Social Listening: The Power to Gain Business Insights and Increase Sales

Social Listening: The Power to Gain Business Insights and Increase Sales

 

Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.

¬ Stephen Covey

 
 

The quote mentioned above pretty much sums up how we view listening to others. The same goes true for many businesses. Thus, it is not a surprise how many companies fail because they fail to understand their customers.

As a B2B company, you don’t have to walk this path, but you can start honing your social listening skills. When you begin to do that, you won’t have to wonder what went wrong with your market research. Instead, you will gain more business insights and understand your customers more.

 

The Science of Social Listening

Social listening is more of a science than art because it includes analytics, metrics, and actionable insights. Despite these elements, however, it is not as complicated as it might look or sound. In fact, Stephen Covey’s quote above can also be the best definition of social listening.

When you listen, you don’t just monitor or reply to all incoming questions or comments about your brand. Instead, you listen so you can analyze and reflect on all the data you get from different social conversations.

As you ‘meditate’ upon this information, you gain more insight which you can utilize for your overall strategy.

 

Here’s an example of how this works:

 

A digital marketing company has been experiencing a high demand for their services both from old and new clients. These clients also left a lot of positive reviews on different social media platforms and forums.

However, that happy tune began to change after a few months. First, only very few customers started posting negative comments. Because the numbers were insignificant, it did not raise any alarm. However, as the days went by, the trickle of complaints became a deluge.

If you look at it on a general level, it will be easy to conclude that the whole team has a problem and end up with a solution that won’t address the solution. However, if you look at what the people are saying in the comments of your various social media site, you will realize what precisely is your problem. Then, you can apply a more specific solution.

Related: Leverage Social Media’s Influence to Reach More Targeted Customers

 

How Can You Utilize Social Listening for Your Business?

Now that you understand what social listening is, the real challenge is how to utilize its power for your business fully. Let’s take a closer look at various ways you can make it work for you.

 

Create New Marketing Campaigns

When you listen, you can gain better business insights and identify new opportunities straight from the marketplace. You can use that information to create a more effective and relevant strategy.

One company that used social listening to its advantage was the lingerie company, Adore Me, for their #SelfLoveNote contest. It all started with customers who were inquiring about modeling opportunities in the company. Instead of answering those replies directly, they launched a competition to find the new model for their brand.

They asked fans to create a video of them lip syncing a love song and post it on Instagram with the hashtag #SelfLoveNotes. The winner would receive a modeling contract with the company, cash price, and an all-expense paid trip to New York.

Related: Understanding Multi-channel, Cross-channel and Omnichannel Marketing

 

Improve Customer Experience

You will face different sets of challenges and obstacles that could have a significant effect on your customer experience. The more significant challenge, however, is how you can distinguish whether a problem is a large issue or just an isolated incident. Social listening will help you identify which is which, allowing you to focus on the more significant trends rather than a one-off issue.

One company that applied this was GoPro for their Hero4 model. Many of the features in the GoPro Hero4 came from customer suggestions and feedback of the Hero3+. The company put all of them into consideration and used it as an inspiration for their succeeding models.

 

Make Strategic Decisions

Innovation requires market research. Combine that with social listening, and you have two winning punches. You can see this in action with the GoPro example in the previous point. With social listening, you will be able to find:

  • The products/features that your customers like or dislike
  • The kind of products they want
  • The products that are highly in demand

Related: 5 Important Decisions for Every Entrepreneur

 

Key Takeaway

Social listening gives you a better understanding of what your clients want. To get most out of it, closely follow what people are saying about your brand. Don’t just focus on the apparent trends but the subtle ones as well. Most of all, make listening to a habit at every level in your business.

 

Author Bio:

Rebecca Matias

Rebecca Matias is a Business Development Manager at Callbox. She is a proactive marketer who is willing to share her passion, leadership principles and craft in marketing. Follow Rebecca on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

 

 

Gain insight into information drawn from Callbox past campaigns

Try out our new My Industry Insights tool

Try out the 'My Industry Insights' Tool

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Leverage Social Media's Influence to Reach More Targeted Customers

A B2B Guide to Winning New Customers and Repeat Business [INFOGRAPHIC]

Much ink has already been spilled on the topic of customer acquisition vs. customer retention. Conventional marketing wisdom holds that retaining current customers is way easier, cheaper, and better than attracting new ones. But the fact remains that you need to maintain the right revenue mix between new and existing customers to sustainably grow.

That’s what our latest infographic helps you achieve. In today’s entry, we compare how selling to new customers differs from targeting repeat business so that you’ll get a good grasp of how to tailor your marketing strategy for each group.

 

A B2B Guide to Winning New Customers and Repeat Business [INFOGRAPHIC]

 

Almost all B2B marketers agree that the path to consistent sales growth starts with the right balance between new customers and repeat purchases, but most organizations follow marketing strategies which are heavily skewed toward customer acquisition. Surveys carried out by Econsultancy and Act-On found that:

33% of marketers plan to increase spending on customer acquisition vs. 18% on customer retention

 

82% of B2B marketers prioritize lead generation, while 43% focus on customer retention

Too much emphasis on new customers can leave your current customer base behind, which means you’re potentially racking up missed opportunities for upselling and cross-selling, not to mention losing out on customer loyalty and referrals. For businesses that provide subscription-based services (such as SaaS companies), the opportunity cost from overlooking current customers can be far more serious.

On the other hand, B2B companies also need to haul in a steady stream of fresh customers. Customer acquisition brings in the needed business to build a solid client base and counter customer churn. That’s why startups and other companies that have yet to establish their brand prioritize acquisition.

Related: 10 Affordable Marketing Ideas for Software Startups

How should you balance finding new customers and keeping current ones? A study from Optimove partly answers this question. Their research looks at 180 brands in a variety of growth stages and compares these companies’ new:existing customer ratios. The findings suggest that organizations’ optimal revenue mix largely depends on business maturity and growth level:

  • Younger companies with stagnating revenue growth typically have 90% of revenues from new customers. This means new customers aren’t translating into steady, recurrent revenues, and they need to tilt this ratio more toward repeat business.
  • Young, fast-growing companies also tend to have a revenue mix that’s weighted more toward new customers, but they derive at least 30% of revenues from existing customers.
  • Established, steadily-growing companies generate 60% to 80% of their revenues from existing customers.
  • Older companies with stagnating revenue growth derive around 90% of sales from existing customers. However, this degree of dependence on repeat business indicates reduced spend levels on the part of their current customers.

All this means that companies need to find the sweet spot between new and repeat business. The first step is to find out how these two groups compare with one another.

The infographic uses seven essential qualities to help you determine how to engage each customer type: buyer profile, pain points/purchase drivers, outreach tactics, revenue potential, costs/profitability, and relevant metrics.

It’s clear that each customer group has its own set of unique qualities, which also means each customer type requires its own marketing approach. So, keep these characteristics in mind as you develop and refine your customer acquisition and retention strategies.

 

Author Bio:

Rebecca Matias

Rebecca Matias is a Business Development Manager at Callbox. She is a proactive marketer who is willing to share her passion, leadership principles and craft in marketing. Follow Rebecca on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

 

How do you balance gaining new customers and winning repeat business?
We’d love to hear your insights, share them below! 🙂

 

 

Gain insight into information drawn from Callbox past campaigns

Try out our new My Industry Insights Tool

Try out the 'My Industry Insights' Tool

Ready to get started? Book a call with our consultant

or Dial 888.810.7464 | WhatsApp +65 8232 2417

 

 

Grab a copy of our FREE EBOOK, Targeted B2B Marketing: Guide, Checklists, and Worksheets! A comprehensive guide to targeted marketing to help organizations get in front of the right people at the right time through the right channels with the right message to influence a purchase.

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Effective Ways To Maximize Your Company’s Business Cards [GUEST POST]

Effective Ways To Maximize Your Company’s Business Cards

Examine your wallet right now, and you’ll probably find at least one business card hiding within its folds. Even though your business card measures a mere 2 by 3.5 inches (5 by 9 cm), it remains a powerful marketing tool you can use to create new sales for your company. Improve its effectiveness in several ways.

 

Prioritize Brand Consistency

For your business card to do its job, people should connect it with your brand. Prioritize consistency when you include colors and other brand elements from your company’s website, letterhead and other marketing materials.

 

Embrace a Unique Design

Dozens of online sources offer business cards, however, you want to stand out. Check out your competitor’s business cards, and hire a graphic designer to create one that’s totally unique.

Related: 3 Design Best Practices to Fine-Tune Your Next Content for Visual Learners

 

Feature your Unique Selling Proposition

Advertise your story on your business card. The fact that your gluten-free cupcakes earned a taste test award or that you’re a small business tax expert helps you stand out from your competition.

Related: Three Ways to Promote your B2B Business Offline

 

Utilize Both Sides

One side of your business card will include your logo and contact information. Instead of leaving the other side blank, though, include relevant information that’s useful for your customers and clients, such as:

  • Product pictures
  • Offers, discounts or coupons
  • Company or product reviews
  • Quotes
  • Annual calendar
  • Fun facts about your company or industry

 

Create a Memento

To ensure your business cards gets used, give it a secondary purpose. People are more likely to keep your card if it also serves as a bookmark, magnet, sticker, scratch card, event ticket, or other mementos.

 

Add a QR Code

As you hand out your business cards, you may wonder if they make a difference. Add a QR code to your cards so you can track how often potential customers check out your company’s website. Use the data to tweak your business card design.

Related: Digital & Paper: How Content Marketing Affects Consumers

 

Include Contact Information

The people who receive your business card will need a way to get in touch with you. If possible, include your email address, phone number, website, social media details, and physical address if you operate a brick and mortar location. Otherwise, include the website address or video channel where customers can find additional ways to contact you.

 

Update Cards as Needed

While you could cross out old information on your business cards, that look is unprofessional. Order updated cards when your contact information or other business details change.

 

Carry Business Cards at all Times

Your business cards can’t work for you unless you carry them with you at all times. Then, you can give cards to prospective customers, your taxi driver or any potential customer you meet throughout the week.

 

Add Business Cards to Mailings

When you pay bills, mail invoices and ship packages for your business, drop a business card into each envelope or shipment. This strategy gives your customers another reminder to contact you.

 

Utilize Community Bulletin Boards

In grocery stores, restaurants and businesses around town, you may find dozens of community bulletin boards. Post a few cards on each board to share your company with people in your community.

 

Record Appointments on the Back

Calendar, memo and productivity apps help your customers record appointments, but you can also include a reminder on your business cards. After scheduling an appointment with your client, write the appointment date, time and location on the back of the card. Your customer can then place the card on their refrigerator or clip it to their desk calendar where they’ll have your contact information within easy reach at all times.

 

Partner with Other Professionals

As a business owner, you know many other professionals who work in non-competing but related industries. Partner with these professionals and distribute each other’s cards to prospective customers.

 

Provide Business Cards to your Employees

All the employees in your company play a role in boosting exposure and sales. Give them personalized business cards to hand out everywhere they go. To improve ROI, challenge employees to come up with creative distribution ideas.

 

Use a Sturdy Storage Solution

Purchase a plain, fancy or branded metal business card case to protect your advertising tools. Remember that a wrinkled or torn card sends the wrong message to customers.

With your business cards, you can effectively market your company. Use these ways to maximize your business cards and boost sales.

 

Author Bio:

PJ Taei

PJ is the founder of Uscreen, a video monetization platform to help you sell any kind of videos online. He’s active on Twitter and Facebook.

 

 

Read more B2B Marketing Strategies. Subscribe to The Savvy Marketer!

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30 Must-Know Resources for Your Last-Minute GDPR Preparations

30 Must-Know Resources for Your Last-Minute GDPR Preparations

30 Must-Know Resources for Your Last-Minute GDPR Preparations

Those of you of a certain age will recall the great Y2K scare that gripped the world at the turn of the century. Now, as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) takes effect in a little over two weeks, many sources are calling it the “Y2K of B2B Marketing.”

But beyond the hype and fanfare, the GDPR is an opportunity for you to improve the way your organization collects, handles, and uses customer/prospect data.

While the GDPR is widely considered to be the most complex piece of legislation the EU has ever produced, it all boils down to making sure that personal data is kept and used in a transparent manner.

That’s why you should be making the final touches to your GDPR preparations by now. This post rounds up the top-rated resources to help you go over your last-minute GDPR checklist. Keep in mind this article only includes marketing tips. At no point should it be taken as legal advice.

 

GDPR: Prepare, Don’t Panic

In the late 1990s, people feared that the world’s computer systems (and everything that depended on it) would fail when the calendar turned over into January 1, 2000, due to a glaring vulnerability present in most computer architectures at that time.

In response to dire warnings and predictions on the Y2K bug’s possible impact, businesses and governments across the world reviewed and upgraded their IT infrastructures, collectively spending at least $300 billion (in year 2000 dollars) on Y2K fixes.

The new millennium finally arrived with minimal Y2K-related disruptions, except for a few relatively minor incidents (temporary power outages, disconnected phone lines, etc.) in some scattered places across the globe. It looked like a worldwide catastrophe had been averted.

While still being debated until today, some sources argue that it was the frenzied pace of preparations by companies and governments that saved the world. Others, meanwhile, think the entire Y2K problem had been blown out of proportion, and that organizations that geared up for it were simply overreacting.

But despite these opposing views, businesses that took the step toward Y2K-readiness actually got something more from their efforts than just being spared from potential disaster. The Y2K problem forced companies to sort out and streamline all the various overlapping IT components in their organization. In other words, businesses modernized and strengthened their IT systems by trying to fix the Y2K bug.

The same can be said of the GDPR. If you’ve been following nothing but headlines on the topic, it’s easy to get carried away by all the talk of gloom and doom. In reality, although the implementation date draws closer, the GDPR’s exact implications have yet to be determined—a fact which even the European Commission admits.

It doesn’t really matter whether the GDPR’s anticipated impact on marketing turns out to be spot on or overblown. Working toward GDPR compliance will benefit your organization on so many levels, not only in avoiding the steep penalties associated with violations.

GDPR-readiness actually helps you develop more robust and effective data management processes. By setting standards that ensure your data assets are accurate and in order, the GDPR gets your data in the right shape for gleaning useful information and actionable insights.

That’s on top of other organizational benefits like boosting your cybersecurity posture and protecting your company against data breaches and theft.

This is why preparing for GDPR is a step in the right direction.

 

Some Last-Minute Resources for Your GDPR To-Do List

With just two more weeks left, most businesses are working round the clock to get everything ready before the May 25 deadline. At the current rate that things are going, however, it’s clear that only a few will actually be able to become GDPR-compliant once the law takes effect.

In fact, recent surveys find that between a third to 60% of companies won’t reach GDPR-readiness on time. Even within EU-member states, only a very small number of businesses think they’re prepared or up to speed with the upcoming regulation.

That’s despite having had a two-year window to prepare for the GDPR and thousands upon thousands of materials dedicated to the topic. The road to GDPR compliance still remains as winding as ever with detours and dead ends along the way. It’s no wonder why 89% of companies worldwide admit they’re still confused with key elements of the new law.

Whatever your level of preparation, the May 25 deadline will soon be arriving. As you wrap up or ramp up compliance measures, you need to make sure you’ve got the essentials all covered.

We’ve hand-picked the top resources (articles, whitepapers, infographics, etc.) from trusted sources to help you go over each step of your GDPR compliance to-do list. These are grouped according to the typical items in a GDPR-readiness checklist as follows:

 

Understanding the Legislation

By now, you probably have a pretty decent grasp of what the GDPR is all about. The GDPR significantly enhances data privacy protection for anyone in the EU (including both citizens and non-citizens) which the law calls “data subjects”, giving people greater control over their personal data while also increasing the duties and responsibilities of organizations that collect or process personal data.

The new law not only impacts businesses directly operating in the EU but also applies to any non-EU company that targets or tracks any individual residing in the EU. In other words, your company is subject to the GDPR if it processes or handles the personal data of EU citizens or residents.

To understand exactly what responsibilities the GDPR imposes and which types of data it aims to protect, you need to be familiar with the GDPR’s legislation. Here’s a list of resources to help you get acquainted with the letter of the GDPR law:

 

Doing a Data Processing Inventory

The GDPR specifies several reporting requirements, including “records of processing activities” indicated under Article 30. Records of processing activities provide information on how and why personal data is being processed. This report allows you to show regulators your organization is complying with the GDPR.

Unlike traditional data inventory/mapping, a data processing inventory looks at how data moves through each of your business processes, not just account for various data assets or where they’re being stored.

To implement this requirement, you first need to identify and locate all pieces of personal data in your organization and then indicate where they come from, how they’re being processed, and where they’re going.

The following resources offer up some very useful information on carrying out a data processing inventory for GDPR compliance:

Related: Declare Your Independence from Bad Data: A 5-Step Plan

 

Updating Your Opt-In and Privacy Policies

Under Article 6, the GDPR mentions that data subjects must provide consent to the processing of their personal data before you can legally collect their information. Consent requires a positive opt-in (not pre-ticked boxes or any kind of consent by default).

All your opt-in forms must clearly state why you’re collecting the personal info, how you’re going to store and use it, and what you’re going to send. Your marketing database should contain only contacts who have explicitly and clearly provided their consent.

In addition, the GDPR provides rules on giving privacy notices to data subjects, specifically under Articles 12, 13, and 14. You need to thoroughly review your privacy notices and make sure they’re clear, concise, and easy-to-understand.

Several sources cite that making consent and privacy notices GDPR-compliant can be a little tricky. Here are a few useful guides to ensure you take the proper steps:

 

Rethinking Your Marketing Processes

We’ve already seen some possible ways GDPR can impact your opt-in tactics and list management strategies. In some cases, working toward GDPR compliance may require a substantial rethink of many of your traditional and digital marketing processes.

For example, the new law makes it clear you must obtain positive opt-in (not implied or default opt-in) in order to legally collect personal data, which means some lead capture tactics may potentially run afoul of the GDPR.

Also, you may need to take a look at your website cookie policy and consider providing the option for site visitors to disable cookies before browsing your site.

Another crucial area to recheck for GDPR compliance is your marketing automation platform or CRM. This is most likely where the bulk of personal data resides, so it’s an important item in your data processing inventory.

There are definitely more components in your marketing process that need to be looked into. Check out the following resources to help prepare your marketing strategy for GDPR compliance:

Related: Understanding Multi-channel, Cross-channel and Omnichannel Marketing

 

Conducting a Cybersecurity Review

Article 32 requires companies to put in place “technical and organizational measures to ensure a level of security appropriate to the risk”, and provides practical guidelines for handling personal data in a secure manner.

The Article further stipulates that in order to securely handle personal information, companies must use the latest available tools, keep only the minimum amount of data possible for performing a task and adjust their security measures to match the risk and impact of a breach.

Violations of Article 32 carry hectic fines of up to €10 million or 2% of your previous financial year’s worldwide revenues (whichever is higher). So, you should complete a comprehensive review of your cybersecurity posture. Here’s a couple of resources to help you do this:

 

Auditing Third-Party Data

One common question that gets asked a lot in relation to the GDPR is whether the new regulation allows the use of purchased or rented third-party data. The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) lays out guidelines for businesses to properly use third-party data once the GDPR takes effect:

Before Buying/Renting:

  • Check if the vendor has provided contacts clear, concise, and accurate privacy notices
  • Did all the contacts in the bought/rented database give consent as defined in the GDPR
  • Make sure that the contacts explicitly allowed their personal data to be shared and indicated in what manner
  • Assess the vendor in terms of reputation, complaints, data collection processes, etc.
  • Require the vendor to put all the above information in writing

After Buying/Renting:

  • Test samples of the data for accuracy and validity
  • Remove unnecessary data; keep only what you need
  • Provide contacts with your own GDPR-compliant privacy notices
  • Ensure that contacts give you explicit and clear consent
  • Give contacts the choice to opt-out

Different sources warn that using third-party data always carries some level of risk. Once you buy or rent third-party data, you need to fully understand your responsibilities and must be ready to handle any complaints or legal actions as a result of using it. Here are a few helpful materials on this subject that you should definitely pay attention to:

Related: The Essential Checklist to Finding a Decent Leads Database Provider

 

Assigning Data Protection Responsibilities

Under Article 37, the GDPR requires an organization to appoint a data protection officer if it meets any of the following three conditions:

  1. it is a public agency,
  2. it’s engaged in the regular or systematic large-scale monitoring of people, or
  3. it processes sensitive data on a large scale.

A data protection officer (DPO) acts as the “independent advocate” for the proper treatment of data subjects’ personal information in a company, similar to an internal auditor. It’s clear under Article 37 that only specific organizations must designate a DPO, but most experts contend that the language is wide open to interpretation.

So, if you’re still unsure whether your company needs a DPO, the following resources should help you decide:

 

Getting Professional Help

With nearly 9 in 10 companies still unable to get a good grasp of some GDPR basics, it makes sense that most businesses seek outside help when navigating the uncharted waters of GDPR compliance. The demand for GDPR expertise is so strong, an entire cottage industry has now sprung up around GDPR consulting.

Despite all the valuable resources available out there, we strongly recommend against DIY GDPR compliance. There’s just no substitute for expert opinion on the many legal and technical questions involved. Here’s a couple of guides on finding and getting the right GDPR advisory services:

 

The Takeaway:  The countdown to the May 25 deadline grows smaller and smaller. As you work toward GDPR readiness, it’s important to look at the new regulation as an opportunity to improve how you manage your data assets. If you move past the FUD, the GDPR looks more like a way to strengthen your core business as a data-driven organization, and less like an expensive mistake waiting to happen.

 

Author Bio:

Rebecca Matias

Rebecca Matias is a Business Development Manager at Callbox. She is a proactive marketer who is willing to share her passion, leadership principles and craft in marketing. Follow Rebecca on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

 

What does GDPR mean for your B2B Marketing strategies?
Share your thoughts in the comments below! 🙂

 

 

Read more B2B Marketing Strategies. Subscribe to The Savvy Marketer!

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Industry Insights: The 5 Types of Buyers You Meet in Cloud Selling

Industry Insights: The 5 Types of Buyers You Meet in Cloud Selling

The earliest known use of the term ‘Cloud’ to refer to off-premise computing and storage took place in a 1996 Compaq business plan. The document pretty much foresaw many of the things that would eventually make up early iterations of the Cloud.

It accurately predicted how enterprise software would be replaced by web-based services and that users would access applications through the Internet, not on local machines—exactly a full decade before the official launch of AWS.

 

Cloud Buyer 2.0

Now, over 20 years on, as the Cloud transitions into what many folks in the industry consider as ‘Cloud 2.0’, it resembles very little of what it looked like even just a few short years ago.

The Cloud used to be all about agility, scalability, efficiency, and cost savings. Originally implemented in stand-alone, low-risk business areas (such as web hosting, development testing, CRM, etc.), the Cloud has now become a key component in almost every business IT portfolio. Today’s cloud architectures are smarter, dynamic, and (more importantly) business-critical.

Alongside these sweeping changes, cloud customers have evolved, too. As I-CIO observes, modern cloud buyers look at cloud technologies not only as cost-saving measures but as part of their core business and overall strategy.

This refocus has created a more diverse ecosystem of cloud buyers, with different customers having their own expectations and requirements. Businesses’ IT buying needs are maturing, and this change is reflected in the things buyers take into account when evaluating cloud providers and services:

  • Does the application help the buyer become a leading supplier and serve their customers better?
  • Does the time it take to modify an existing application remain within business timelines?
  • What are the costs of switching into and out of a cloud service?
  • How does the vendor guarantee security and compliance?
  • What is the level of interoperability and compatibility with other cloud services?

Related: Cloudy with a Chance of Fog: A Quick Cloud Computing Update

 

The Different Cloud Buyer Types You Need to Know

To be more effective at reaching their target audience, marketers clearly need to become firmly acquainted with the different buyer groups that make up today’s B2B cloud market. Let’s dig into the findings of two recently published studies on cloud buyer types to help us get to know potential cloud customers better.

Last year, Bane & Co. released a research brief ‘The Changing Faces of the Cloud’ which tracked the evolution of enterprise cloud buyers since the late aughts up to the onset of Cloud 2.0. The study identifies several distinct types of buyers and explains many of their defining characteristics.

In a similar line of inquiry, ISG’s ‘Provider Lens Archetype Report 2017’ drills down on the different buyer “archetypes” that influence public cloud purchase decisions. The report draws a lot of interesting insight on each group and outlines what customers expect and demand from vendors.

While the two studies group B2B cloud customers a bit differently, the underlying qualities neatly align into five key buyer profiles:

 

1. Transformational

Transformational buyers consist of early adopters already heavily dependent on the Cloud. Performance and scalability top their list of factors for buying cloud services, and they tend to deemphasize cost savings as a purchase driver. Most transformational buyers look for innovative cloud services and work with vendors that offer best-in-class support.

According to the Bane & Co. brief, transformational buyers already had around 40% of their IT environments running on at least one cloud service in 2011. By 2015, this number was close to 70%.

But as a source of current cloud demand, transformational buyers no longer lead the market. In 2017, they account for 26% of demand for cloud services, versus 47% in 2011.

Actionable Tip: Transformational buyers resemble ISG’s “next-gen buyers”. To tailor your marketing messages according to what next-gen buyers require, keep in mind that these buyers:

  • Follow a “cloud-first” approach (meaning they’re not weighed down by legacy system requirements)
  • Focus on “born-in-the-cloud” applications
  • Consider IT as a “change agent” (IT is a revenue and growth driver)

2. Heterogeneous

These buyers are also starting to move some of their workloads to the Cloud, but are keeping their migration at a slower pace because of the complexity of their current IT systems and their future IT needs.

As a result, heterogeneous cloud buyers maintain an entire mix of public and private cloud components in their IT portfolio. It’s typical for heterogeneous buyers to distribute their workloads across various SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS providers while keeping some of it on-premise.

Actionable Tip:  ISG points out that this type of cloud buyer generally takes a long-term strategic view about their IT capabilities and requirements. Heterogeneous buyers tend to:

  1. Already have plans and timelines to migrate a bigger portion of their IT workloads to the Cloud
  2. Use the strategic value of cloud investment to justify their decisions
  3. Choose a given cloud solution based on its workload-specific advantage

Related: The B2B Buying Process Has Changed: Here’s How Not to Get Left Behind

3. Security-Conscious

These buyers look to become public cloud users but are holding back due to a whole host of factors, mainly industry regulations, privacy laws, and security requirements.

As a result, security-conscious cloud buyers tend to have the bulk of their cloud applications running on private cloud environments. They prefer to work with vendors that offer secure, dedicated cloud platforms.

Bane & Co. estimates that security-conscious cloud customers make up around 20% of the market, while cloud spending represents 26% of their IT budget.

Actionable Tip:  While security-conscious buyers naturally gravitate toward private cloud providers, recent trends indicate they’re also increasingly becoming avid users of public cloud services, especially as public cloud vendors are now better able to comply with security standards. Reaching out to security-conscious cloud buyers means you need to:

  • Help them carry out due diligence (which is mandatory in some industries)
  • Be transparent about technical security measures (network, servers, platform, databases, etc.)
  • Demonstrate compliance with industry-specific requirements (HIPAA, PCI-DS, GDPR, etc.)

4. Price-Conscious

Price-conscious buyers base their cloud investment choices chiefly on cost-savings. ISG describes this customer group as “pragmatic” cloud buyers whose number-one goal typically revolves around the practical use of cloud resources to make their workloads more agile, flexible, and cost-efficient.

In their research brief, Bane & Co. argues that a price war in the cloud market has little impact on changing the attitudes of most customers toward the Cloud since price-sensitive buyers make up a relatively small percentage of the market. The price-conscious segment represents only 14% of cloud spending and around 13% of the customer base.

Actionable Tip:  One reason why most cloud customers aren’t purely price-conscious is that the majority of buyers want cost-neutral solutions that offer business flexibility and responsiveness. Still, price and costs do factor in any customer’s purchase decision, so it pays to focus on ways to:

  • Understand both short-term (pricing) and long-term (total cost of ownership, TCO) considerations
  • Ensure apples-to-apples comparison of alternatives via standard benchmarks (e.g., labor and utilization efficiency for public vs. private cloud options)
  • Offer different service bundles at multiple price points (e.g., providing limited trial versions to attract entry-level customers and then advance through a multi-tier delivery model)

Related: 5 Steps to Future-Proof Your Go-to Market Strategy for Cloud Services

5. Slow-and-Steady

Slow-and-steady (also known as traditional) customers have yet to migrate the bulk of their IT environments to the Cloud. This hesitation stems from a number of reasons including regulation, compliance, security issues, or organizational inertia. As such, this buyer’s IT portfolio consists primarily of mainframe and legacy systems.

Bane & Co. believes that slow-and-steady buyers have the potential to become the largest customer segment in the cloud market. In 2011, they only had 1% of their workloads running on the Cloud. In 2016, it grew to 16% and, by 2018, it’s projected to reach 30%.

Actionable Tip:  While slow-and-steady customers have yet to accept the Cloud as something that’s critical to its current needs, this buyer group remains open to learning and exploring how the Cloud concretely benefits their IT and business processes. Slow-and-steady buyers tend to:

Be risk-averse and carry out cloud migration in a piecemeal fashion

  • Remain with an existing provider but can switch to new vendors if there’s a business case for doing so
  • Choose mostly private cloud architectures, but are also adopting public cloud services

Related: Analysis: The Information Gathering Process of B2B Buyers

Data Summary: 5 Types of Cloud Customers

% of companies% of IT in the cloudCloud spending
Transformational11%69%$24B
Heterogeneous12%36%$13B
Security-Conscious21%37%$24B
Price-Conscious13%31%$12B
Slow-and-Steady43%16% $18B

 

The Takeaway:  As both cloud services and customers continue evolving, vendors need to focus on a number of key marketing capabilities to ensure they remain relevant among their target buyers. It’s important that providers clearly identify the right customer segments for their services. As we’ve seen, different buyer types have vastly different expectations and requirements. So, it’s crucial to develop value propositions that speak to each unique group.

 

Author Bio:

Judy Caroll

Judy Caroll is a marketing executive at Callbox. She is a blogger, online marketer and loves to share with you the best stuff in sales and marketing. Follow Judy on Twitter and Google+.

 

Cloud marketers, how do you align your marketing strategy with the types of customers and their needs?

Share your insights in the comments below! 🙂

 

 

INCREASE new clients for your Cloud Services!

Find out more, Schedule a consultation

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Social Listening: The Power to Gain Business Insights and Increase Sales
A B2B Guide to Winning New Customers and Repeat Business
Effective Ways To Maximize Your Company’s Business Cards

Industry Insights: What We Talk About When We Talk About Storage Pains

Industry Insights: What We Talk About When We Talk About Storage Pains

Data is the new oil. Whether you agree with that or not, there’s no denying that data is a valuable resource, especially now when companies of all sizes rely on vast amounts of data to gain a competitive edge. Today’s businesses create and use data at the fastest pace in history to keep the wheels of big data, analytics, machine learning and AI turning.

All that data needs a place to live in. That’s why businesses’ demand for data storage drives many of the IT trends we’re seeing today.

As much as 55% of survey respondents in Interop ITX’s 2018 State of Infrastructure study cite the rapid growth in data/data storage as the biggest factor behind their changing business IT systems.

In the same way, Spiceworks’ 2018 State of IT report reveals that managed storage/backup continues to be a prominent item in most companies’ managed services spending, coming in second place after managed hosting.

But businesses want more than just petabytes upon petabytes of additional storage space. They need new solutions to extract more insights from their data resources in ways that best meet their goals. As a result, data storage use-cases have evolved beyond typical functions like disaster recovery, business continuity, internal control, and regulatory compliance.

Of course, vendors and providers have been quick to adapt to these new requirements by offering setups like software-defined storage, flash, hyperconvergence, hybrid cloud, collocation, etc. But these emerging technologies have so far only managed to produce a mixed track record.

In fact, users and customers experience a variety of persistent pain points from their current storage implementation, either due to these solutions’ inability to solve an existing business problem or from a newer set of difficulties that switching to (or staying with) these platforms has brought. In any case, these unmet challenges create plenty of opportunities for managed storage vendors.

In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the most pressing storage problems (as mentioned by a handful of recent industry studies) and walk through some practical ways to leverage these pain points in your own marketing strategy.

Related: Why Back-up and Recovery Solutions Matter

 

Which Pain Points Hurt the Most?

Storage users’ headaches largely result from accelerated data growth, but this problem tends to affect different buyers in different ways. Two recent studies shed some light on what exactly bothers today’s storage customers.

But first, it’s worth finding out what buyers actually want to achieve with the plethora of storage solutions available at their disposal.

Storage vendor DataCore polled 426 IT professionals representing a broad range of workloads and found some striking responses about storage customers’ goals. More than half of respondents cited simplifying management of different storage models (55%), future-proofing their infrastructure (53%), and avoiding hardware lock-in from vendors (52%) as their top priorities, while around 47% wanted to extend their storage assets’ useful life.

When asked about “technology disappointments and false starts” in their storage implementation, respondents in the DataCore survey answered the following:

  1. Cloud storage failed to reduce costs:  Around 31% of respondents said their cloud storage implementations didn’t yield any cost savings.
  2. Object storage is difficult to manage:  This was the top pain point cited by 29% of respondents.
  3. Storage systems didn’t lead to performance gains:  As much as 16% of the polled IT professionals reported that flash failed to speed up their applications.

Meanwhile, 451 Research surveyed nearly 500 enterprise storage professionals and found results comparable to the DataCore study. It blamed the rapid growth in data usage and requirements as the main reason behind most companies’ storage woes.

Specifically, respondents in the 451 Research poll named the following as their biggest storage pain points:

  1. Handling data/capacity growth and storage requirements
  2. Meeting disaster recovery requirements
  3. Keeping the high cost of storage low

The study also uncovered emerging pain points, including growth from new applications (top of mind for 22% of respondents) and storage migrations (cited by 21% of respondents as their number-one pain point).

Related: How to Use the 3 Levels of Pain Points for Better Sales Conversations

 

What Do These Symptoms Point to?

Pain points indicate an underlying problem. So, to effectively communicate the value you’re offering, you need to show that your managed storage solution resolves the main issue and not just alleviate the apparent symptoms. Taken together, the top storage pain points we’ve met earlier show three main trends.

 

1. Storage customers aren’t getting the most from their current vendor.

An overwhelming majority of customers say their current storage solutions fail to deliver the results they expect. Avoiding vendor lock-in also appears as one of the top priorities among storage users.

This underscores opportunities for your managed storage company to step in and fill the gaps left by what the competition offers.

Actionable Tip:  In most B2B purchase decisions, prospects are already doing business with an existing vendor. This is especially true for today’s storage buyers as they’re increasingly partnering with providers to help them meet their data management challenges. That’s why a key tactic in your marketing strategy should help target customers evaluate how things are going with a current vendor.

Related: The B2B Buying Process Has Changed: Here’s How Not to Get Left Behind

 

2. The buyer’s current storage is a loose patchwork of several components.

Findings from both the DataCore and 451 Research studies imply that businesses currently rely on complex and cumbersome storage implementations. Nearly 6 in 10 companies want to streamline how they manage multiple storage models.

In addition, difficulties in handling storage objects, managing data in multiple third-party cloud applications, and performing storage migrations are all top challenges that users face.

Actionable Tip:  B2B buyers oftentimes need to work with a dizzying number of vendors and solutions, each fulfilling a specific function in the overall business process. Your target customer might benefit from choosing a vendor that provides everything they need or helps them simplify the way they combine different storage solutions together.

 

3. Buyers want to build capabilities, not just expand capacity.

It’s clear that storage challenges are becoming more complex, and it’s no longer solely about finding more places to store data in. As businesses want faster databases and sharper analytics, storage is now about optimizing performance and enabling real-time delivery.

This additional layer, in turn, puts more strain on existing infrastructure, complicates storage workflows, and increases storage costs.

Actionable Tip:  Storage needs have moved away from simply acquiring more capacity toward actually managing storage resources. Data storage responsibilities now cover both on- and off-premise data assets, which make the challenges even more difficult. As a vendor, you can help solve this problem by providing comprehensive, integrated, and hybrid solutions.

 

The Takeaway:  Marketing managed storage solutions isn’t simply about features and pricing, it’s about addressing real business pain points. Customers buy in order to solve a problem, and they buy from vendors that understand what they’re facing.

Related: Stages of a B2B Sales Pipeline (and Ways to Increase Your Sales Success Rate)

 

Author Bio:

Rebecca Matias

Rebecca Matias is a Business Development Manager at Callbox. She is a proactive marketer who is willing to share her passion, leadership principles and craft in marketing. Follow Rebecca on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

 

How do you leverage your customers’ pain points in your own marketing strategy?
Let us know in the comments! 🙂

 

 

Gain insights into information drawn from Callbox past marketing campaigns.

Try out our new ‘My Industry Insights’ tool and accurately size up your target verticals.

My Industry Insights - Callbox Interactive Marketing Tool

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How to Write a Compelling Case Study

How to Write a Compelling Case Study

Earning someone’s trust is challenging. How much more earning a potential client’s trust? It is a tall order. You need to prove that you are as good as you say on paper. You have to show them that you can deliver what you promised. In other words, they need cold, hard evidence of your experience and your credentials. And there’s no better way to do that than through a case study. The problem, however, is how to make it as compelling as possible to get their ‘Yes.’

What’s the secret ingredient?

Simple. You don’t need a case study.  Read on why.

First of all, the word case study sounds boring and technical, like a doctor declaring his diagnosis and prognosis filled with medical mumbo-jumbo. With this idea stuck in your mind, you will most probably end up writing just as what you thought in the first place – a lifeless, incomprehensible story that tries hard to impress with technical jargon.

And who would want to read this kind of stuff? NO ONE.

It is the scenario you don’t want to happen.

Thus, the first thing you should do is abandon the idea of a ‘case study.’ You don’t need it. What you need is a story – something that is authentic, compelling, and relevant to whoever your target audience is.

 

Writing a ‘Story’

As you write your ‘story,’ think like the reader. What kind of stuff would make you drop everything you’re doing because you saw this interesting plot, and you’re suddenly filled with so much curiosity that all you want is read it?
Hold that thought in mind because there’s one hurdle you have to  make before you can start writing your ‘masterpiece.’

Here’s  How to Write Content that Gets Read and Shared

Building Trust

When you write a ‘story,’ you need to choose a previous client you’ve worked with. You need permission, a plan, and quotes for the story. However, not everyone is happy to tell their stories fearing they might accidentally share their ‘secret ingredient’ to their competitors.

Another challenge would be that the company you want to write about is working with other companies whose business is similar to yours. If such is the case, tell your client that you understand, and you are happy to be one part of their story. Once they agree, you now have full control to make that story as exciting and interesting as possible.

Related: The 3 Different Hats You Need to Wear to Gain Your Merchant Clients’ Trust

 

Getting Your ‘Story’ Ready

Just like building or cooking, you need to build the base or foundation of your story. In this case, you start with three – client, challenge, and solution.

 

Client

Any story has a main character – a protagonist – and in your case study, it’s your client. Begin by introducing the client, the nature of the business, the industry where they are at, their location, and the type of campaign you are doing for them.

It will give your readers an in-depth knowledge of them to establish a connection to your subject. Failing to do so will defeat the purpose of your case study. And when there is a disconnect, the story will not be relevant, and there’s no point why you created it in the first place.

Challenge/Problem

After you established your character, present the conflict/challenge your client faces. What’s the biggest obstacle that needs to be solved or addressed to? This will give your readers an idea how the company is before and after the solution.

Solution/Results

Your solution must contain the process and the ROI in detail. Allow your client brag about why they love your service. You might be surprised with the myriad of reasons why they love the solutions you have provided. Dig deeper why they are satisfied. This, in turn, will create buying triggers for your readers.

Highlight three to four benefits or advantages, and present them in high-level bullet points briefly explaining the meat of the case study. These benefits should be appealing to the pain points of your target audience.

Once you have all these three basic ingredients, it’s time to add the spices and garnish to make your case study more attractive.


Might as well check these sample case studies that we recently published:

 

4 Other Essential Elements of a Compelling Case Study

 

Quote/Testimonial

This should come from your client, and the message should resonate throughout the text.

Compelling Title

Before you even start your formulating your hook sentence, start with the title first. It should be the first impression you will project to your target audience.

Information about Your Company

It could be as short as one paragraph to give your readers a bird’s eye view regarding your company, specifically some notable information and your contact number.

Call to Action

Any ‘story’ not only has a good beginning but an amazing ending as well. And what better way to end your case study than with a CTA that encourages your audience to respond.

To understand more about compelling case studies, here’s an example that focuses on the abovementioned points.

 

Author Bio:

Rebecca Matias

Rebecca Matias is a Business Development Manager at Callbox. She is a proactive marketer who is willing to share her passion, leadership principles and craft in marketing. Follow Rebecca on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

 

So what do you think is the best tip(s )on how to create compelling case study? Share your thoughts in the comments below! 🙂

 

 

Check out our recently published Client Success Story!

Callbox Taps Ontario Auto Dealership Market for IT Sales Opportunities [CASE STUDY]

Ready to talk? Book a call with our consultant!

or Dial 888.810.7464 | WhatsApp +65 8232 2417

 

 

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Download Targeted B2B Marketing Guide, Checklists and Worksheets [Free eBook] CTA

Targeted B2B Marketing: Guide, Checklists and Worksheets [Free eBook]

Targeted B2B Marketing Guide, Checklists and Worksheets [Free eBook]

Everybody claims to be doing targeted marketing, but few actually get it right. Marketers allocate a significant portion of the budget on tools for better marketing precision (like advanced analytics and marketing automation). But only a minority (around 45%) of marketers believe they’re able to nail down targeted marketing, while an even smaller percentage of marketers (around 30%) think strategies like personalization and segmentation are delivering the right results.

While the exact details vary from industry to industry and from organization to organization, the difficulties that B2B marketers face today when targeting their customers all boil down to four key issues:

  • Getting in front of the right decision maker
  • Connecting with decision makers at the right time
  • Leveraging the right marketing channels
  • Crafting the right message

To help B2B marketers meet each of these four challenges head-on, the Callbox team is publishing a complete handbook on targeted marketing available as a downloadable eBook.

The handbook provides comprehensive, step-by-step guides on each of the four key areas of targeted marketing (customers, buying process, channels, and message), as well as detailed checklists and actionable worksheets to put these concepts into action.

Here’s a little sneak peek.

 

Getting in Front of the Right Decision Maker

The biggest reason why marketers find it difficult to build relationships with the right decision makers is that the average B2B buying decision now involves nearly 7 stakeholders, each coming from a different background and performing unique roles. Now, more than ever, B2B marketers need to define their ideal customer profiles (ICPs) and identify their buyer personas.

  • Ideal customer profile (ICP):  A hypothetical business or organization that’s a perfect fit for your solution.
  • Buyer persona:  An idealized representation of your target customer based on demographic, firmographic, and psychographic attributes.

The handbook devotes an entire section on building ideal customer profiles and buyer personas, and then concludes with two worksheets to put everything about your target audience in more concrete terms. At the end of this section, you’ll be able to clearly document the types of companies and decision-makers that impact your marketing results.

Related: Why Customer Profiling Could be the Best Investment your Company Makes

 

Connecting at the Right Time

In case you haven’t noticed, the average length of the B2B buying process has significantly increased. DemandGen Report says more than 3 out of 5 B2B marketers think their purchase process has gotten longer and that they’re doing more research before signing off on a purchase.

This highlights marketing’s growing role in the lead-to-revenue cycle, which also points to marketing’s increasing involvement in activities traditionally carried out by sales. In order to attract prospects and win deals, B2B marketers need to proactively engage potential customers at every buying stage through providing the information they’re looking for. Specifically, B2B marketers should:

  • Map/Remap their sales funnel to align with the new path to purchase using the 5 W’s of the B2B buying process
  • Refine their lead scoring and ranking capabilities to more accurately reflect how potential customers move from one stage of the buying journey to the next

At the end of the sales funnel/buying journey alignment section of the handbook, you’ll be able to outline and map out the different buying stages that your target customers go through. The section also ends with a checklist for sales funnel/buyer journey alignment, plus worksheets on persona-buyer stage mapping and a lead scoring template.

 

Leveraging the Right Channels

There’s no doubt engagement takes place across different marketing channels and platforms. This creates both opportunities and challenges for targeted marketing, not least of which is the growing need to keep the marketing message consistent from one channel to another.

This is where having a robust multi-channel strategy comes in handy. Multi-channel marketing goes beyond simply interacting with potential buyers on different platforms; it’s about combining these channels into a single, cohesive set of touch points. Keep in mind that:

  • A B2B customer regularly uses 6 different interaction channels throughout the decision journey.
  • But 65% of these prospects become disappointed because of inconsistent experiences across channels.
  • Outbound channels improve inbound tactics’ effectiveness by enabling scalable, direct, and one-on-one outreach for marketing messages.

The section on multi-channel marketing also walks you through a thorough checklist of steps to do and things to have prior to launching multi-channel programs. It then provides a planning worksheet to help you document your multi-channel strategy.

Related: The 5 Success Factors of Multi-Channel Marketing Revealed [INFOGRAPHIC]

 

Crafting the Right Message

The key to generating consistent targeted marketing results (attracting and winning customers) is to deliver marketing messages that move potential buyers from one buying stage to the next. The “right message” consists of any content or material that:

  • Drives awareness of a business problem
  • Draws attention to potential solutions
  • Builds a business case for change vs. the status quo
  • Motivates a purchase

The average B2B buyer reviews around 10.4 pieces of content before making a purchase decision. The more costly and complex the solution involved, the higher the number of content sources B2B customers consult. A LinkedIn Business study finds that B2B buyers want both product information and educational (thought leadership) content, depending on where they are in the buying journey.

This means that your messages need to contain information that’s relevant to the prospect’s current buying context:

  • Awareness stage:  Prospects need help identifying the problem and narrowing it down.
  • Consideration stage:  They’re laying out all possible solutions.
  • Decision stage:  The prospect is evaluating a potential vendor.

Obviously, not all paths to purchase exactly follow the three-step model, but it’s a good starting point for most B2B marketers. That’s why the final section in the handbook provides an in-depth checklist for mapping marketing messages with buying stages and concludes with a content planning worksheet.

Related: Stages of a B2B Sales Pipeline (and Ways to Increase Your Sales Success Rate)

 

The Takeaway

Getting targeted marketing right can be very daunting for most B2B marketers, especially since it evidently involves many moving parts and requires a lot of resources. But with the guides, checklists, and worksheets in this handbook, you’re in a better position to deal with today’s marketing challenges. Get your copy now.

 

 

Grab a copy of our FREE EBOOK, Targeted B2B Marketing: Guide, Checklists, and Worksheets! A comprehensive guide on targeted marketing to help organizations get in front of the right people at the right time through the right channels with the right message to influence a purchase.

Download Targeted B2B Marketing Guide, Checklists and Worksheets [Free eBook] CTA

30 Must-Know Resources for Your Last-Minute GDPR Preparations

Industry Insights: How to Influence Today’s B2B FinTech Buyers

Industry Insights: How to Influence Today’s B2B FinTech Buyers

FinTech continues to see double-digit expansion, and much of the market’s growth now comes from B2B FinTech. Opportunities in payment platforms, SME lending solutions, and SaaS-enabled back office tools have investors lining up behind B2B-focused FinTech companies.

That’s according to KPMG’s latest report on the industry, which also points to regulatory technology (regtech) as an additional growth driver for the segment.

Accenture thinks alternative finance powers a huge part of the current B2B FinTech trend. B2B FinTech companies are filling the gap left by banks’ withdrawal from SME lending, leveraging big data analytics to enhance the creditworthiness assessment process.

This means that instead of directly competing with banks, a lot of B2B FinTech companies actually complement traditional financial institutions. Accenture says this approach makes many of the B2B FinTech’s business models readily scalable and sustainable (not only in alternative lending but also in payment processing and workflow streamlining).

Alongside these strong opportunities, however, B2B FinTech firms also face a number of serious marketing challenges unique to the industry, with the biggest being customer acquisition. Attracting prospects and turning them into customers can be very difficult for most fledgling FinTech companies since:

  • It can be hard to convince potential buyers about adopting an unfamiliar product.
  • The typical FinTech firm hasn’t yet established brand recognition.
  • Limited marketing budgets often mean fewer marketing options.

But, as we’ll learn in this post, any B2B FinTech company can handily meet these customer acquisition challenges by focusing on the buyers and the process they follow.

The buyer-led, consensus-based path to purchase requires vendors to be a proactive part of the buying process. While buyers prefer self-directed research, vendors that actively help potential customers find what they need will be in a better position to influence prospects and win the deal.

To help you translate this into something more concrete, today’s blog entry answers three key questions about B2B FinTech buyers and their purchase cycle. This post pulls together findings from the latest research on the FinTech industry so that you’ll get data-driven marketing insights, not simply anecdotal advice.

 

Who actually makes the buying decision?

Respondents in a survey of B2B FinTech buyers carried out by PR firm CCGroup say they make a major IT investment once every six months. The challenge lies in the fact that FinTech purchases rarely involve only a single decision maker.

Over half of the survey respondents say a purchase decision requires the approval of 10 people. For large companies, the buying group can include:

  • C-level executives, EVPs, and VPs interested in the financial, operational, and marketing aspects of a purchase
  • Directors and department heads in charge of horizontal and vertical business streams

LinkedIn’s study of a broader group of B2B tech buyers echoes similar results and highlights some very interesting findings:

  • More than 7 decision makers are involved in B2B tech purchases.
  • Around 48% of Gen Xers contribute to B2B tech buying decisions, while 41% of millennials provide input to tech purchases.
  • The average tech committee consists of technology/engineering roles (44%), external-facing roles (23%), back-office roles (21%), and other roles (12%).

Actionable Tip:  It’s clear you need to demonstrate value to a large and diverse group of decision makers. As the numbers show, vendors need to reach out to both IT and non-IT buyer roles. So, make sure you’ve clearly identified and profiled all the key stakeholders in the purchase pro

Related: How to Reach C-Level Decision Makers and Boost B2B Sales

 

What influences them?

The CCGroup study reveals a number of factors that drive B2B FinTech purchase decisions in large companies. Respondents rated these factors as “most important” or “important”:

Most Important

  1. Internal business analysts
  2. Existing relationship with vendor
  3. Industry analysts
  4. Peers
  5. Industry consultants

Important

  1. Web Search
  2. Vendor webinars
  3. Tradeshows
  4. Vendor-led events
  5. Vendor whitepapers
  6. Direct marketing
  7. Trade media
  8. Business media

Meanwhile, Arketi Group surveyed three generations of B2B tech buyers and found that different combinations of factors and sources influence each cohort’s tech buying decisions:

  • Millennials rely on industry analysts 38% of the time when evaluating a tech purchase, followed by vendor face-to-face meetings (36%), and vendor website (33%).
  • Baby boomers mostly consult industry analysts (50%) as well as colleagues (49%) and vendor face-to-face meetings (48%).
  • Gen Xers refer to colleagues and vendor websites (both at 40%) as well as analysts and tradeshows (both at 38%).

Actionable Tip:  Two interesting trends stand out from these findings. First, B2B FinTech buyers seek out various sources that influence their tech buying choices. Second, these factors influence the different groups of B2B buyers in diverse ways. In order to get into the B2B FinTech buyer’s radar, you need to increase your visibility with the people and platforms that influence your target audience.

Related: Stages of a B2B Sales Pipeline (and Ways to Increase Your Sales Success Rate)

 

What do they want to know about a product or vendor?

According to the 2017 U.S. Technology Marketing Report, the product information that B2B tech buyers seek varies with the size of the organization and the stage in the buying cycle:

  • When evaluating a product, 68% of B2B buyers consider its reliability, while 64% want ease of use
  • To help them gain internal buy-in, 49% of B2B tech customers use product cost information, while 43% prefer ease of integration.
  • Reliability makes up the top concern for both large firms (with more than $10 million in annual sales and small companies (less than $1 million in revenues), while mid-sized firms put ease of use on top of the list.
  • B2B tech buyers consider pricing information as the most helpful resource during the purchase stage.

The CCGroup survey highlights some of the things that B2B FinTech buyers want to know about vendors during the decision process. The study considers three buying cycle stages: longlisting, shortlisting, and purchase stages:

  • Longlisting stage:  FinTech buyers at this stage want to know if a specific vendor is knowledgeable enough about the latest industry trends.
  • Shortlisting stage:  Potential FinTech customers that are shortlisting vendors look for candidates that understand the challenges and priorities of their buying audience.
  • Purchase stage:  During the purchase stage, FinTech buyers look for evidence that a vendor has successfully delivered to similar customers.

Actionable Tip:  With both IT/tech and non-IT/tech departments involved in the purchase process, it’s clear that buyers want more than just product specifics. Buyers look for information about how the product impacts other departments in the organization, especially since FinTech solutions tend to cut across business areas. As a result, B2B FinTech buyers are increasingly looking for strategic partners, not just one-time vendors.

 

The Takeaway

While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to influencing B2B FinTech buyers, there’s also tremendous value to be had from getting to know your potential customers up close. The key thing to remember is that buying decisions are made by teams instead of individual decision makers. Moreover, these decision makers need different types of information as they identify and evaluate their choices. Your job as a marketer is to help them make informed decisions.

Related: 5 Essential FinTech Marketing Strategy Tips and Why They Work

 

 

Reach more FinTech customers using Callbox Multi-Channel Marketing Strategy

Contact us or Dial 888.810.7464

Add us on WhatsApp +65 8232 2417

 

 

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Stages of a B2B Sales Pipeline (and Ways to Increase Your Sales Success Rate)

Stages of a B2B Sales Pipeline

The sales pipeline is a set of strategies and stages which organize the movement of leads from start to finish. It guides businesses through the confusing maze of the buyer’s journey as it keeps sales and marketing aligned, and scales revenue growth.

As much as it is important, the B2B pipeline is as complex as the buyer’s journey because there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy. In other words, there are 101 ways how to do it depending on the needs of each business.

But no matter what strategy your company is using, the sales pipeline has three common stages: lead nurturing, lead qualification, and closed deal.

These stages begin right after you stimulate and capture the interest of your target audience during the lead generation process via email, events, or content.

 

Stage #1: Lead Nurturing

Companies who have a lead nurturing program acquires more sales-ready lead but spends less than those who do not have. This stage is where you build trust that leads to conversion. It’s like taking the perfect catch on a date. Since you’ve already convinced that person to go out with you, you no longer need to hard sell or act aggressively. Instead, you have to smoothly and seamlessly guide your ‘date’ to finally say ‘YES’ to you.

So what do you do?

Like a man trying to win a woman, you have to be where your prospects are, ready to answer their questions. At this point, it will be to your advantage if you focus more on the potential impact of your solutions rather than hard-selling your product or service. Remember – prospects would prefer to understand the results than the process.

Related: A Crash Course on Lead Nurturing… And Why it Matters

 

Stage #2: Lead Qualification

On this stage, you get to decide whether the prospect is a sales qualified lead (SQL) or a marketing qualified lead (MQL). The two are almost similar because they are both ‘hot’ leads. However, an MQL looks like the perfect lead, someone who’s more open to hearing the solution you’re offering.

Sales qualified leads, on the other hand, are those who are ready for to have a conversation. They have raised their hands and prepared to go to the next level. A dedicated account manager is assigned to these leads to qualify them further.  

This phase is very critical, and extreme care and caution are necessary. Studies say that 61 percent of B2B marketers send leads to sales but only 27 percent of B2B leads are sales-ready, and 13 percent convert into opportunities. You don’t want to lose that opportunity. Therefore, it will significantly benefit you if you try to take time understanding the business environment of your target and understand the pain points they are going through. You can use those problems to show them how your service or product can offer a resolution.

If your prospect sees your product/service can be a solution to their pain, you can close the deal. If, on the other hand, they cannot, you will be able to weed that prospect out.

Related: 5 Ways to Maximize Lead Quality

 

Stage #3: Closed Deal

If all goes well, the leads make a purchase decision and become a revenue. But here’s the sobering truth: out of the 13 percent opportunities, only 6 percent will convert to deals. That means companies lose 94% of their sales opportunities. The even sadder truth is that 1 out of 4 marketers do not know their conversion rates.


 

Converting Opportunities to Revenues

The sales pipeline is the lifeblood of B2B growth, but statistics show that as the leads go further into the pipeline, the conversion rate of turning those leads into revenues becomes smaller. Now, the question becomes, ‘How do you create a successful pipeline?’

As mentioned earlier, there is no panacea for this, but you can incorporate these three elements into your sales pipeline to increase your success percentage:

 

Understand how your customers buy

If you want to create a successful sales pipeline, the first step is to understand the buying behavior of your customers. Here, you will be able to determine how many stages does it take before they come to a buying decision. Each stage is a milestone with every completion determined by an appropriate verifiable outcome for each step. This valid outcome tells you whether you are in alignment with the buyer.

Let’s say your customer undergoes five stages in their buying process: develop a business strategy > determine their needs > evaluate any alternatives > choose a solution and assess the risks > resolve issues and finalize the contract.

To align yourself with the buyer, you also need to have selling stages that correspond to theirs. Your selling stages should be: create an opportunity > qualify a sponsor > create a power sponsor > prove your capabilities > negotiate and close the deal.

Related: The B2B Buying Process Has Changed: Here’s How Not to Get Left Behind

 

Determine the days in stage

Once you’ve developed a buyer-aligned process, you need to determine how long your prospect moves from stage to stage. If, for example, your average sales cycle is four months, then the time for each of your selling stage could be:

  • Create an opportunity – 10 days
  • Qualify a sponsor – 20 days
  • Create a power sponsor – 20 days
  • Prove your capabilities – 40 days
  • Negotiate and close the deal – 30 days

Knowing how long you have to spend for each stage helps you understand how much effort you have to make for each step.

 

Develop yield probability

As leads become opportunities, and opportunities go from stage to stage, they get closer to the buying decision and thus, have a higher likelihood of becoming revenues. To represent your likelihood of winning, it helps if you assign a yield probability for each stage.

Using the sample stages above, your yield probability would look like this:

Create an opportunity
0%
Qualify a sponsor
0%
Create a power sponsor
0%
Prove your capabilities
0%
Negotiate and close the deal
0%

 

In Conclusion

The above shows the sales journey of your customer as well as some helpful tips to make the transition from stage to stage smooth. However, your relationship with your customer does not end with the sales pipeline. In fact, B2B companies can increase their ROI after the sale by regularly engaging their customers and adding value to their businesses.

 

 

Get more customers in your sales funnel using Callbox Multi-Channel Marketing Strategy

Contact us or Dial 888.810.7464

Add us on WhatsApp +65 8232 2417

 

 

Grab a copy of our FREE EBOOK, Targeted B2B Marketing: Guide, Checklists, and Worksheets! A comprehensive guide on targeted marketing to help organizations get in front of the right people at the right time through the right channels with the right message to influence a purchase.

Download Targeted B2B Marketing Guide, Checklists and Worksheets [Free eBook] CTA

Utilize a Data-Driven Approach to Generate Technology Leads
Activities That Will Draw New Clients To Your Medical Billing Business
Essential Components of a Lead-generating Website

5 Marketing Technologies to Invest In 2018

5 Marketing Technologies to Invest In 2018

The world of digital marketing has been continuously expanding, and there is no doubt that as society progresses so do the means of getting our messages out there.

With the number of tools available to help us grow our consumer base and drive CRM to new heights, it can get daunting pretty quickly.  However, knowing the latest trend can help you pick out your next investment or prepare your business for the next pivot.

In this article, we’ll round up the latest marketing technologies that we should keep our eyes on – and try to get ahold of if we can – this 2018. From AI to chatbots, it keeps on getting better!

 

#1 Chatbots

We get it, providing customer service is hard, but did you know that some power users have now been able to create their chatbots from scratch?

It might sound like something only a guru could pull off, but the availability of chatbots have made it easier for people to be able to create a customer service desk that does not have to be staffed at all.

Here’s the good news. In the past decade, it’s been noted that people have been more open to the idea of speaking with a bot, especially one that has been programmed. Yes, the initial setup can be tricky but imagine the cost-savings of not having to hire people to answer basic questions about your business.

Think about FAQs being accurately answered by a bot immediately. That does wonders for your customer service goals and helps promote you as a brand cares!

Related: 5 Pieces of Advice for Live Chat That you Can Never Live Without

 

#2 Voice-based technology

A lot of digital marketers and search engine operators have said this time and time again. We are moving to a voice-dominated digital world. We can’t say it started with Siri, but you’ve got to admit that Apple made it popular with their assistant; Alexa made commerce available in your homes; and of course, who can forget to say, “Hey, Google!”

Google Assistant

We are moving towards a world where we would rather speak to our gadgets than type on them, and it has been boosting commerce. Did you know that thanks to smart speakers, like the Echo and Google Home, it has been recorded that 57 percent of U.S. households that own these devices have made purchases using the power of their voice?

And, that’s not all; there have been calls to start making commerce more voice compliant with search.

Related: Ways Marketers Can Harness the Potential of Voice Recognition Technology

 

#3 Augmented, virtual, and mixed realities

There have been strides in providing an immersive experience for people who demand more. This also means there have been significant strides by marketers who are trying to figure out how they can use these different “realities.”

It’s no doubt that retail will be the most affected by these changes, but it does not mean it ends there. As the technology behind mixed realities becomes readily available to everyone, the playing fields will also start to change.

This means new opportunities for media, marketing, and most importantly, experiences. It’s experience that drives a lot of demand, and once people are hungry for more, it’s when marketers like us can step in. AR, VR, and MR are worth your time.

 

#4 Big data gets bigger

What do you do with all that consumer data? You use it to better understand your market. We have barely even seen the potential of big data to make a difference in the marketplace.

One of the first rules of production is building for the intended user; we’ve seen it in search engines and the rise of bespoke services.  If we were able to properly harness the power of big data, then we’ll be able to create products that people need.

If we play our cards right, we’ll end up with products that can make a difference in the world that we live. And, that is the ideal marketplace.

 

#5 Artificial intelligence

That Go tournament really got people going about how AlphaGo was able to beat its human rival, but before we think Sarah Connor and Terminators, let’s think about the potential ramifications of AI.

Artificial intelligence can become the ultimate aid to processing vast amounts of information logically and quickly. Think about machine learning and predictive analytics, and how it can help solve not only your customer experience and interaction dilemmas, but also real problems.

Imagine combining big data and artificial intelligence, the ability to analyze and form rational conclusions out of patterns, and building seemingly perfect products. Or, even the combination of AI and an assistant like Alexa or Google, this might be the fuel that we are looking for to drive commerce to new heights.

Technology is changing, and people can hardly keep up. Marketers get ready. The future is coming, and it is coming in really fast.

Related: How are digital strategies evolving with the integration of new technologies into the marketing world?

 

 

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How to Make a Compelling Presentation For Your Software Product

How to Make a Compelling Presentation For Your Software Product

Of all IT products, software is often considered to be a hard sell for a lot of startups. It all boils down to how they present their offers to interested B2B buyers.

Making a good impression should always be the primary objective for software companies. If anything, going the right way in terms of making a marketing presentation makes it more likely for a prospect to invest. In this sense, the increasing your profit margins the depends on how well you package your brand and communicate your product to a prospect.

As it becomes increasingly difficult to sell software in such a competitive market, there is a need to create more engaging and sellable stories. But this rationale has its fair share of challenges. For sure, the same issues persist  (e.g. customer retention, conversions), encouraging software marketers to develop better audience engagement strategies.

 

The wrong way to present

Creating effective presentations means avoiding common mistakes that will turn prospects off. Most of the time, these are errors that go undetected, but they can lead to lost opportunities or, worse, a bad reputation.

Overcomplicating

When designing your presentation, it’s always best to always put your prospects in mind. In other words, you need to realize the fact that not all decision-makers are at the same level as you in terms of technical knowledge. Instead of muddling up the core of your message with jargon and ambiguous terms, you should keep things as simple as they are. Unless you’re speaking to a client that already possesses a considerable understanding of your industry, you should always refrain from using exclusive language if you opt to get your point across.

Related: 5 Data-backed Tips for Better Phone-based Sales Presentations

Ignoring client needs

Custom Show points out that unsuccessful software demonstrations and presentations are often the results of a failure to understand client needs. After all, presentations are always about bridging the gap between your brand and your client. In order for that to happen, you should be able to answer all the questions that the client has. This enables you to come up with messages that your clients wanted to hear in the first place.

Related: Cyber Security Vendors Need to Move Past FUD: Here’s Why and How

Pitch the wrong way

Let’s face it, we are always tempted to make a sales pitch right from the get-go. But it doesn’t always end up with you winning a purchase for a software product. Sales pitches are difficult to pull off and it requires a great deal of timing before you can drive a proposal. To get better chances at it, you should be able to look for a position where it’s safe to make the pitch. An article published on Forbes provides the usual mistakes software companies commit when making pitches. Using too many details, peddling exaggerated expectations about your product, and failing to appeal to the interests of your clients, among others, make for a failed presentation.


Check out our recently published Client Success Stories


 

Maximizing the experience

Considering the numerous pitfalls you have to face, it’s crucial for your software brand to implement the right approaches in presenting your product.

Here are some of the best strategies to get everything started.

Use visuals

For a lot of B2B marketers, using illustrations to complement a business proposal can do wonders. For a complex industry such as software, using graphs and other visual aids can help in maintaining audience retention. It makes sense then for your brand to maximize its use of such elements in your presentations.

Related: 3 Design Best Practices to Fine-Tune Your Next Content for Visual Learners

Provide a brief and relevant overview

The inclusion of a marketplace overview can help you align your product with your client’s needs by pointing out factors in the current market climate and prevalent trends. It’s only a matter of picking the best figures from authoritative sources to drive your point home

Embrace uncertainties

Whether you’re presenting online, through the phone or face-to-face with the decision-maker, you need to realize that anything can happen. A simple query from the client or the slightest hint of contradiction on your part can push back that gains you have so far made. This is normal, but failing to address such situations can make you lose a potential contract. Since you can’t always expect the best during presentations with clients, you can still prepare yourself for any possible scenario. This would involve anticipating client inquiries and making sure that you have all the information you need to satisfy them.
 

 

Looking to increase your Software Sales? 

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Grab a copy of our FREE EBOOK, The Ultimate Lead Generation Kit Ebook! Updated with links to the best and latest techniques that will help generate quality sales leads for your business

The-Ultimate-Lead-Generation-Kit-to-Jumpstart-Your-Business-2018-Edition

Utilize a Data-Driven Approach to Generate Technology Leads
Activities That Will Draw New Clients To Your Medical Billing Business
Essential Components of a Lead-generating Website