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The software and tech industry continues to expand thanks to new innovations aimed towards businesses as well as consumers. For sure there has always been an increasing demand for better software products. This has been made evident by the fact that across the globe, IT spending has increased for the better part of 2017.

According to Statista, the industry has reached $35 billion in revenue. And this has been influenced by new innovations in analytics as well as automation. Added to this the continuing dominance of cloud computing over the need to streamline crucial business operations. In the very same way, artificial intelligence and enterprise software products are being sought to help simplify complex business activities such as marketing and revenue tracking.

Related: Cloudy with a Chance of Fog: A Quick Cloud Computing Update

For the most part, software leaders are tapping into wellsprings for growth, but this shouldn’t encourage startups to remain where they are in the face of rising competition. In fact, there’s a lot for startups to do in order to build their brands and get a better position in their respective markets, whether it’s software-as-a-service or business analytics.

For that reason, we have prepared a nifty guide that will help get things going for your tech startup.

#1 Emphasize cybersecurity

Nothing convinces a business more into buying a certain tech offer than knowing a certain product emphasizes security. As cyber threats have become more sophisticated, businesses now require their IT infrastructure to be safe from unwanted access or just about anything that has the potential to paralyze a business. In this sense, businesses at present have a well-defined profile of the software products they want to purchase and chief of these considerations is the assurance that they are protected from certain risks.

For that reason, you should be able to outline the issue of cybersecurity effectively and frame it in line with your client’s specific requirements. Being able to do so will help you foster better partnerships that will add to your brand’s credibility.

#2 Attract VCs

Venture capitalists continue to be a prominent source of support for startups wanting to increase their clout. Deloitte notes that venture capital is fueling growth in crucial sectors such as artificial intelligence. With that said, it is best for startups to consider attracting venture capital as a means to develop their services and better engage their target clients.

In order to make this possible, startups should begin by improving their internal processes. An IT startup that performs well is more likely to attract big players in the tech market, so it makes a lot of sense for these startups to emphasize the need for skills as a means to make themselves visible to willing investors.

Related: 10 Affordable Marketing Ideas for Software Startups

#3 Collaborate with the competition

It might sound unusual, especially within tech circles where everyone is at each other’s throats. But if you opt for your startup to survive its first few weeks, you will have to rub elbows with strange bedfellows. Look at it as a strategic partnership where you get to pool your resources and make your enterprises self-sustaining.

#4 Market across the board

When marketing your software products, it’s one thing to rely on social media, and it’s another to consider other channels of engagement. Social media marketing is good and all, but you still have to expand your efforts towards other avenues such as landing pages and email. When it comes right down to generating high-quality software and tech leads, you will have to craft better content that allows you to entice your clients as much as inform of them of the things that matter the most.

Related: The 5 Success Factors of Multi-Channel Marketing Revealed [INFOGRAPHIC]

#5 Share your expertise

Influencer marketing is everything when your aim is to get everyone to notice your brand. If you have certain ideas or insights that are crucial to your target market, use your blog to air them out. Better yet, you can also consider guest posting on websites and blogs that enjoy greater authority.

Related: Six Digital Marketing Trends Worth Paying Attention to in 2018

#6 Take time to study  the market

As always, there’s no such thing as a business strategy that has been generated from nothing. You have to look into potential opportunities in your respective markets and come up with the right strategies that will effectively address them. This way, you won’t have to waste precious resources trying to figure what to do with what you currently have.

Related: 150+ B2B Tech Marketing Stats to Help You Plan for 2018 [Free eBook]

Read the latest updates on The Savvy Marketer’s Blog

Get Software Leads or Learn more about Callbox Multi-Channel Marketing Strategy

Contact us or Dial 888.810.7464

Grab a copy of our FREE EBOOK, The Ultimate Lead Generation Kit Ebook! Updated with links to the best and latest techniques that will help generate quality sales leads for your business

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The post Expanding your Software Products and Services: A Field Guide for Startups appeared first on Callboxinc.com - B2B Lead Generation Company.

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Callbox’s 2018 event calendar kicks off with this year’s much-awaited LeadsCon conference, which takes place March 5 to 7in Las Vegas.

LeadsCon Las Vegas is the first leg in a two-part series of yearly expos that focus on customer acquisition and conversion strategies. The 3-day event, scheduled for March 5 to 7, 2018 at The Paris Las Vegas, bills itself as “the performance marketing conference”—and for good reasons, too.

This year’s LeadsCon Las Vegas features more than 90 speakers from tech, financial services, and other B2B verticals, representing companies like Uber, Facebook, The Lending Tree, Spring Venture Group, etc. Key activities include hands-on workshops on content marketing, SEO, and partnership marketing, while presentations cover titles such as:

  • TCPA Industry Alert
  • Paradigm Shift: Signal is the New Lead
  • Using People-Based Measurement for Real Business Outcomes
  • Get a Second Chance to Make a First Impression with Email Retargeting
  • From Likes to Leads—Leveraging Facebook Lead Ads for Customer Acquisition
  • Less Leads, More Lifetime Value: Think Like a Digital Economist
  • Small Data: The Key to Call Tracking and Cracking the Code of Offline Conversions

Callbox has always been open to learning about tools and tactics that help the company improve its services. That’s why we always make it a point to join marketing conferences like LeadsCon. What we’ll pick up at the 3-day show will surely drive better results not only for the Callbox Team but for our customers as well.

So, if you’re also headed to LeadsCon Las Vegas 2018, we’d love to meet up with you there.

Join the Callbox Team on LeadsCon Las Vegas

We can’t wait to meet and connect with you. Schedule our meetup, click the banner below!

Grab a copy of our FREE EBOOK, The Ultimate Lead Generation Kit Ebook! Updated with links to the best and latest techniques that will help generate quality sales leads for your business

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The post Callbox Team Readies Up for LeadsCon Las Vegas 2018 appeared first on Callboxinc.com - B2B Lead Generation Company.

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1 in 5 commercial emails sent never reaches the inbox.

  • 6% end up in the spam folder
  • 14% are blocked by ISPs entirely.

For cold emails, inbox placement becomes even more challenging.

That’s because…

  • You don’t have a relationship with your recipient yet.
  • You’re sending unsolicited messages.

But this doesn’t mean cold emails are spam.

That’s why they belong to the inbox, not the junk folder.

Follow these steps to make sure things stay that way…

8 Ways 2017 Will Shape Your 2018 Email Marketing Campaigns

Step 1: Scrub your list thoroughly

Your cold outreach’s success depends on the quality of your list.

  • Use list cleaning tools and services to remove bad addresses
  • Run a double opt-in campaign, especially when using a third-party list

Related: Declare Your Independence from Bad Data: A 5-Step Plan

Step 2: Check your copy for spam triggers

Your email’s content and design can set off spam alerts in dozens of ways.

  • Limit your use of known spam words
  • Maintain a 60-40 text-to-image ratio
  • Link exclusively to reputable domains

Related: Dissecting the World’s First Spam Email: 5 Timeless Lessons We Learned

Step 3: Segment and personalize your campaign

In the eyes of ISPs, there’s a fine line between non-personalized bulk emails and spam.

  • Add some prospect-specific snippets to your email templates
  • Segment your list and customize the message for each group

Related: Say no to Spam! Ways to Avoid Putting your Email Marketing Campaign to the Dumpsite

Step 4: Let ISPs know you’re someone they can trust

Sender authentication tools and services can help you improve deliverability.

  • Setup SPF, DKIM, and DMARC anti-spoofing
  • Sign up for sender and email certification audits
Step 5: Watch how you use your sending IP

Once your sending IP and domain get blacklisted, your emails no longer reach recipients.

  • Send emails in small batches each day and gradually increase the volume
  • Use a dedicated IP for your sending server
  • Keep hard bounces below 5% and spam reports below 0.1%

Remember, cold emails are not spam unless you make them that way.

Related: The Only Guide to Email Marketing Analytics You’ll Ever Need

Read the latest updates on The Savvy Marketer’s Blog

Get a targeted list or Learn more about Callbox Multi-Channel Marketing Strategy

Contact us or Dial 888.810.7464

Grab a FREE copy of 40 B2B Sales Email Templates for Every Situation! These 40 examples have all been hand-picked from a variety of sources that tested these templates in terms of opens, click-throughs, and replies

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The post How to Make Sure Your Cold Emails Make it to the Inbox [VIDEO] appeared first on Callboxinc.com - B2B Lead Generation Company.

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Gartner’s latest Hype Cycle for cloud computing shows the technology has now reached the Slope of Enlightenment stage. That means the Cloud has already drifted past the first three hype levels—Innovation Trigger, Peak of Inflated Expectations, and Trough of Disillusionment—and is steadily climbing toward the Plateau of Productivity phase. It’s about time, too. Today, the Cloud ranks among the most disruptive and groundbreaking IT innovations ever.

A little over 10 years ago, cloud computing started life as a buzzword for server virtualization. Back then, slapping the word “cloud” onto anything that resembled shared hosting, colocation, or other service-based IT solutions allowed vendors to tout decades-old products as newfangled innovations. This raised a lot of confusion around the technology, and it wasn’t until 2010 when Gartner published the IaaS Magic Quadrant that the skies finally started to clear (so to speak) for cloud computing.

Fast forward to 2018, and the Cloud has evolved into a must-have business technology. Almost all companies (regardless of size, industry, or location) now rely on the Cloud for a broad spectrum of business needs—from SaaS-based versions of legacy apps to IaaS-deployed strategic enterprise-level systems.

Much of this change stems from the continued expansion of use cases for cloud computing beyond cost-savings and productivity gains. Practically all the major IT innovations in the recent two years (such as the blockchain, AI, quantum computing, etc.,) owe much of their existence to the Cloud.

That’s why keeping up with the Cloud’s rapid evolution can be daunting. In today’s post, we’ll check in on the current state of cloud computing and look at the changes at different angles, from overall trends all the way to industry-specific usage and adoption.

Related: 5 Steps to Future-Proof Your Go-to Market Strategy for Cloud Services

A View Above the Cloud Tops

Let’s first take a 30,000-foot view of what’s going on right now in cloud computing. There’s a lot happening, but we’ll just focus on what’s really driving the changes.

Growth in Cloud Computing

Although figures for the size and growth rate of the global cloud computing market vary from one research firm to another, the numbers all point to one thing: the Cloud continues to get bigger at a faster rate.

Gartner predicts that by the end of 2017, total worldwide revenues from public cloud computing will grow by 18% from the previous year’s figure to $247 billion. Meanwhile, IDC puts the current size of the public cloud market at $122 billion with a growth rate of 24% year-on-year.

Taking a longer-term view, Forrester forecasts that the public Cloud will reach $236 billion in 2020, while Bane and Co. places this figure at $390 billion. Gartner sees cloud computing’s market size growing to over $411 billion by 2020.

The Cloud Wars

A handful of large companies control a huge chunk of the different public cloud segments. These powerhouses have dominated the Cloud for several years now and are still expanding at phenomenal rates—at the expense of non-cloud IT companies and other smaller cloud providers.

Forrester reports that in 2018, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google, and Microsoft will capture 76% of the platform cloud market, a number which will grow to 80% in 2020.

In a recent article, Forbes points out that IBM is also firmly engaged in the Cloud Wars as the company recorded revenue numbers that firmly put it in third place behind Microsoft and Amazon. In addition, Goldman Sachs analyst Heather Bellini believes that Alibaba (alongside Amazon, Microsoft, and Google) will also become a cloud market leader.

The Key Overall Trends

For the overall cloud market, a few underlying trends drive much of the evolution we’re seeing. Most industry sources, such as Forrester’s 2018 Cloud Predictions report, say that the main developments reshaping the Cloud include:

  • Market consolidation among a few providers (as we’ve seen earlier)
  • The shift by SaaS companies toward platforms in place of apps (ecosystems rather than functionality).
  • Kubernetes becoming the de facto container orchestration platform of choice
  • Surge in private and hybrid cloud usage and spending
  • Accelerated adoption of AI-powered analytics
  • Growth in next-generation cloud storage, edge computing, serverless platforms, and other recent innovations

We’ll go into some of these points in greater detail later.

Peeling Back the Cloud, Layer by Layer

For this section, we’ll zoom in a little bit and find out what’s brewing in each of the Cloud’s three main segments. While the overall Cloud market size shows a healthy pace of expansion, growth doesn’t appear to be evenly distributed between IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS.

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)

Latest research from IDC shows that the IaaS segment now accounts for 17.8% of the public cloud market (the second biggest among the three categories) with a year-on-year growth rate of 38.1% (the second fastest among the three). These figures point to the IaaS segment’s accelerating growth, especially when taking into account the 31% expansion rate reported by Gartner for the prior year.

According to IDC, a huge portion of this segment’s continued growth comes from strong enterprise demand and sustained investments by providers in this space. This, in turn, drives the increase in the “range and granularity” of IaaS offerings, resulting in wider adoption. For example, new releases like Azure Stack and VMware Cloud on AWS have lowered the barrier to implementation for a lot of enterprise customers in need of hybrid cloud setups. Network World outlines these growth drivers as follows:

  • Mass enterprise adoption (60% of enterprise workloads will be off-premises by 2018)
  • Cloud-based machine learning and AI (tools like Google’s TensorFlow)
  • Hybrid cloud (the public cloud on-ramp)
  • Cloud usage management tools (VM usage, capacity planning, access controls, etc.)
  • Data center proliferation (increase data center build-outs in different parts of the world)

Amazon continues to dominate the public IaaS sector with a 44.2% market share, followed by Microsoft (7.1%), Alibaba (3%), and Google (2.3%).

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)

The PaaS segment holds the smallest market size among the three cloud computing categories but outpaces the other service areas in terms of growth. IDC estimates that PaaS makes up 13.6% of the worldwide public cloud market with a growth rate of 50.2% year-on-year.

Thanks to its reputation as a secure and scalable enterprise application development platform, the PaaS segment will continue to see strong double-digit growth in the near future, according to Gartner. Meanwhile, IDC points to the rapid adoption of container technology as the main driver of the segment’s current expansion, along with the following trends (identified by GIA Research):

  • Higher usage of containers in production environments
  • Adoption of cloud computing among application-independent software vendors (ISVs)
  • Opportunities in the application infrastructure & middleware market
  • Growing focus on cloud integration
  • Big data and data integration

Synergy Research cites Amazon as the clear leader in the PaaS segment with a market share of 40%, which is larger than the next three players (Microsoft, Google, and IBM) combined.

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

According to IDC, Nearly 69% of the global public cloud market belongs to the SaaS segment. But with the ready availability of thousands of SaaS applications from thousands of SaaS vendors (both tech giants and startups) and the segment’s relative maturity, there’s now some level of commoditization sweeping across the SaaS sector. While this service area still sees some strong two-digit growth (about 23% by IDC’s recent count), it actually has the slowest rate of expansion in the Cloud space.

Still, SaaS remains a prime area for growth and disruption as businesses continue moving apps off-premises in droves, and as more organizations consider migrating larger, business-critical tools (like ERP, SCM and other strategic systems) to the Cloud. Most innovations we’re seeing in SaaS today revolve around the following key trends:

  • Industry-specific specialization through vertical SaaS
  • PaaS capabilities to let customer build on top of existing apps
  • Growing need for APIs and SDKs to integrate SaaS apps with legacy business systems
  • Increased competition leading to micro-SaaS (niche) players
  • SMBs’ rising demand for CRM, business analytics, and storage solutions

Recent data from Synergy Research indicates that Microsoft leads the enterprise SaaS market, followed by Salesforce, Adobe, Oracle, and SAP.

Related: Answering Quora: Who are the best SaaS Marketing Agencies in the US, and UK?

Keeping the Cloud Aloft

Most businesses now follow a cloud-first approach in their IT strategy. That’s why spending on hosted/cloud services currently takes up a bigger share of the IT budget and has become the fastest-growing IT expenditure item for most organizations.

Cloud Usage and Adoption

The Cloud is seeing increased usage and adoption rates among businesses across the board. But the numbers vary according to business size, cloud architecture (public vs. private. Vs. hybrid), and cloud segment. RightScale’s State of the Cloud Report shows some very telling cloud adoption/usage trends:

  • SMB companies run 79% of workloads in the Cloud (41% in public cloud and 38% in private cloud).
  • Large enterprises run 75% of workloads in the Cloud (32% in public cloud and 43% in private cloud)
  • Cloud users are running applications in an average of 1.8 public clouds and 2.3 private clouds.
  • 85% of enterprises have a multi-cloud strategy (a combination of public and private cloud architectures).
  • Barriers to cloud adoption (e.g., expertise, security, budget, etc.) are becoming lower.

Another survey, Building Trust in a Cloudy Sky: The State of Cloud Adoption and Security from Intel Security offers up the following highlights:

  • Hybrid cloud adoption increased 3-fold in 2017, from 19% to 57%.
  • 73% of companies are planning to move to a fully software-defined data center within 2 years.
  • 49% of businesses blame security skills gap as the top barrier to cloud deployment.
  • Public cloud adoption rates are highest among services companies (28%), while private cloud adoption is highest for engineering (30%) and government organizations (29%).
  • 83% of organizations are actively using containers.

A survey by North Bridge Venture Partners and Gigaom Research records the following adoption rates per cloud segment: 74% for SaaS, 56% for IaaS, and 41% for PaaS.

Spending on Cloud Services

With their usage and adoption of cloud services growing, companies are setting and spending a bigger chunk of the IT budget on cloud computing. In their recent report 2018 State of IT: Trends, Budgets, and Purchase Drivers, Spiceworks notes the following budget trends for cloud services:

  • Companies allocate 21% of their 2018 IT budget for cloud services.
  • Cloud computing is the fastest-growing budget item in the IT budget.
  • Bigger companies are more likely to increase their cloud budget than smaller organizations.
  • A breakdown of cloud budget includes: backup/recovery (15%), productivity (10%), business support apps (6%), industry-specific apps (6%), security (6%), IaaS (6%), cloud storage (6%), PaaS (4%).

IDC’s research on worldwide public cloud spending notes the following key findings:

  • SaaS accounts for more than two-thirds of public cloud spending, but spending on IaaS and PaaS grows faster.
  • Over a third of total public cloud spending comes from the discrete manufacturing, professional services, and banking industries.
  • Nearly half of all public cloud spending comes from large companies, while medium-sized organizations’ cloud spending makes up 20% of the total.
  • The U.S. drives 60% of total global public cloud revenues.

Related: Marketing: How to Convince Prospects to Move to the Cloud

A Tour of Cloud-swept Industries

Let’s now take a look at developments in cloud computing for specific industries. While the Cloud transforms every single sector in the global economy, we’ll simply focus on the financial services, healthcare, and manufacturing verticals for this post. That’s because these three sectors are among the industries which will be massively impacted by the Cloud, according to a 2016 Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) study.

Financial Services

In a heavily-regulated industry like the financial services sector, compliance is a huge factor that determines how quickly firms in the sector adopt new technologies like the Cloud. With highly sensitive data involved, security and privacy also rank high on the list of barriers to implementation.

Now, as more and more cloud providers tailor their offerings to meet the industry’s needs, many financial services firms are moving their applications to the public cloud. Deloitte Insights points to a number of developments that helped increase cloud adoption and usage in the financial services industry:

  • Improved data security and privacy capabilities
  • Narrowing gaps in skills and expertise
  • Lesser apprehensions about vendor lock-in
  • Willingness to reengineer internal processes and workflows

As a result, two key trends now shape how the Cloud impacts this sector. The first is the adoption of cloud-based applications for back-office and customer-facing internal systems. The second is the emergence of FinTech solutions that provide cloud-enabled apps and software for delivery of financial services.

Healthcare

Similar to financial services, the healthcare sector has notoriously been slow to adopt cloud technology because of serious compliance concerns and data security issues. For some time after other industries started moving to the public cloud in earnest, healthcare’s cloud adoption rates remained among the lowest.

But now, healthcare organizations’ attitude toward the public cloud has dramatically changed—as cloud providers start widely using tools like end-to-end data encryption, access management services, HIPAA-compliant protocols, and personal health information protection agreements.

According to the Healthcare Information Management Society (HIMS), more than 80% of healthcare IT organizations use some form of cloud computing. The sector is projected to see double-digit growth in cloud spending, which is expected to reach more than $20 billion this year. The EIU outlines a few cloud computing use cases in the healthcare industry as follows:

  • Remote diagnostics and treatment
  • Supporting preventative care
  • Improving treatment outcomes
  • Point-of-care access to medical data
  • Development of mobile and IoT ecosystems
Manufacturing

Cloud computing had also been slow to take off in the manufacturing space. According to the EIU, this largely stemmed from the intrinsic complexity of manufacturing processes (i.e., the need to embed cloud computing into a physical system). This kept switching costs and barriers to adoption very high for most manufacturers that moving away from legacy IT systems wasn’t a viable option.

Today, however, manufacturers are heavily investing in cloud-based IT platforms like IoT integration, greatly expanding the industry’s cloud adoption and usage. Figures from the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) show that the doubling in manufacturers’ IT expenditures reflect increased spending on cloud-based software, storage, and design, as well as customer-facing and back-office systems.

An IDC survey of manufacturing firms supports this finding and reveals a clear uptrend in the industry’s reliance on cloud computing:

  • 66% of respondents use a public cloud implementation of 2 or more applications, while 68% use a private cloud.
  • Respondents also plan to increase the Cloud’s share in the annual IT budget by 27% for 2017.
  • Cloud-based services will make up almost 50% of organization-level software usage among manufacturers by 2023.

The EIU also reveals several key areas where the Cloud plays a big role in manufacturing: production processes, supply chain management, design and prototyping, and inventory/order/distribution management.

Related: Sales and Marketing Basics for the Cloud Crowd

The Cloudy Skies Ahead

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On average, seasoned reps get past gatekeepers only 13% of the time.
For newcomers, that number goes down to 1%.

With the 4 proven sales call best practices in this video,
you’ll be able to reach prospects every time you dial.

But first, let’s understand what gatekeepers really do.

When gatekeepers screen out calls,
they’re really just doing two things:

  1. Keeping the wrong person away from the boss
  2. Letting the right person reach the boss

Clearly, you want to find yourself in the second scenario.

Here are 4 ways to make this happen…

#1 Get yourself referred

The top 2 reasons why executives meet with sales reps are:

  1. Referrals from people in their companies
  2. Referrals from trusted external sources

So, leverage your network and ask for an introduction.

#2 Connect with the prospect before calling

Avoid gatekeepers by making prospects expect your call

  • Send a short intro email
  • Ask for industry-specific advice via LinkedIn or Twitter

The point is to build a relationship well before dialing.

Related: 5 Winning Sales Cadence Examples (and Lessons to Draw from Them)

#3 Mention something you learned about the prospect

Show gatekeepers you’re someone who knows about the prospect

  • Point out a recent award, published post, or announcement by the decision-maker
  • Explain how your call relates to the prospect’s role

The idea is to avoid sounding like you just called out of nowhere.

Related: Why Customer Profiling Could be the Best Investment your Company Makes

#4 Stay in charge but be diplomatic

Keep in mind that the person who asks the questions controls the call

  • Always redirect with a question
  • Resist the itch to pitch

Gatekeepers don’t have the authority to approve your offer, so stay firmly in control.

Now, try these 4 ideas out on your next sales call.

Related: Things to Do When Dealing With A B2B Prospect that’s Difficult to Reach

Read the latest updates on The Savvy Marketer’s Blog

Get a targeted sales leads or a sample sales and telemarketing script

Contact us or Dial 888.810.7464

Grab a copy of our FREE EBOOK, The Ultimate Lead Generation Kit Ebook! Updated with links to the best and latest techniques that will help generate quality sales leads for your business

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Meeting a potential customer in person for the first time is a lot like going on a first date. After coming across each other online and a lengthy back-and-forth through emails, calls, chat and social media, both you and the prospect finally decide to meet face-to-face to see if it makes sense to take your relationship to the next level.

Like dating, in-person sales meetings involve a delicate balancing act of rules, norms, and customs. In fact, a lot of the best practices we follow in the world of dating also apply to the way we prepare and carry out face-to-face sales meetings. Here’s a neat little infographic that shows a few of these lessons.

Face-to-face meetings remain one of the best channels to nurture opportunities and to turn them into customers. A 2017 Harvard Business Review article says face-to-face requests are 34% more successful than emails.

That’s why, this Valentine’s season, let’s take a close look at some dating best practices to help us have better in-person sales meetings.

Related: B2B Appointment Setting: How to Make Your Sales Meetings Bear Fruits

#1 There’s no such thing as over-preparation.

That old saying about first impressions is true. You don’t want to leave the wrong impression on your date or prospect because, in most cases, it’s going to be the only thing they’ll remember about you. That’s why, in dating and in face-to-face sales meetings, there’s no such thing as too much preparation.

So start your preparations by setting specific goals. Don’t just say “to learn more about the prospect”. Instead, write out what particular things about the prospect’s company or pain point you’d like to find out.

Also, your appearance matters more than you think. To make sure you’re properly dressed, think about the meeting’s setting and use social media to get a sense of the prospect’s style.

Always do your homework before showing up for a meeting with a prospect. Pull up the prospect’s CRM record, read up on relevant company/industry developments, or find a common personal thing you can bring up in your conversation. There’s a reason why 43% of singles google someone before their first date, and why 63% of B2B buyers start the purchase journey with an Internet search.

Related: How to Make Presentations for Business Appointments Interesting

#2 It’s all about communication, communication, communication.

Recently, author Mark Manson shared the relationship advice he got from 1,500 of his subscribers. The survey showed that people in ongoing long-term relationships cited respect (not communication) as the number-one factor in a happy marriage.

But when you’re only taking the first steps in a relationship (such as when going on a date), it’s all about communication. You can say the same thing about meeting a sales prospect in person for the first time. Communication makes or breaks deals.

Communication takes on various forms in an in-person meeting. It’s both what you say and what you don’t say—as well as what you do and don’t do. For example, the time you arrive speaks volumes: too early, and the prospect might think you’re too eager; too late, and there might not be a meeting when you get there.

You already know that communication is 93% nonverbal, so pay attention to both you and your prospect’s body language. What about the remaining 7%? Let your prospect do most of the talking, but don’t appear uninterested or (worse) unknowledgeable.

Related: 5 Data-backed Tips for Better Phone-based Sales Presentations

#3 The first meeting is only the beginning.

Obviously, the first date isn’t the time to be making some serious commitment. Although you really can’t fit relationships into a one-size-fits-all timeline, some sources suggest that it takes 6 to 8 dates before couples become “exclusive”.

In today’s fast-changing B2B buying landscape, where purchase cycles are getting longer and more stakeholders make the buying decision, the first in-person sales meeting isn’t the time to be closing. In fact, for complex-sale products, there isn’t much to expect from the first few in-person meetings other than to make sure there’s really a good fit.

That’s why there’s no need for the hard sell or to offer your pitch on your very first sales meeting. If everything works out, it’s only just the beginning. Instead of “always be closing”, why not try “always be following up”?

Related: 5 Winning Sales Cadence Examples (and Lessons to Draw from Them)

Happy Valentine’s!

Read the latest updates on The Savvy Marketer’s Blog

Get B2B Leads or Learn more about Callbox Multi-Channel Marketing Strategy

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Recent market stats show that competition in the telecom industry is rising in 2018. This is due to numerous innovations and disruptions that are pushing players big and small to seek a position in their respective niches.

The challenges brought about by big data and cable’s venture into the telecoms arena will further impact the way these companies do business. Wireless technology, most notably the introduction of 5G, will open up a new front in the battle for profit margins. And without a doubt, the current situation requires them to be more focused on activities that directly impact their bottom line. Without a doubt, marketing is a process that has to be an important factor in reaching revenue goals. This would involve identifying the best approaches to getting quality telecom leads.

In this case, it is essential for telecom companies to determine the most appropriate channels for getting high-value opportunities. For this reason, multi-channel marketing points towards the right route into getting where these opportunities are found.

For sure, having a robust strategy involving various communication channels will certainly give telecom enterprises a much-needed boost in closing as many deals as their sales teams can. But having a multi-channel has a lot more to offer service providers in the telecoms market than just that.

Related: Inside the Telecom Industry: The Trends that Matter for 2018

A more focused campaign

A great deal of marketing a service, say wireless router or fiber optic transmission line installation, involves knowing what people want. In this case, telecom providers need to go for the jugular when it comes right down to planning the type of talking points they want to deliver. This, for sure, has become a challenge for many companies, and not just in the telecom sector. The struggle deals with the fact that it’s difficult to track audience demands as they shift from one device to another. Using the right channels in your campaign, on the other hand, aptly addresses such a problem by keeping tabs on the interactions of prospects wherever they are online. This way, B2B marketers in a telecom company can arrive at a more precise approximation of what clients want. In turn, this would make adjusting to these demands easier and more in tune with market expectations.

Related: Telecom Campaign Ideas for 2018: Consultative + Digital Marketing

Better targeting of prospects

And speaking of preciseness, let’s now talk about how most companies conduct their marketing campaigns. The traditional method of bombarding targeted leads with content after content is still a thing – unfortunately. But the way things are going right now, the least that telecom buyers want is to get their inboxes filled with unwanted spam. Quantity is never better than quality. Not by a long shot! If you want to get better revenue results, you have to get better at aiming. A multi-channel approach focuses more on personalizing content for the right people. This article on AutoPilotHQ.com sums up the advantages of account-based marketing, pointing out its usefulness in allowing marketers top zero in on specific prospects and unleashing their best weapons in order to reel them in. If it works for other industries, what makes any telecom marketing operative not adopt a multi-channel campaign?

Related: How Behavioral Targeting Can Help You Achieve Your Bottom Line

Get more sales

Now, let’s talk about the juiciest part of multi-channel marketing. Telecom buyers are a tough cookie to crumble (or a hard nut to crack, whichever metaphor works). One thing that defines them is their general meticulousness in choosing products and services that best fit their bottom lines.With that said, the most important thing for a lot of marketers in this industry to do is to leverage their use of online channels and maximize their reach in the process. In other words, telecom marketers should go beyond the content trends of the day and, instead, opt to be authentic. And apparently, there’s no other way for this to become possible than through multi-channel marketing. Again, competition in this highly technical industry is likely to rise in the coming years and not only 2018. For companies to increase their sales volumes beyond expected amounts, it is crucial to make use of multi-channel approach as a means to get ahead of the competition. Influence is key if you opt to gain a better position for your enterprise. If using multiple channels won’t cut it, we don’t know what will.

Related: How to Upsell Telecom Products Using Multi-Channel Marketing

Read the latest updates on The Savvy Marketer’s Blog

Get Telecom Leads or Learn more about Callbox Multi-Channel Marketing Strategy

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Grab a copy of our FREE EBOOK, The Ultimate Lead Generation Kit Ebook! Updated with links to the best and latest techniques that will help generate quality sales leads for your business

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When pilots can’t see the ground or horizon, they rely on six instruments to safely fly an aircraft. These instruments show the plane’s motion, orientation, position, and other critical data. Individually, the information they provide doesn’t mean much but, when taken together, they tell the pilot what to do and where to go.

In some ways, running an email campaign is like flying a plane solely by instrument. The only way to know whether your campaign is actually heading in the right direction is to pay attention to the numbers flashing on your dashboard. But like an aircraft’s instrument panel, a typical email marketing analytics console can be a bit tricky to figure out.

Today’s post provides a complete walkthrough of email marketing analytics. This guide breaks down email analytics into its key component metrics and untangles the relationships between the numbers. By the end of this article, you’ll be able to refine your email marketing analytics suite, know what metrics to focus on, understand what each number means, and find out how to turn raw metrics into actionable insights.

Related: 8 Ways 2017 Will Shape Your 2018 Email Marketing Campaigns

Things You Need

Before getting started with email marketing analytics, you need to have a few things in place to ensure smooth flying. You need to set specific goals, tweak your email marketing process, and choose the right supporting platforms. Here’s a quick pre-flight checklist.

#1 Define your email marketing goals clearly

The first step in any marketing activity is to set specific goals. What exactly are you trying to achieve with your campaign? Your answer helps you determine which campaign metrics to prioritize later. Some typical email campaign goals include:

  • Reaching out to new prospects
  • Nurturing leads and opportunities
  • Signing up subscribers
  • Verifying/Updating subscription
  • Building awareness for products, events, brand, etc.
  • Closing deals or generating revenues
  • Responding to triggers or actions

Litmus recommends a 4-step process for defining email marketing goals:

  1. Action (what do you want your recipients to do?)
  2. Audience (who are you sending the emails to?)
  3. Benefit (why should your recipients care?)
  4. Results (how will you measure the success of the campaign?)

Clearly, this entire post revolves around step 4, so we’ll go into more depth about choosing the right metrics in a later section.

Related: 7 Types of Emails Your Business Should Send

#2 Refine your email process

Having an end-goal simplifies outlining the exact steps involved in the email campaign. You need a well-defined process in order to identify the things to be measured and tracked. Though exact steps vary from one campaign to another, the following components form the bare essentials for any email marketing initiative (as pointed out by SEMrush):

  • Target market segment (email list)
  • Email content/copy and design (email templates)
  • Email delivery schedules (specific times or triggers)
  • Landing or conversion pages
  • Email marketing platform (more on this later)

Successful email marketing campaigns deliver value through relevant messages. That’s practically what the entire process strives to accomplish. Each component’s performance and contribution is gauged using a specific metric (or set of metrics). That’s why it’s important to smooth out the email marketing process.

#3 Choose the right email marketing platform

There are tons of factors that go into choosing the right email marketing platform, whether you’re doing your campaign in-house or outsourcing it to a third-party provider. One key consideration to carefully weigh is a platform’s reporting and analytics capabilities. Here’s what to look for:

  • Provides metrics on long-term subscriber activity and list health (not just basic “vanity” metrics)
  • Real-time campaign tracking
  • Easy-to-understand reports and summaries
  • Various levels of granularity (from segments to aggregates)
  • Ability to integrate with other channels’ metrics (e.g., Google Analytics)
  • Availability of cross-section and time-series reports

Your email marketing software should enable quick access to the insights you need. You don’t want to spend hours bent over spreadsheets, doing repetitive computations and data retrieval. In addition, it should also be able to provide metrics that tell you about engagement and conversions, not just the usual opens and clicks.

Related: 7 Stats That Prove Email Marketing Is Still The MOST Reliable Channel [INFOGRAPHIC]

Metrics to Track

Email marketing still ranks as the most data-driven channel in a marketer’s toolkit. From delivery to conversion, each activity is closely tracked, measured, and reported. As a result, the number of different metrics to keep an eye on can get a bit overwhelming. In this section, we’ll take an in-depth look at 10 crucial metrics that should form the core of your email marketing analytics suite.

But first, let’s clear up something that tends to confuse both new and seasoned email marketers alike: the difference between metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs). It’s important to get this straightened out because your usage of these two not-so-interchangeable terms has a huge impact on the way you interpret your analytics.

Jonathan Taylor over at klipfolio points out that the difference between metrics and KPIs goes beyond simple semantics. KPIs are values that show how well you’ve met a given business objective (hence, “P” for “performance”). Metrics, on the other hand, track the status of a specific business process.

In other words, all KPIs are metrics, but not all metrics are KPIs. A metric becomes a KPI if and only if the metric is used to gauge how well or how poorly you’re able to hit a target or goal.

With that out of the way, here’s a list of 10 essential email marketing metrics (arranged in no particular order) you need to thoroughly monitor.

#1 Delivery Rate

In email marketing speak, a sent email is “delivered” once it makes it through all the servers, gets past the ISP filters, and reaches a valid recipient’s account without bouncing. The delivery rate is simply the ratio of delivered emails to the number of total emails sent.

In short, delivery rates tell you the percentage of emails sent that got accepted by valid email addresses. It gives you an idea of how successfully you’re able to reach recipients’ email accounts.

Delivery rates, however, don’t indicate how many sent emails actually made it into the recipients’ inbox or how many ended up in the spam folder. That’s why it shouldn’t be your sole measure of deliverability.

Related: Dissecting the World’s First Spam Email: 5 Timeless Lessons We Learned

#2 Inbox Placement Rate

Another deliverability metric is inbox placement rate. This is computed by dividing the number of sent emails that actually reached the inbox over the total number of emails sent.

When your email gets “delivered” to a valid address, the mailbox provider decides whether to place your message in the inbox or junk folder. That’s why even if an email is delivered, it doesn’t necessarily mean the recipient gets a chance to see it.

This is why inbox placement rates are a better deliverability metric than delivery rates. Use delivery rate to gauge your email list’s overall health, but refer to inbox placement when figuring out actual deliverability.

Related: The Art of Writing Email Copies: How to Make It Stand Out from your Prospects’ Inboxes

#3 Soft and Hard Bounces

A bounce happens when an email can’t be delivered. When a bounce occurs, the recipient’s email server rejects an email. This can be due to a number of reasons, which in turn can be permanent or temporary. As MailChimp explains, bounces are classified as soft or hard, depending on how serious the problem is.

Soft bounces are temporary delivery issues caused by problems such as:

  • The recipient’s inbox is full.
  • The email server is down or offline.
  • The email message is too large.

A hard bounce, on the other hand, means that the email encountered a permanent delivery issue such as:

  • Sending to invalid email addresses
  • Recipients having nonexistent domain names
  • Email servers permanently blocking the sender

Among the two, hard bounces are clearly a more serious problem. Hard bounces indicate list quality issues or poor sender reputation.  If left unaddressed, high bounce rates can lead to lower deliverability.

Related: Slaying Your (Mailer) Daemons and Reducing Email Bounces

#4 Open Rate

Email service providers (ESPs) typically compute open rates by taking the number of emails opened and dividing it by the number of emails delivered. While this sounds fairly straightforward, email opens are a little tricky to identify and measure. Usually, ESPs look at two conditions to count email opens (according to CRM provider SuperOffice):

  • Images are displayed in the message (either enabled by recipient or based on settings).
  • The recipient clicks a link in the message.

This makes open rates a somewhat unreliable engagement metric. When an image on an email finishes loading, it’s recorded as opened regardless of whether the recipient actually sees or reads the message. Also, recipients opening your emails more than once can artificially inflate open rates.

That’s why open rates need to be analyzed together with other email metrics, not taken in isolation.

Related: The Pick-up Lines of Email Marketing: How to Increase Open Rates In Just a Few Words

#5 Click-through Rate

Click-through rate (CTR) is calculated by dividing the number of clicks over the volume of delivered emails. CTRs indicate how effectively your subject line, copy, design, offer, and call-to-action are able to engage recipients. The DMA estimates that around 70% of marketers use it to measure their campaign’s success.

But, like open rates, CTRs only show you a partial (and sometimes skewed) picture of email engagement. ConversionXL recommends taking the following into account when analyzing CTRs:

  • Difference between total and unique CTRs
  • Emails and links opened on different devices
  • Recipients clicking on links multiple times
  • Firewall checking links for threats
  • Links posted on the Web or on social media

Again, CTRs shouldn’t be examined in a vacuum. CTRs need to be monitored and compared with other engagement metrics.

#6 Click-to-Open Rate

CTRs take the ratio of clicks to total emails delivered, regardless of whether the emails were opened or not. That means CTRs look at engagement driven by a ton of factors such as timing, subject lines, from lines, etc. CTRs can’t isolate engagement or activity driven by the email’s content/design.

For that, you’re going to measure click-to-open rates (CTORs). Click-to-open rate is the percentage of clicks relative to the number of opened emails.

To make things a bit more concrete, let’s go over a quick example. Let’s say you send 1,000 emails to 1,000 valid addresses. Let’s assume (for simplicity) that all 1,000 messages got delivered and reached recipients’ inboxes. Suppose that 200 people opened the messages and 50 people clicked on a link on the emails. In this example:

  • The CTR is 50 / 1,000 = 0.05, (or 5%)
  • The CTOR is 50 / 200 = 0.4, (or 40%)

So, which metric is better at measuring engagement? CTR or CTOR? Both CTR and CTOR complement each other. CTR measures an email’s overall performance, while CTOR shows the emails performance in terms of what’s actually in it.

#7 Spam Complaint Rate

The spam complaint rate is the percentage of spam complaints relative to the number of delivered emails. Each recipient that marks your email as spam or junk adds to the number of spam complaints. Spam complaint rates indicate negative engagement. The higher this value is, the more unfavorable it is for your campaign.

When the spam complaint rate exceeds some given threshold (usually 0.1%) for some length of time, ISPs tend to look at this as a reason to block your future emails.

To maintain this metric within acceptable levels, make sure to immediately purge your list of contacts who placed spam reports. Also, make sure to send relevant, personalized emails that appeal to your recipients.

Related: Say no to Spam! Ways to Avoid Putting your Email Marketing Campaign to the Dumpsite

#8 Unsubscribe Rate

Anti-spam laws and regulations like CAN-SPAM require you to include an unsubscribe option in your emails. The unsubscribe rate is the number of recipients who requested to stop receiving your emails as a percentage of the total delivered emails. In general, you want to keep unsubscribe rates low.

While it can be concerning to find elevated or rising unsubscribe rates, seeing a few unsubscribes from time to time in a campaign is normal. Neil Patel argues that it’s sometimes okay to see spikes in unsubscribes because it’s a way to remove the not-so-engaged contacts from your list and retain those who really matter.

ReturnPath also warns against analyzing this metric by itself, since a decreasing opt-out rate can indicate either better engagement or a lower inbox placement rate.

#9 List Churn Rate

Your email list’s rate of churn tells you how fast it’s shrinking in a given time period. List churn refers to the number of records removed due to unsubscribes, hard bounces, and spam reports.

Depending on your email platform or ESP, this metric might not be readily available on standard dashboards and campaign reports. There’s still no universally agreed-upon way to compute list churn rates, but one approach suggested by The 60-Second Marketer is a good starting point:

  1. Choose a time period
  2. Determine how many subscribers you’ve lost
  3. Divide that number by the size of your list

GetResponse estimates that the average email list churn rate is between 25% to 30% each year.

#10 Conversion Rate

This is the number of recipients who completed an action (conversions) expressed as a percentage of delivered emails (or some other base number such as total landing page visits). The actions that define a conversion (e.g., filling out a subscription form, downloading an eBook, signing up for a webinar, etc.) depend on the campaign’s goals. This means that your email conversion rate indicates how well you’re actually achieving your objectives.

Conversion rates measure both email engagement and landing page effectiveness. That’s why you need to integrate web analytics into your email platform (step #3 from the previous section). This involves using unique tracking URLs in your emails in order to help you attribute conversions to specific campaigns.

Related: 4 Email Closing Lines That Close Deals (Backed by Concrete Results)

The Takeaway

Metrics tell you a lot about your email campaigns. In fact, they reveal everything you need to know to make informed decisions—that is, if you know where and how to look. The things we’ve covered in this guide should help you navigate your campaign toward its objectives. So, keep these ideas in mind and always remember: if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.

Read the latest updates on The Savvy Marketer’s Blog

Get a targeted list or Learn more about Callbox Multi-Channel Marketing Strategy

Contact us or Dial 888.810.7464

Grab a FREE copy of 40 B2B Sales Email Templates for Every Situation! These 40 examples have all been hand-picked from a variety of sources that tested these templates in terms of opens, click-throughs, and replies

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We’ve seen how the B2B buying process has changed and how the conversion funnel has evolved along with it. Mobile drives a huge part of this shift. It makes the nonlinear, self-directed buying journey possible by making information and engagement available at the times and places where prospects want or need them the most.

This infographic shows exactly how the move toward mobile impacts B2B marketing. From the sources we looked at, mobile is reshaping the B2B marketing landscape in 10 distinct ways, from both marketers’ and prospects’ points of view.

These 10 trends point to 3 main themes:

#1 Mobile contributes to business results

A 2017 study from the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) finds that mobile accounts for at least 40% of B2B companies’ revenues. That’s apparently only the tip of the iceberg.

Salesforce surveyed B2B buyers in 2016 and found that mobile was a crucial tool for practically all B2B decision-makers. In the study, 84% of millennials considered mobile as necessary for their work, while 76% of Gen Xers and 60% of baby boomers agreed with this.

Also, BCG points out that mobile shortens the time it takes to make a purchase decision by as much as 20%. This is because mobile keeps information within easy reach throughout the buying journey, and enables close collaboration among stakeholders.

Related: Does the Versatility of Mobile Marketing Have a Place in B2B?

#2 Usage and adoption continue to grow

It’s also clear that more and more B2B buyers do much of their pre-purchase research on mobile devices. According to the BCG report, around half of all B2B search queries are made on a smartphone. Meanwhile, data cited by eMarketer shows that 82% of B2B buyers access content via a smartphone and 56% through a tablet.

B2B prospects’ work-related usage of mobile devices is also seeing some significant uptick. The above Salesforce survey notes that time spent using mobile devices for work has increased for 63% of B2B buyers. BCG also predicts that by 2020, B2B employees’ daily use of mobile devices will reach 3 hours on average.

#3 Mobile-first, not mobile-only

Mobile’s growing importance for both marketers and buyers, however, doesn’t mean these two groups solely focus on mobile alone. In fact, mobile forms part of an “omnichannel” strategy that brings a seamless experience for B2B buyers across multiple devices and touch points, similar to what consumers encounter all the time.

That’s why, according to IBM, close to 80% of B2B buyers want a B2C experience, and 85% of B2B organizations are more than happy to deliver.

Delivering a rich mobile experience isn’t only a good idea, it’s a profitable strategy. BCG’s research also reveals that mobile encourages repeat business and builds long-term relationships when done right.

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The post 10 Undeniable Ways Mobile is Reshaping B2B Marketing [INFOGRAPHIC] appeared first on Callboxinc.com - B2B Lead Generation Company.

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There’s no denying it now. We’re not in Kansas anymore.The days when marketers took charge of the buyer’s purchase journey are long gone. Buyers now arrive at a purchase decision largely out of their own accord, with little to no direct involvement from marketing teams or sales reps. Buyers reach out to vendors only when they’ve learned all they can about the product or service, overturning our traditional roles as gatekeepers of information.

Nowadays, B2B buyers are already 57% into the purchase decision when they first reach out to a vendor. Prospects spend the bulk of that time researching about a business problem or solution on their own. That’s because only 13% of B2B buyers think sales reps genuinely understand their needs. As a result, less than 30% of B2B buyers want to talk to sales when purchasing.

What this means is that marketing is taking more and more of the responsibilities traditionally assigned to sales. Marketing’s role has expanded from initiating interest to educating prospects. In other words, the conversion funnel is also evolving along with the changing buying cycle.

Let’s take a look at how the old purchase process has evolved into what we now consider as the modern B2B buying landscape. More importantly, though, let’s talk about ways to make sure that your own marketing and sales processes keep up with the times.

B2B Buying Cycle Stages: Then and Now

In order to really understand how much today’s B2B buying cycle has changed, it helps to compare it with what it looked like years ago.

Traditional B2B Purchase Process

The B2B buying process used to be pretty straightforward. Businesses reached out to vendors and communicated with sales reps who, in turn, pitched them on the potential solution. If the buyer liked what she heard, she signs the contract.

Most traditional buying cycle models (including those still in use today) are based on some variation of the basic three-step buyer’s journey. As HubSpot explains, the process consists of the following stages:

#1 Awareness

This is the point in the buyer’s journey where the prospect realizes there’s a problem. It’s also the time when the prospect becomes aware that you or some other vendor probably has the solution.

During the awareness step, prospects focus on understanding as much as they can about the problem or pain point. They don’t really care that much about specific vendors or brands at this stage.

#2 Consideration

When potential buyers clearly specify the problem and narrow down possible choices, they’re in the consideration stage. This is the time when prospects start evaluating individual vendors and comparing them with one another.

Salesforce breaks this step down further into:

  • Research (in-depth evaluation of each vendor)
  • Comparison (going into product details, demos, and pricing)
  • Justification (securing buy-in from other stakeholders)
#3 Decision

This is the last step in the process. At this point, the buyer believes your solution solves the problem but still needs to clear a few hurdles in order to become a valid purchase.

At the decision stage, potential buyers want to be reassured they’re making the right investment. Things like preparation, implementation, project costs, customer support, etc. rank high on their list of concerns during this step.

Related: Analysis: The Information Gathering Process of B2B Buyers

The New B2B buyer

According to Kantar Millward Brown, the traditional funnel diagram that most marketers have learned by heart is now officially dead. The linear sequence of buying stages has now been jumbled up into a complex web of prospect-initiated paths to purchase.

Today’s buyer might arrive at a purchase decision without even reaching out to the vendor, only communicating with a rep in order to finalize the deal. That means between identifying a problem and signing up for a solution, the prospect pretty much charts her own path to purchase.

That’s why you need to get really acquainted with the quirks and tendencies of the modern B2B buyer. It’s going to help you effectively remodel your sales and marketing funnel. Jessica Mehring over at the SnapApp blog points to some key characteristics of today’s B2B customers:

#1 They’re now better informed.

Forrester estimates that nearly 74% of B2B buyers carry out at least half of their research online before making an offline purchase. Meanwhile, Think with Google, the search giant’s marketing research arm, finds that B2B prospects perform a dozen online searches before visiting a vendor’s website.

The numbers are clear. Today’s B2B customers have access to more information, and they’re leveraging it to their advantage.

#2 They’re increasingly influenced by peers.

Data compiled by LinkedIn Business shows that 53% of B2B buyers rely on peer recommendations, while another 76% prioritize vendors suggested by their peers. That’s why 84% of B2B purchases begin with a referral.

As B2B buyers get more and more connected with their networks and peers, it’s not hard to see why word-of-mouth now drives many purchase decisions.

Related: How to Use SEO To Influence B2B Buyers On Social Media

#3 They’re part of a bigger group.

A 2017 HBR article puts the B2B buyer’s evolution into context. There are now more people involved in making B2B buying decisions, growing from an average of 5.4 stakeholders in 2015 to 6.8 decision-makers in 2017.

The more heads needed to give a nod of approval, the harder it will be to arrive at a decision. That’s because, as the number of stakeholders in the buying process increases, the more risk-averse B2B buyers become.

#4 They’re really into personalization.

All signs indicate that today’s B2B customers want a personalized, customized, and relevant buying experience. A recent survey from DemandGen Report finds that 75% of B2B buyers say it’s very important for website content to directly speak to their company’s needs. The same survey shows that 66% of B2B prospects rank industry-specific content as very important.

Forrester has also uncovered that more than 50% of B2B prospects want to receive personalized recommendations at every touch point. They expect robust customization and support across different channels, devices, and stages in the buying cycle.

Keeping Up with the New B2B Buying Process

It’s quite clear that things are no longer as simple or straightforward as they used to be. The B2B buying process has changed, and it continues to evolve. Marketers who thrive in today’s shifting landscape aren’t necessarily those with the biggest budget and resources, but those who can quickly adapt.

Related: Using Neuroscience to Better Answer 5 Questions Leads Ask Themselves Before Buying

Here’s how to adjust your funnel in order to meet the demands of today’s B2B buyers:

#1 Help them find what they need.

We’ve seen that modern B2B customers have access to more information. While this, of course, is a good thing, it becomes a problem when prospects have to sift through tons of material to find relevant information when doing their research.

One way to help buyers move from one point in their journey to the next is to make relevant information easy to find. Your website should be a resource for information that gets prospects closer to a buying decision. Think case studies, industry whitepapers, how-to articles, best practices, etc.

Related: Better Content Means Better Leads: Make the Most Out of Your Content

#2 Make sure that people have great things to say about you

Since peer reviews and recommendations shape the outcome of the B2B buying journey, it pays to build and grow your reputation as a leader in your industry. You do this, for example, by showing your expertise through participating on social media and online forums.

Also, B2B customers have now grown a bit skeptical of glowing reviews and ratings online. They’re now paying attention to what their peers are actually saying about a brand or solution. That’s why leveraging customer advocacy and referrals is a more viable route to take.

Related: How to get Business-Friendly Testimonials from your B2B Clients

#3 Learn how group buying decisions are made

We now know that the number of stakeholders in B2B purchases has increased, which can negatively impact the likelihood of decisions being reached. To ensure that your target prospects secure buy-in from all stakeholders, Consensus suggests focusing on the 7 components of group buying decisions in B2B:

  • Problem (they have to believe you can solve their problem)
  • Emotional connection (they need to believe in your team and your solution)
  • Pricing (they have to be convinced the price is within their budget)
  • Credible ROI (ROI that’s part of their company’s narrative)
  • Timing and implementation requirements (the purchase needs to be a priority now)
  • Proof points (both logical and social proofs)
  • Questions and concerns (they need to be heard)

One key point to note, especially for big-ticket purchases, is that price needs to be distinguished from value. For risk-averse buying committees, an expensive price tag can spell the difference between a lost and closed deal.

#4 Target prospects based on behavior

Earlier this month, Marketingprofs published an article on generating leads based on B2B buyer behavior. The post talked about a lot of helpful insights, including five types of personalization strategies:

  • Segment (based on industry vertical or segment criteria)
  • Persona (based on specific buyer types)
  • Stage (according to stages in the buying process)
  • Account (based on target company)
  • Lead (personalization based on individual lead)

Among these, persona-based personalization works best for most marketers today since it combines five areas of modern B2B buying:

  • Role in the purchase process
  • Fears and challenges
  • Drivers and motivators
  • Organizational goals and priorities
  • Problems and issues

Related: How Behavioral Targeting Can Help You Achieve Your Bottom Line

These five components can help you deliver relevant, personalized experience that today’s B2B buyers expect.

The Takeaway

Whatever your conversion funnel looks like right now, it needs to align with how B2B buyers arrive at a purchase decision. Keep in mind that today’s B2B customers are more informed and more reliant on peer recommendations. They’re also part of a bigger group and are really into personalization. Your job now is to help them find the resources they need to make informed choices. Hopefully, that choice turns out to be your solution.

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Dial +1 888.810.7464 / 310.439.5814

Grab a copy of our FREE EBOOK, The Ultimate Lead Generation Kit Ebook! Updated with links to the best and latest techniques that will help generate quality sales leads for your business

https://www.callboxinc.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/How-to-Create-Engaging-Videos-that-Rack-Up-Views-and-Shares.jpg 352 800 Contributor https://www.callboxinc.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/callbox-logo.png Contributor2018-01-17 05:15:122018-01-17 05:32:43How to Create Engaging Videos that Rack Up Views and Shares [GUEST POST] https://www.callboxinc.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Cutting-Marketing-Spend-When-It-Works-and-When-It-Doesnt.jpg 352 800 Rebecca Matias https://www.callboxinc.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/callbox-logo.png Rebecca Matias2018-01-11 10:53:382018-01-25 08:12:27Cutting Marketing Spend: When It Works (and When it Doesn’t) https://www.callboxinc.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/5-New-Years-Resolutions-to-Refine-Your-Marketing-Analytics-Stack.jpg 352 800 Rebecca Matias https://www.callboxinc.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/callbox-logo.png Rebecca Matias2018-01-10 06:57:582018-01-23 12:14:515 New Year’s Resolutions to Refine Your Marketing Analytics Stack

The post The B2B Buying Process Has Changed: Here’s How Not to Get Left Behind appeared first on Callboxinc.com - B2B Lead Generation Company.

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