Nov 23, 2021

7 B2B Marketing Mistakes [and How to Prevent Them]

Let’s face it, nobody wants to make mistakes, especially when it involves your company’s bottom line. No doubt, you’ve worked hard to avoid them. And yet, over the years top B2B marketing companies everywhere identify marketing mistakes that so many businesses of all sizes – large and small, from mom and pop shops to Fortune 500 corporations – continue to make. Some of the errors involve failing to follow current B2B marketing best practices, while other pitfalls involve adopting just the superficial aspects of a B2B strategy or tactic while ignoring the rest.

As a marketing agency with over 20 years of experience providing B2B services to a number of companies in a range of industries, we’ve seen technologies and techniques evolve. However, the following B2B marketing missteps and sales snafus are ones that we encounter regularly. Read on to discover them and eliminate them from your own marketing efforts.

  1. No B2B marketing and sales alignment 

It’s become a cliché – the age old tug-of-war between marketing and sales. However, there’s a reason this old chestnut keeps getting repeated. When your sales and marketing teams don’t work together it has a negative effect on your marketing return on investment (ROI), sales productivity and revenue growth. It’s a shame, really, because both marketing and sales teams share the same goals – to drive sales and increase revenue.

Remedy: One key to eliminating the marketing and sales silos and to repairing the rift between the two teams is to merge them into one B2B revenue operations team. Another is to improve data integrity. For a more detailed look at what your B2B organization can do to align its sales and marketing teams, read this blog post.

  1. Neglecting to collect, track and analyze B2B customer data 

Circling back to data, the second B2B marketing mistake involves data hygiene, specifically neglecting to collect, track and analyze customer data. Your marketing team might have come up with an ad campaign or your digital team might have developed and launched a new set of landing pages, but how do you know if all the time, money and effort they put into those efforts are paying off? What about if you need to improve or change any elements? Have you determined the key performance indicators (KPIs) you should be tracking? Are they the right KPIs?

Remedy: From website traffic to email newsletter subscriptions and everything in between, your company has multiple opportunities for collecting, tracking and analyzing data. Beyond data collection, before you even start to look at tracking and analyzing the customer information you’ve collected, your organization needs to ensure your data is accurate, consistent, up-to-date and duplicate-free across all systems and touchpoints.

Next, make sure you’re tracking the right data. That latest blog post you published might be getting a lot of traffic, but what are readers doing after they click on the link in search results? Tools such as Google Analytics provide statistics on how long a visitor spent on a webpage and if they clicked on any other links on your site. For example, all the traffic from that new blog article is worthless if people realize it’s not the information they needed and immediately leave.

When it comes to data and tracking online traffic, leads and conversions, there’s a lot to think about. For more on data quality, take a look at this article on how it can make or break a business – specifically if you’re thinking of moving into B2B eCommerce.

  1. Forgetting about Calls to Action (CTAs) in B2B marketing

A call to action (CTA) is a clear, concise, compelling phrase that tells a visitor who sees an online ad, visits a landing page, sees a post on social media, lands on one of your blog posts, reads an email you sent them, etc., where to go next and what they will find when they get there. The most common and often most effective CTAs say something like, “Learn More,” “Contact Us,” “Call Now,” or “Register Now.”

Without a CTA, your customers don’t know what they need to do to access the offer or product you presented to them. And no matter how badly they might want to see a demo, sign up for a webinar or download an e-book, if they can’t see and click on a button or a link to accomplish those things, they won’t go the extra mile to find out how. And yet, many organizations either use unclear and overly clever CTAs, or worse, no CTAs at all.

Remedy: There are two important things B2B companies can do to address this all too common marketing mistake:

  1. Follow the “keep it simple, silly” (K.I.S.S.) rule for all CTAs. When in doubt, something like “Learn More” works in many different situations.
  2. Perform A/B tests on CTAs and other elements. (Learn more about A/B testing here).

4. Overlooking B2B Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Like B2C customers, B2B buyers begin their search for new products and services online. 71% of B2B customer research starts on Google. Getting your B2B website found online is crucial. And to ensure you appear at the top of a search results page, you need SEO. It’s vital to appearing on the first page when a potential customer searches for a product or service your business provides. Still not convinced? A strong SEO strategy helps drive more traffic to your important pages on your website and results in more leads, conversions and sales. Think of it this way, if you wouldn’t build a house without a foundation, you shouldn’t forget about optimizing your online content for search engines.

Remedy: SEO is a huge area, with many moving parts. It’s not a one and done task either, but multiple tasks and tactics performed, tracked and evaluated over time. Hire an experienced SEO person or team to optimize your website and landing pages for search and to advise you on any new SEO content assets you will need to create. And how do they determine all that and more? With data from search engines and data from traffic and user behavior on your website.

Bottom line: SEO is the fundamental building block of B2B digital marketing. If you’re not investing in it, it’s a mistake you’ll want to fix sooner, rather than later.

  1. Guessing about B2B customer wants, needs, habits and intent

You might think you know your customer, but if you’re relying on things like gut instinct and years of experience in your industry, but not specific customer data, then your business is probably making mistake number five. Sure, by guessing or assuming about customer intent and behavior, you might be getting things right some of the time. Your company might even be on the right track for one or two aspects of your target B2B buyer’s behavior most of the time. But what if you could make accurate predictions and tailor your B2B marketing strategy to not just a general B2B target audience, but every member involved in the B2B buying decision process from gatekeepers to final decision-makers?

Remedy: Again, just as with the other methods for avoiding B2B marketing mistakes, the answer is data. But that’s not the end of it. Take key demographics and characteristics of each of your target customer groups and use it to create highly targeted, well-defined B2B buyer personas. These buyer personas can then be used to further hone your marketing messaging to specific audience segments.

  1. Ignoring the social aspect of B2B social media marketing

LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media sites are all places many businesses maintain profiles. Social media is a great way to distribute and promote your blog posts, post job openings and share what’s going on inside your company culture. Social media marketing also is a great way to advertise your B2B business to highly targeted audiences for a lower cost than other types of online advertising, including Google Search Ads. However, if all you’re using Facebook or LinkedIn for is marketing, you’re making one of the top B2B marketing mistakes – forgetting the word “social” in social media.

Remedy: Don’t just post content to social media or pay for an ad on LinkedIn and then forget about them. Instead, monitor comments and engagement on your ads and posts. And don’t stop there. Interact with your target audience on social channels. Reply to comments on your company posts and respond when they share it to their contacts.

Smart businesses take things a step further by creating industry and/or customer groups on social media. Facebook and LinkedIn both allow you to create groups and Twitter recently launched a new feature called Communities. All of these allow you to create mini-online discussion groups where you can host weekly industry talks, post live video webinars and product demos, network with your audience and key industry partners, and gather data on customer behavior, customer questions and customer intent.

  1. Failing to invest in B2B market research

When it comes to making mistakes in marketing your services to other companies, it really all boils down to not investing in market research in one way or another. From search intent to purchase intent; from B2B messaging to effectively aligning your marketing and sales teams, it all involves data. Without using both customer and competitive research as key components of your B2B strategy, you’re essentially flying blind when it comes to designing marketing and advertising campaigns.

Remedy: If you take away one thing from this blog, it’s that research and data need to be the fuel that powers your B2B marketing and sales engine. From in-depth employee and customer surveys to searcher behavior statistics and graphs from Google Analytics, data is what drives everything from budgets to messaging to strategy and more.






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