The view from 2021
A decade of digital upheaval has transformed B2B sales and marketing organizations.
Without question, the B2B battleground has moved online.
Data and analytics feed real-time analysis of customer preferences, and agile tactics help businesses respond with unprecedented speed. Pre-sale teams are aligning around sophisticated multi-channel orchestration to feed pipelines, with software driving advanced targeting for max lead quality. And content marketing programs are all but table stakes inside medium and large companies, propped up with purpose-built collaboration and distribution tools. Meanwhile, savvy B2B marketers continue to flock towards the latest strategic trends around account-based marketing, buyer enablement, AI attribution, dynamic video content, and personalization.
Without question, the B2B battleground has moved online, where the customer experience trumps all. Businesses spent lavishly over the last ten years on marketing technology to keep pace, but shifting buyer demographics and behaviors are calling for another course correction.
A growing share of B2B buyers' buying habits at work mirror their consumer habits at home, blurring the lines between B2C and B2B purchasing behavior. On the seller’s side, traditional strategies to capture leads and push them down-funnel are facing diminishing returns as channels saturate, buyer behaviors evolve, and personalization becomes the norm.
To stay relevant, B2B marketers need to adapt to a new reality where highly engaging content is the fuel that moves buyers through the journey. Whereas old-fashioned MQLs, selling and relationship-building used to move the needle, today’s businesses must rely on content marketing to do much of the selling for them. Taking stock of their assets, many sales and marketing leaders will find their content isn’t compelling enough to break through to today’s buyer and deliver on strategic KPIs.
It’s time to clean out the old toolbox of articles, static infographics, downloadable PDFs, sales proposals, e-brochures, and powerpoints and invest in ways to pack the buyer’s journey with intelligent, customizable, and engaging content at scale.