6 B2B Marketing Trends For Winning In 2016

6 Predictions for B2B MarketingWith 2015 nearly over, it’s time to get out the crystal ball and share what will be the big trends for B2B marketing in 2016.

There’s no end to posts predicting the next big thing in 2016. In fact, these are virtually the same predictions many made in 2015 – including me. And we all know those predictions are usually wrong – let’s make some, anyway!

Seeing marketing through the customer’s eyes

Seeing through the customer’s eyesMarketing and sales are starting to focus on adopting buyers’ perspectives with regards to selling. This “customer-based selling” is not selling in the traditional sense but more about helping customers to buy – a subtle but distinctive shift in mindset – and content is absolutely key to the success of this. Moving into 2016, content will become even more critical in the customer-based selling process, as marketing and salespeople look to share insights and engage customers based on what they need to make it easier for them to buy.

Content marketing is here to stay

Content marketing is here to stayContent, which is here to stay because brand building is storytelling and marketing is teaching, will continue to improve in quality instead of just quantity. The most successful content will be relevant, entertaining and informative based on where the customer is during their purchase journey. Content should build on itself, be aligned to your sales funnel and move with your customers in their purchase journey.

A picture is worth 1000 words

A picture is worth 1000 wordsVisual content is critical for brands to reach and engage their audiences. Infographics (especially with interactive graphics and embedded video) will continue to grow in popularity because of their value in education and thought leadership, all delivered in understandable sound bites. Expect short, graphically powerful slideshows to also gain popularity in delivering sales messaging.

Show and sell with video content

Show and sell with video contentWith Youtube’s popularity showing no signs of slowing down, video content will become the go to content resource for marketers. There may also be a shift from longer, consumable content like YouTube videos to shorter, snackable content like Instagram 15-second videos and Vine 6-second videos in B2B marketing.

Data will drive personalization

Data will drive personalizationIn 2016, data will continue to play a larger role in content marketing. Beyond just producing great content, marketers need to reach and engage the right audience. Marketers will use data to personalize and deliver content to their highly connected, always-on users helping to create a more informed decision that reduces the risk of being overlooked and increases purchase confidence.

Fostering brand advocates

Are You Your Customers Biggest Fan?Marketers have always known that users who love their products buy more. We’ll see B2B marketers using creative and varied tactics on multiple social media platforms to build sales and win more users by sharing that are visual, compelling buyer testimonials.

Trends are both threats and opportunities for B2B marketers

6 Trends in B2B MarketingCompanies that see social media as something for teenagers will miss the opportunity to connect and educate their customers in a compelling way. Ultimately, they risk becoming irrelevant.

Marketers who move forward with these trends have the opportunity to differentiate themselves in the marketplace, be seen as innovators and improve their odds of outperforming the competition.

What trends do you see for B2B marketers in 2016?

Good Selling in 2016!

Greg Bonsib is an author of the new Mighty Guides Ebook Data Disruption.

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When Sales and Marketing Collide

Sales and Marketing CollideDoes it ever seem to you like sales people are from Mars and marketers are from Venus?

Sales people feel they must translate what they see as marketing’s one-size-fits-all approach into a practical message tailored for their unique customer while the marketing team often believes the sales people themselves are the problem because they are not following their product positioning.

What’s behind this communication gap? Language.

The Language of Sales and Marketing

Language of sales and marketingSales and marketing have different views of the world.

Salespeople say:

Marketing people do not spend enough time in the field. They don’t take specific customer complaints seriously enough. Marketing needs to create a system for better field communications.

Marketers say:

Sales is always asking for information that they have already received. We spend much effort gathering and writing up product and competitive information, send out that information, and reps call a week later for the same information. This takes time away from other important tasks we have.

Salespeople say:

Marketing should be more demanding with R&D and manufacturing to alter product designs and production schedules.

Marketers say:

We are under-resourced: too many sales chiefs and not enough implementation people.

Salespeople say:

Biggest frustration to our sales reps is lack of timely information.

Marketers say:

Our success depends on fulfilling customer expectations for tomorrow, not just today.

Salespeople say:

Sales reps’ compensation should not be penalized for price erosion…that’s a product issue out of our control.

Marketers say:

Sales is happy to criticize, rather than accept responsibility and suggest constructive improvements.

Let’s face it, sales gets input straight from the horse’s mouth, the customer

straight from horse's mouthEach customer is supplying a valuable piece to the puzzle. It’s important that each sales person capture that input and makes sure it gets back to the marketing team.

Every customer has their own set of individual issues. Marketing is capturing the insights from all of sales. They are sifting and prioritizing those that are important locally, regionally and nationally. From those inputs, plans and strategies are being developed that cover all the bases, not just one account.

Customer responsiveness, urgency, and speed really are the goals of marketing

mistrustMarketing isn’t being slow ― they are being thorough and deliberate. The reason is that marketing isn’t the only department required to create a new product. That involves most of the rest of the company from ops to finance.

Whether you label it as healthy tension, territorial friction or a downright conflict of personalities, anyone who’s spent time working in marketing will be familiar with the terse, often challenging and almost always character-building relationship with sales.

Good Selling!

Greg Bonsib is an author of the new Mighty Guides Ebook Data Disruption.