one team! In 2017 sales and marketing have to be fully integrated to both be able to send the right messages to buyers at the right stage of the funnel. Looking at both sales and marketing insights makes it easier to create more relevant, high-quality content and apply that content to every stage of the funnel. Start by sharing responsibilities and working towards common goals.
Goodbye Sales and Marketing "Alignment" - Hello Integration!
The most successful organizations will get rid of the separation of sales and marketing, and create one team where sales is marketing and marketing is sales. They are one and need to operate as one. Learn more about Sales and Marketing Integration vs. Alignment on hbr.org.
The Rise of Visual and Video Content
Visual content is going to be HUGE in 2017. According to this article by Forbes, the most common forms of visual content that will be used in 2017 will be video, infographics, and images in blogs and social posts. 4X as many consumers would prefer to watch a video about a product than to read about it. 76.5% of professional marketers and small- to medium-sized business owners say video marketing has had a direct impact on their business.
Sales for Life nails this trend, combining two forms of visual content: infographic and video. Check it out:
To learn more, visit the original Sales for Life blog post, "Social Sellers vs. Non-Social Sellers."
This highlights another major trend that involves both sales and marketing: social selling.
Social Selling is the usage of social media platforms to develop sales relationships and drive revenue. According to this SalesWings post, about "57% to 70% of the B2B buying process now happens without a sales person’s involvement." That's because with all the content available online, buyers now have the power to educate themselves about a product instead of relying on a salesperson for information. By the time sales gets involved, the buyer has already made up their mind and is ready to make the purchase. This transition of power from the sales rep to the buyer means it's up to sales to be more proactive and get involved in earlier stages of the sales cycle. Social selling is a great way to bridge that gap between sales and marketing, and enables sales to have more conversations.
Further reading, check out these posts by social selling expert, Koka Sexton:
B2B Influencers on Social Media
B2B marketers will continue partnering with influencers but will focus more on social channels like LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, etc.
To get started with personalization, first you need to tap into data-driven customer science. That means understanding how your customers, think, feel, act, engage, etc., and tailoring your campaigns to fit their needs. Businesses need to take a more customer-centric approach to marketing and sales Becoming more customer-centric the most relevant content to your audience members the way they want it, when they want it.
A/B Test Everything
To maximize video marketing ROI, use A/B testing to test different video titles, opening shots, blog pairings, target audiences, etc. In fact, you should be using A/B testing EVERYTHING to maximize ROI for ALL your marketing efforts. You need to be more data-driven in 2017 if you want to be successful in sales or marketing, period.