Digital marketing has become a rapidly-changing industry almost a decade ago. B2B marketing, however, had a slower tempo as corporate traditions suspended constant flow of trends that constantly explode and disappear in B2C.
Don't get me wrong - these days are gone. At this point, B2B marketing has become globalized and digitalized to almost maximum extent, meaning that old-school B2B marketing skillset needs to be updated.
This article will outline 5 core skills essential for B2B marketer in 2020, as well as suggest a couple of tools that empower those skills.
Please mind that every tool mentioned is actually used by our team and that we haven't earned a cent from mentioning them here!
1. B2B Marketing analytics
Consumer behavior, profitability indicators, overall marketing strategy performance - all of these can be discovered through working with analytics. This is the exact skill that enables you to improve and adapt your strategies based on their real performance, not subjective assumptions.
It's not necessary for you to become an expert-level data analyst at this point, however, your abilities would need to cover:
- making and testing what-if forecasts;
- formatting data to identify the right indicators;
- determine the best-performing messages and channels;
- tracking and comparing short-term dynamics to build an understanding of a bigger picture;
And the main tool you would need to use is...Google Spreadsheets (or Excel). No, seriously. Though it may sound basic, you will be surprised by the agility and multi-functionality of this tool. Mastering it will enable you to empower your strategies with actual data-based decisions, which would definitely increase your effectiveness as a marketer.
"You can’t fix what you can’t measure. And you can’t measure without a grasp of marketing analytics and Excel." - Adam Smartschan
2. Data Visualization
With the development of digital channels, the amount of data processed by marketers is growing exponentially. You need to be able to select key aspects from a large array of data and convey them to the audience in the most digestible way possible.
While data analysis will empower you with a data-based approach, data visualization is necessary for you to communicate your decisions with team and clients.
When working in B2B marketing, you have to deal with various decision-makers. Some of them will agree with your solutions, some will not. And it is extremely difficult to do marketing in case when you have to constantly prove your points.
You can solve this issue by speaking the right language. The language of data. Charts and infographics make it much easier for you to prove your point when there are a lot of people who are involved in the decision-making process.
Here are a couple of tools to make DataViz easier for you:
3. Content Marketing
You've definitely heard that "Content is the King" before. But have you ever thought why is it so? Is this cliche even true in 2020?
First of all, creating content allows you to showcase your expertise even before you have interacted with customers directly. Providing useful content will boost your credibility, thus increasing the conversion rate on every stage of your pipeline.
Starting from the awareness stage, your content can educate people about the problem you solve. Then, you can let people know there is a solution (which happens to be your service). After that, you share some info about your experience and the results you deliver and voila - you have the full sales cycle covered!
Besides this inbound marketing opportunity, creating content is a great way to keep your team in shape. When writing an article - a specialist would need to shift their attention from daily routines, conceptualize what they are doing, then describe everything in text. An awesome opportunity to see the bigger picture and add some mindfulness to their routine.
There are two major questions in content marketing:
- What to write about?
- How to promote what you have written?
With the first one - you would need to know what people are looking for. Answer the public is the exact service to help you with that.
Regarding the second one - there is no right or wrong solution. You should be present in every media your audience reads. As our services are designed to help marketers - they are our audience. For such cases, there is an awesome digital marketing community called Zest. A lovely platform to read (really) useful article and find a friend!
4. Social Media Marketing
In 2020, B2B segment of major social media continues to grow exponentially. With the overall number of users growing year by year, social media have become the most preferred online communication channel.
This does not mean that email marketing is dead, but social networks enable you to establish personal communication on a mass scale without wasting a ton of budget.
Besides this impressive outreach opportunity, social media have also become a wonderful prospecting tool, as you are able to learn about your customers...from the customers. People are literally speaking about their pain points! What's not to adore?
Knowing how social media work allows you to diversify your marketing strategy and approach your audience informally.
It's time to get rid of the outdated vision of B2B marketing as a boring shirt-and-tie communication. When working with companies - you are still working with people who deserve to be treated like such!
When working with social media, a nice planning tool might come in handy. We use Later for Instagram, as it has a nice visual representation, while other social media are covered with SocialBee. These are simple and minimalistic - exactly what you need.
5. Soft skills
This might be the most important point here. When working in the B2B segment, you will face a whole lot of stressful situations. In some cases, you are not even able to influence the situation, which makes it even more stressful!
Although, there still are people working around you and there are people on your client's side. It is your goal to put yourself in your clients' shoes, analyze their pain points, and make sure to address them in your communication.
Besides that, you need to be adaptive, as there is a whole lot of things that can go off-the-plan. And you can't be ready for everything.
That is why you would really need to master your interpersonal communication. To do that, you would need to become conscious of your emotions so you are able to let the stress go without being toxic to your environment.