A team of us from OMI attended the 2018 SiriusDecisions Summit in Las Vegas last month. What an inspiring event! Many of the top B2B brands and thought leaders were there, sharing their insight on content strategy, customer engagement, demand creation and more. We came back with new ideas for expanding our services and delivering greater value to our clients.
I thought I’d take a minute to share my takeaways from the event – and how they relate to customer acquisition:
- Create experiences that matter: A theme that was repeated throughout the event sessions was understanding your customers’ needs and challenges and creating experiences that empower them to be more effective and successful. For email marketers, one takeaway is the importance of segmenting your lists to send optimally targeted messages that are timely and relevant. From there, create content – offered via the prospect’s preferred channels – that addresses their business challenges at every stage of the buying journey.
- Highlight your positive customer experience: SiriusDecisions research shows that the most significant purchase decision driver for 80% of B2B buyers is customer experience. The takeaway is to deliver a frictionless experience to prospects from day one. Show them it’s easy to do business with you. Provide useful information -- case studies that illustrate the challenges, actions and quantifiable results experienced by your existing customers; positive use scores; and authentic insight from your team about how your offerings are having an impact.
- AI use growing: Artificial intelligence (AI) continues to proliferate and expand into many aspects of B2B marketing. It’s essential for marketers to stay ahead of the latest technologies, learn how they might be applied to their initiatives, and build a business case for applying them. According to event presenters, when embarking on an AI project or initial discovery, the key is to have a desired outcome in mind. And of course, accurate, quality data is a crucial ingredient to any AI activity. When done correctly, AI can help B2B marketers improve and optimize email personalization, content, and lead nurturing, and more marketers are starting to see acquisition campaign improvements with the help of AI. (See my blog post on AI for more insight).
- Nurturing needs more buyer context: Most B2B marketers understand the importance of lead nurturing to guide prospects through the sales pipeline with the right content until the sale is completed. The challenge lies in not falling back on generic or flawed nurturing techniques (e.g. irrelevant, product-centric messaging, unhelpful websites, etc.) but instead using buyer insights, preferences and data analytics to create improved outcomes. By evaluating buyer signals and behaviors, developing specific responses to these for different buyer roles and personalization profiles, and determining the optimal next action that will deliver the best results, marketers can increase personalization in their lead nurturing efforts – and fuel improved results.
- Marketing and sales must be aligned: One of the sessions claimed that only 14% of B2B organizations believe they have achieved aligned planning between sales, marketing and their product team. Failure of these groups to align during planning processes often results in a disconnect during execution. Sales and marketing teams must establish regular communication, create service level agreements, define targets, share insights and feedback, and agree on sales tools to be more effective with customer acquisition. (See my previous blog post for tips on aligning sales and marketing teams.)
With the pace of change these days, ongoing learning should be a part of any marketer’s career path. The 2019 SiriusDecisions Summit will be held in May of 2019 in Austin. I highly recommend B2B marketers attend.