7 B2B Marketing Trends for 2020

The B2B buyer’s journey is not the same as it was ten or even five years ago. Nowadays, B2B buyers perform an average of 12 searches online before engaging with a business.

The shift in customer buying behavior is forcing marketers to modernize their marketing strategy. For example, they are using new tools to improve conversion rates as rapidly evolving technology directly influences the customer journey.

Let’s have a look at the trends that you need to follow in order to dominate B2B sales in 2020.

1. Update Your Website

Your website is often the first point of direct contact between you and your potential customers. You must design your site in a way that influences key decision-makers into doing business with you.

With the younger generations quickly taking over the key roles in many companies (or starting their own), there’s no denying it–you need to ditch the old marketing principles and adopt new techniques for the 21st century.

For example, since 45% of B2B technology buyers are now Millennials (the largest demographic), you need to make sure that your message stands out in a way that specifically attracts them. One of the easiest ways to do that is to update your website.

How do you know it’s time to upgrade your website? Just look at the signs in your analytics dashboard:

  • You have a high bounce rate that is increasing every day:

  • Average time on site and average time on page are going down because your site takes too long to load.
  • There’s no consistent stream of content; as a result, no real action is happening on your site, meaning that the conversion rate is going down.
  • Your site is going down in the rankings because it’s not mobile-friendly.

If you notice such a pattern in your analytics dashboard, then it’s time to update your website. It’s 2020 and your audience expects your website to be super fast and mobile-friendly at the very least.

A high-quality B2B website must have these features:

  • Fast-loading web pages
  • A blog to educate and attract visitors
  • Clear calls to action
  • Easy and simple navigation
  • A responsive design
  • Secured interface
  • Social proof to demonstrate your expertise

2. Use ML and AI to Generate High-Quality Leads

Both machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) are revolutionizing the process of generating B2B leads.

A perfect example of ML and AI in action is chatbots, and if you are still not using this technology to power up your marketing, then it’s time to start. As a digital marketing agency, we know from working with many companies across many industries just how important having a chatbot on your site is.

Chatbots can recognize users who have visited your site before and can learn from past conversations, thereby improving customer experience. In fact, 55% of people will abandon their online shopping cart if they don’t find a quick answer to their questions.

AI is allowing marketers to create content automatically. Tools like Wordsmith–a “natural language generation platform that transforms your data into insightful narrative”–help marketers save time so they can focus more on providing value and service to the customer.

3. Focus on Conversational Selling

Conversational selling is just what it sounds like–attracting customers through one-on-one conversations.

Rather than try to push a potential customer into purchasing with a hard sell, conversations help build engagement with the prospect which will help you provide a more personalized experience. You focus on what the prospect needs or what their frustrations are, and not on how much of a commission you’re going to get if you can just convince them to buy your product or service.

Prosell has seen improved transaction values (up 17% in one case) by using this simple, 4-step process to conversational selling: Connect, Find Out, Match, Complete.

And, to return briefly to the above point, chatbots are pivotal to conversational selling. Integrating chatbots or instant messaging platforms can make it much easier to answer your visitors’ queries in real-time, day or night, and can help you keep the conversation going.

4. Adopt Customer Data Platforms

The adoption of customer data platforms (CDPs) is going to be one of the biggest B2B marketing trends in 2020.

CDPs will allow marketers to move beyond core data integration to create a customer profile.

Aa CDP can collect the following kinds of information about your prospect:

  • Name
  • Demographics
  • Location
  • Contact
  • Social data
  • Professional data
  • Lifestyle-related data
  • Family-related data
  • Data related to hobbies
  • Data for recent purchases
  • Recent online activity related information

Useful contact data is a must in B2B marketing because it allows marketers to curate personalized subject lines and deliver the right content at the right time.

5. Shift to Agile Management

Agile management is an iterative and incremental approach that uses short development cycles to make sure there’s continuous development in the project or campaign:

Agile management can help you:

  • Improve the effectiveness of marketing campaigns
  • Offer a better customer experience
  • Highlight your audience’s problem quickly
  • Generate ROI faster
  • Enjoy scalability and flexibility

Agile management can help marketers increase the chances of making a campaign successful, thereby increasing sales and conversions.

Additionally, marketers and product teams can improve collaboration to increase productivity and produce better outcomes.

6. Create Hyper-Personalized Marketing Campaigns

With the advancement of AI in the B2B marketing process, hyper-personalization of marketing campaigns has become easier than ever.

Even though 98% of marketers say that personalization improves customer relationships, only 22% of consumers say that they are satisfied with the personalization they receive from brands.

Marketing automation tools powered by artificial intelligence can fix this: they understand your potential buyers’ preferences and anticipate their needs and desires by creating extremely personalized marketing campaigns. They allow you to target each prospect individually and offer services according to their interests.

7. Expand Your Influencer Database

With the increase in the cost of paid advertising and the decrease in its effectiveness, B2B companies are shifting towards influencer marketing to earn exposure and boost sales. People are more likely to buy something if it was recommended by someone they trust.

The B2B tech marketer’s adoption of influencer marketing is expected to grow to 48% by the end of 2019.

LinkedIn is one of the top influencer marketing platforms for B2B companies with more than 90 million senior-level influencers, 63 million decision-makers and 17 million opinion leaders.

There are 3 tactics for B2B companies to follow:

  • Develop a strong and positive reputation on review sites.
  • Create influencer-targeted content that inspires influencer-generated content.
  • Actively engage with targeted influencers.

Final Thoughts

B2B marketing is continually evolving. As a marketer, you must keep track of changing trends to improve your ability to stay competitive.

Keep your website updated to attract Millennials and use AI and ML to quickly and efficiently generate high-quality leads. Conversational selling is set to become one of the biggest B2B marketing trends in 2020, followed by the adoption of agile management, customer data platforms and influencer marketing.

CEO

Eric Siu is the CEO of digital marketing agency Single Grain, which has helped venture-backed startups and Fortune 500 companies grow their revenues. He's also the founder of two marketing podcasts, Growth Everywhere and Marketing School.
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