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10 Proven Ways to Build a Successful B2B Sales Strategy

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10 Proven Ways to Build a Successful B2B Sales Strategy

When compared to B2C sales, B2B sales are way tougher. In the world of B2B sales, you have to deal with high stakes, long sales cycles, and difficult-to-find leads. And when you do get a lead, you’ll have to deal with quite a few decision-makers before you can close a sale. If you manage small business, then you need to build a successful sales strategy and execute that strategy well.

B2B customers can be tougher to deal with than B2C customers because B2B buyers know what product or service they want. In addition, B2B customers will place higher expectations on suppliers since B2B customers are making a business decision and possibly want a long-term business relationship.

The majority of B2B customers know what solution they need for their problem before they even start talking to a salesperson.

What Is a B2B Sales Strategy?

A sales strategy is the plan you follow in order to sell a product or service by communicating to potential customers about your product or service and then convincing them to buy. You will know a sales strategy is good when you constantly keep making sales by following that sales strategy.

Now, sales and marketing can deliver optimal results when they’re working together, but sales strategies and marketing strategies are completely different.

A marketing strategy is about creating awareness about your products or services among your potential customers, for example, doing B2B live streaming to demo a product or running a B2B referral program. A sales strategy is about persuading a specific customer to buy the products or services you’re selling.

By testing and refining your B2B sales strategy, you’ll create an optimal strategy that will enable you to:

  • Identify your target audience.
  • Deliver the strongest case for why your products or services should be purchased.
  • Approach a lead through the most effective sales channel.
  • Close the sale with an optimal sales pitch delivery.

Let’s look at how to build a successful B2B sales strategy.

10 Ways to Build a Successful B2B Sales Strategy

Now that we know what a B2B sales strategy is, let’s look at how to build a successful B2B sales strategy.

1. Pick the Right Kind of Strategy for You

A generic sales strategy can deliver results but will be easily outperformed by a sales strategy built just for your situation and business needs. The goals your business is trying to achieve determine the basic structure of your sales strategy. Do you want to generate new leads, convert leads into customers, or generate repeat sales from already existing customers?

By understanding what your business goals are, you can start to build the right sales strategy around those goals.

2. Determine If Your Strategy Is Inbound or Outbound

When using an inbound sales strategy, your business is marketing itself to its target audience in a way that generates interest and draws potential leads in. Inbound sales strategies work best when your target audience is actively looking for the products or services you provide.

When using an outbound sales strategy, your business’s salesperson seeks out potential customers and approaches them directly. Outbound sales strategies can work well when your business is selling something innovative or disruptive. With an outbound approach, you can make the case that you have a solution to a problem potential customers didn’t even know they had.

Choosing an inbound or outbound sales strategy is dependent on your market position as well as the specific challenges your business faces. Some businesses will implement a hybrid of the two strategies, but the optimal method of implementing the following steps depends greatly on which approach your business has prioritized.

3. Make Sure Sales and Marketing Work as a Team

Usually, sales and marketing teams see each other as rivals, but these teams should be working together as one.

Because sales talks with leads all day, they gain a lot of insights into the issues potential customers face and the product features they are looking for. Sales can share this information with marketing. Marketing can identify high-potential leads and pass them on to sales to reach out to as well as give sales-related content to use.

Sales teams need to acquire new customers in order to ensure your business grows, and the marketing team can support them by generating high potential B2B leads. Sales and marketing can use an enterprise communication solution to talk with each other.

Social media is a very marketing-specific activity; however, sales can use social media to identify potential leads and engage with them. The sales team can help the marketing team identify ideal customers and their issues, which can be very useful while creating social media ads and posts. Meanwhile, the marketing team can identify key conversation points and targets on social media and pass that information on to the sales team to reach.

With your sales and marketing teams working in sync, your business is perfectly positioned to use account-based marketing (ABM). ABM treats every customer account as its own market and uses personalized messaging and content for each potential customer. ABM is resource-intensive but delivers a high ROI.

4. Research Your Target Customers

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In B2B sales, building rapport with your customers is very important. This is why you should learn everything you can about the businesses you want to sell to. Try to learn their business goals, pain points, competition, day-to-day activities, and who their decision-makers are.

Have your salespeople make use of buyer personas. Buyer personas are buyer profiles you create of imaginary customers. These profiles can be informed by talking with real customers and hearing their stories. You can use this information to put your buyer personas into context and help sales to develop more effective sales pitches.

Researching your target market and existing customers can also help you identify customer profiles you don’t want to target. This can save time and resources that would’ve been spent chasing unlikely leads.

5. Identify, Qualify, and Nurture Your Leads

Researching your customers will help you identify the leads that are most worth pursuing. You can then go after those leads by either marketing campaigns or cold-calling them using cloud based communications. But before you commit to pursuing those leads, you should first qualify them.

You can qualify your leads by scoring them. Factors that can affect a score could be the customer company’s size, how closely it fits your ideal buyer persona, and the length of their purchasing timeline. Once you know your leads’ scores, you can then more easily prioritize them. Another option is to buy a B2B lead list.

B2B sales can have long sales cycles. By determining what stage of the sales funnel a lead is at, you can nurture them with audience-focused content.

6. Determine Key Activities

Here is where your strategy moves into practice. There are three areas of activity you can focus on:

  • Social Media: one of the first things buyers will check is your social media presence. Make sure they find high-quality posts, product information, valuable resources, and active engagement.
  • Understanding the buyers’ journey: the better you understand your buyers’ decision-making processes, the better you’ll be able to lead them to purchase.
  • Building customer relationships: B2B is not about quick, one-time-only purchases. It is important to build relationships with customers to ensure repeat business, satisfaction, and recommendations to others. Use a corporate email signature to stand out.

7. Create Valuable Content

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Many B2B customers would rather trust their own research than a sales pitch. To reach these customers, you need to provide valuable, informative content that offers value and addresses their concerns.

Try to provide content that doesn’t “expire,” such as ebooks, whitepapers, and product demos.

8. Have the Essential Software Tools

The right software tools are needed to help your sales reach their full potential. Some essential software tools are:

  • A CRM tool: this tool will capture lead information, organize your customer data, and automate sales outreach processes.
  • Analytics and reporting programs: these will help you extract insights from your CRM data, enable you to measure your performance, and answer the question, “What is bounce rate?”.
  • Social media management software: this will let you monitor your accounts, check for relevant social conversations, and post on a schedule.
  • A content personalization tool: this will tell you where your leads are coming from, provide a map of their customer journey, and deliver personalized content.

9. Gather a Team and Make a Plan

A sales strategy is great, but in the end, it’s just a plan on paper. You need a great team of salespeople to turn your plan into actual sales and profit. Your sales team needs to be experts in your products or services, armed with knowledge and insights gained from market research.

To start, define a sales process, which is the specific actions to repeat to execute your strategy. Then create an action plan, delegate tasks, and observe how your B2B sales strategy plays out.

10. Measure and Adjust

You measure your success by your goals. The last step is about monitoring your sales strategy, measuring its performance, and adjusting things where appropriate. If some methods or activities aren’t delivering results, swap them out for a new approach.

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Conclusion

A successful B2B sales strategy is one that is custom-built for your business. This strategy is made for your business goals and your customers with a great team to execute it. The ideal strategy is also able to change and adapt when it needs to.

If you follow the 10 steps listed above, then you can build a successful B2B sales strategy for your own business.


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YouTube Ad Specs, Sizes, and Examples [2024 Update]

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YouTube Ad Specs, Sizes, and Examples

Introduction

With billions of users each month, YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine and top website for video content. This makes it a great place for advertising. To succeed, advertisers need to follow the correct YouTube ad specifications. These rules help your ad reach more viewers, increasing the chance of gaining new customers and boosting brand awareness.

Types of YouTube Ads

Video Ads

  • Description: These play before, during, or after a YouTube video on computers or mobile devices.
  • Types:
    • In-stream ads: Can be skippable or non-skippable.
    • Bumper ads: Non-skippable, short ads that play before, during, or after a video.

Display Ads

  • Description: These appear in different spots on YouTube and usually use text or static images.
  • Note: YouTube does not support display image ads directly on its app, but these can be targeted to YouTube.com through Google Display Network (GDN).

Companion Banners

  • Description: Appears to the right of the YouTube player on desktop.
  • Requirement: Must be purchased alongside In-stream ads, Bumper ads, or In-feed ads.

In-feed Ads

  • Description: Resemble videos with images, headlines, and text. They link to a public or unlisted YouTube video.

Outstream Ads

  • Description: Mobile-only video ads that play outside of YouTube, on websites and apps within the Google video partner network.

Masthead Ads

  • Description: Premium, high-visibility banner ads displayed at the top of the YouTube homepage for both desktop and mobile users.

YouTube Ad Specs by Type

Skippable In-stream Video Ads

  • Placement: Before, during, or after a YouTube video.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Vertical: 9:16
    • Square: 1:1
  • Length:
    • Awareness: 15-20 seconds
    • Consideration: 2-3 minutes
    • Action: 15-20 seconds

Non-skippable In-stream Video Ads

  • Description: Must be watched completely before the main video.
  • Length: 15 seconds (or 20 seconds in certain markets).
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Vertical: 9:16
    • Square: 1:1

Bumper Ads

  • Length: Maximum 6 seconds.
  • File Format: MP4, Quicktime, AVI, ASF, Windows Media, or MPEG.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 640 x 360px
    • Vertical: 480 x 360px

In-feed Ads

  • Description: Show alongside YouTube content, like search results or the Home feed.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Square: 1:1
  • Length:
    • Awareness: 15-20 seconds
    • Consideration: 2-3 minutes
  • Headline/Description:
    • Headline: Up to 2 lines, 40 characters per line
    • Description: Up to 2 lines, 35 characters per line

Display Ads

  • Description: Static images or animated media that appear on YouTube next to video suggestions, in search results, or on the homepage.
  • Image Size: 300×60 pixels.
  • File Type: GIF, JPG, PNG.
  • File Size: Max 150KB.
  • Max Animation Length: 30 seconds.

Outstream Ads

  • Description: Mobile-only video ads that appear on websites and apps within the Google video partner network, not on YouTube itself.
  • Logo Specs:
    • Square: 1:1 (200 x 200px).
    • File Type: JPG, GIF, PNG.
    • Max Size: 200KB.

Masthead Ads

  • Description: High-visibility ads at the top of the YouTube homepage.
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 or higher.
  • File Type: JPG or PNG (without transparency).

Conclusion

YouTube offers a variety of ad formats to reach audiences effectively in 2024. Whether you want to build brand awareness, drive conversions, or target specific demographics, YouTube provides a dynamic platform for your advertising needs. Always follow Google’s advertising policies and the technical ad specs to ensure your ads perform their best. Ready to start using YouTube ads? Contact us today to get started!

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Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists

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Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

Amazon pillows.

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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