Where it concerns technology and marketing, the cycle feeds itself. Every new advance in tech or cutting-edge trend redefines the expectations of buyers. Thus marketers are always having to leverage new trends in order to satisfy the ever-changing demands of their audience. This is especially true in the B2B world.
Cloud computing, for example, was a seismic shift in the tech landscape. SaaS started as a hot new trend and today this industry enjoys double-digit annual growth driven by small and medium-sized businesses. It’s so ubiquitous that B2B operations across the board now almost universally demand the industry-specific features and security safeguards that only cloud can provide.
So the moral of the story is that if you’re in the software, IT, and tech industries, and you ignore emerging trends, you do so at your own risk. Staying up to date with these changes is integral to increasing your audience demand, sales opportunities, lead generation, and conversions. To that end, here are a number of current trends that all tech companies should invest in.
What do you do if you have a high-traffic but low-converting webpage? One answer is to engage those viewers by making it interactive. Gamification offers everything that audiences love, including challenges, competition, a sense of achievement, and reward. Anything you can do to inject some fun into the proceedings will only boost engagement.
There are plenty of modern examples that illustrate the success of implementing game mechanics into your website and/or app. Avnet Technology Solutions, for example, implemented their “Quantum Leap” sales training enablement platform to sell NetApp products. The result is that they greatly increased the number of partners selling these products and their revenue grew from 5% to 10.7% in just three years.
E-commerce powerhouse Amazon also enjoyed success when they wanted to create a more dynamic B2B strategy. After implementing a new interactive content strategy, they saw a 171% YOY increase in new business opportunities.
And the list goes on and on.
But lead generation isn’t the only benefit—gamification is a tool with many other applications as well. You can utilize game elements effectively be it for marketing, recruitment, project management, or to boost the efficiency of work processes. Consider Slalom Consulting. This Seattle-based business and tech company added gamification to an employee name-recognition program designed to improve internal communication. As a result, participation increased by 90% and name-recognition scores improved by 89%.
Redefining your value proposition
No one ever promised that things would always stay the same. For a long time, the norm was to define value propositions by features. We certainly see that in the B2C space, with everything from candy bars touting how their product has more nuts than the competition to mobile companies boasting their smartphones have more battery life than the next guy. But the current trend in the B2B space is to be more nuanced and create a value prop that offers something more fundamental to your audience.
- “Protect your data without lifting a finger”
“Send better email”
“Save time; innovate more”
- “Boost your ROI 200%”
These are all value props that focus on the ingrained value of what you offer as opposed to the specific features of your product or service. Now, defining what you offer based on value to the customer isn’t always quick and easy. You have to take into consideration the pain points of the target audience you’re appealing to, as well as their overriding goals and the challenges they face in reaching them.
For example, say you’re selling a data protection solution. Do you think your branding will have more of an effect if you tout its deep application integration and in-line duplication, or if you play up the fact it’s a “set it and forget it” solution that offers a piece of mind without having to lift a finger?
The answer should be clear.
Sales enablement tools
One of the most common reasons marketing and sales departments butt heads has to do with the overall quality of the leads. This should be familiar to anyone who’s ever run a business: sales complains that marketing isn’t giving them enough support, or that they’re giving them lousy leads. Enter lead scoring, a system designed to rank your potential customers to ensure that the sales department only works the hottest prospects.
In the B2B world this is invaluable, especially since tech companies see longer sales cycles. And putting such a lead-qualification system in place requires the assistance of sales enablement tools. Hubspot has their own software, but there are plenty of other sales enablement solutions out there as well. Most of the tools you’ll find offer solutions that apply to one or more of three categories:
- Sales engagement
- Sales asset management
- Sales readiness
Within these categories, you’ll find the various strategies that can help increase productivity and efficiency. For example, optimum training and coaching can help boost sales readiness; performance analytics and asset distribution is the foundation of solid sales management, and email tracking and workflow automation facilitates sales engagement.
So investing in a software solution that manages these various considerations is a must for any B2B company in this day and age.
Scaling content with marketing automation
Speaking of solutions, investing in automation software that gives you a hyper-connected view of all your campaign elements and how they feed and support each other is crucial Take your content strategy, for example. Does it scale or is it stagnant?
Say all of your current content initiatives are generating 10 qualified leads total. Marketing automation software will tell you exactly where those leads are coming from, whether they’re the result of organic Twitter posts, back-linking, Facebook/YouTube likes, or LinkedIn shares. This information will tell you where to focus your efforts in order to scale your content.
Moreover, a solid program will allow you to seamlessly integrate your qualified leads into an automated email workflow. This will be especially efficient considering these workflows will be an extension of whatever website, social media share, or like generated interest in the content in the first place.
These are a few trends tech marketers should keep their eye on in 2018. That aside, it’s important to leverage these trends in accordance with your overall goals. Don’t lose sight of your content marketing, as this is vital to B2B tech marketing more than ever before. Also, try moving beyond a focus on the product and adopt a longer-term strategy of educating your target audience and focusing on overall value.