The most important marketing and sales measures to increase B2B revenues

The digital needs in B2B marketing and sales are changing rapidly. We wanted to know in a flash survey how B2B companies deal with the most important challenges and measures.

Marketing and sales measures in B2B

Among survey participants, the most important marketing and sales measures are:

  • Inbound Marketing

  • Content marketing

  • and SEO

We further explored the question of what makes a successful content marketing strategy for B2B companies by comparing the results of the survey to the B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks from the Content Marketing Institute / MarketingProfs, which surveyed 1,798 companies in North America.

Survey participants from B2B, B2B2C and B2C

The 118 survey participants refer to different customer groups in terms of marketing and sales measures: B2B, B2C and B2B2C

  • Business-to-Business (B2B) 62.71 %, corresponding to 74 participants

  • Business-to-consumer (B2C) 19.49 %, corresponding to 23 participants

  • B2B and B2C hybrid (B2B2C) 17.80 %, equivalent to 21 participants

Sample N = 118, 19.02.2020

The following section discusses the B2B and B2B2C results in more detail.

What are the three most important marketing and sales measures to increase sales in B2B?

Most important marketing and sales measures for B2B and B2B2C companies

Source: own representation

Inbound Marketing / Content Marketing60.81%
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)55.41%
Email Marketing29.73%
Participation in trade fairs24.32%
Social media marketing22.97%
Search engine advertising (SEA)20.27%
E-commerce20.27%
Advertising in trade magazines12.16%
Direct marketing12.16%
Influencer Marketing8.11%
Online video advertising6.76%
Display Advertising6.76%
Affiliate Marketing5.41%

It was also mentioned that maintaining relationships via online and offline channels at the same time was the most important measure.

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What are the three most important challenges in marketing and sales in B2B?

Challenges for B2B and B2B2C companies

Source: own representation

Win new customers64.47%
Website visitors (traffic)57.89%
Generate leads57.89%
Integration with existing systems32.89%
Segment customers by product23.68%
Provide ROI on marketing activities22.37%
Training team, lack of know-how21.05%
Consideration of data security and privacy11.84%
Do not know how to start6.58%
Encounter internal resistance3.95%

It was also mentioned that it is difficult to find the time for content writing internally. Or it is a great effort to find the right external content writers for B2B.

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What do B2B companies that are successful with content marketing do differently?

We took a closer look at B2B companies that see digital marketing and sales as not very important and at the same time have other priorities in the company.

  • Companies that see digital as not very important didn't see a potential ROI on digital marketing projects for 2 years (compared to experienced digital companies at 1 year)

  • Similarly, content marketing was ranked as a top revenue driver by only 45% (compared to 63%) and SEO by only 36% (compared to 62%).

  • Only 9% see the task of segmenting customers by product as a challenge (compared to 32% for higher priority companies).

Content Marketing Benchmarks

We compared the results from our non-representative study to the larger Content Marketing Institute / MarketingProfs B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks survey, which polled 1,798 B2B companies in North America. A comparison to find out what the successful B2B companies are doing differently in content marketing:

Successful companiesAverageUnsuccessful companies
Use metrics to measure content performance & ROI95%80%62%
Deliver content to the right place at the right time93%71%37%
Weight informative content more than promotional content88%66%50%
Rate their own ability to demonstrate ROI as very good84%59%25%
Build a customer relationship84%63%39%
Actively nurture leads83%68%51%
Create an optimal customer experience along the customer journey83%52%23%
Have a documented content strategy69%41%16%
Build a readership68%45%30%

Source: own illustration based on B2B Content Marketing Report 2020, CMI Content Marketing Institute

Conclusion

B2B companies are focusing more and more on inbound / content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) in marketing and sales. The challenges such as gaining new customers, generating website visitors (traffic) and leads require a structured approach. B2B companies, can successfully do content marketing if they plan ahead accordingly:

  • Use metrics to measure content performance and ROI

  • Categorize and personalize content along the customer journey: deliver content automatically - when and where a person is most likely to see it

  • Prioritize customers' information needs over promotional messages

  • Documented and efficient content delivery and marketing strategy

  • Continuous building of subscriber lists