As we approach the end of the year, many businesses are starting to wind down. But B2B marketers know that to capture those key accounts in the new year, now is the time to get ahead, and planning your sales and marketing strategy early is the name of the game.
So what should marketers be focusing on to break into key accounts, fill their sales pipelines and excite key decision-makers in 2022?
We polled our LinkedIn audience to find out their thoughts, and the results were certainly compelling:
In light of these findings, let's take a deeper look and explore the B2B marketing trends for the coming year.
Account-based experience or ABX is the next step in the evolution of account-based marketing. It’s a hyper-targeted and personalized strategy that uses data-driven insights to give your prospects and customers unique experiences they’ll remember, throughout the customer journey.
ABX is a holistic approach that requires collaboration and alignment between sales, marketing, and customer teams, and the benefits are clear to see. They include higher close rates, more wins on higher-value accounts, and exceptional, human customer experiences
The ABX approach will become more relevant to marketers and sales teams in 2022. The key to acing this approach is to have a comprehensive tool in place, so all of your customer journeys are recorded in one place and are accessible by the relevant teams. It’s also worth exploring ABM and experience platforms that help you to find, engage and convert prospects into customers.
Creating an ABX strategy also means forgetting about marketing qualified leads (MQLs) as a marker for success, and instead focusing on what matters - revenue.
As it stands, too many companies are still measuring the success of their marketing efforts based on MQLs. But this isn’t the right approach, mainly because it creates misalignment between sales and marketing teams.
The reality is, the MQL is dead, and adopting a revenue marketing structure means being more personalized and targeted with your strategy. Gone are the days of ‘spray and pray’, a customer-focused approach is key here. It’s also vital for your marketing and sales teams to be aligned so that they can successfully choose which key accounts to attend to.
Data is big business and its value to B2B marketers will only continue to grow in 2022.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) helps marketers understand prospects and customers on a deeper level. AI also assists teams at every stage of the buyer journey from awareness to conversion, by gathering, organizing, analyzing, and segmenting customer data in a scalable way to help track ROI.
AI will be a continued trend in 2022 because of advancements in targeting tools and tracking technology. With the help of AI, B2B marketers will be able to learn more about their customers and create more personalized messaging and marketing offerings during the customer lifecycle, through channels like email and social media.
To deliver an optimum customer experience, you can jump on the AI trend by adopting AI marketing tools like Google AI or TensorFlow. These tools can help provide your team with accurate customer predictions, assist in producing timely messaging, and improve overall productivity. Additionally, tools like Salesforce Einstein can integrate with your CRM and help deliver key insights to your customer success team.
The B2B customer journey can be complex, so it’s more important than ever for B2B marketers to orchestrate a user-friendly, mobile-focused experience for prospects.
The fact is, 80% of shoppers have used a mobile phone to look up product reviews, or compare prices, rather than visiting a brick and mortar store, meaning that mobile is a key component in the buying process.
In 2021, digital advertising accounted for 64.4% of total global advertising revenue, so logic predicts that this shift towards online and therefore mobile-first marketing strategies will continue in 2022.
There are so many advantages to adopting a mobile-first marketing strategy. Not only does optimizing for mobile help to increase your brand’s reach and engagement, but it also provides a stronger customer experience by way of personalization.
As data insights and tracking improve on mobile, so will the ability to target your ideal customer persona in the way that they prefer, and with that comes the opportunity to increase pipeline and revenue.
Although emphasizing the importance of content marketing isn’t exactly a new trend, it deserves a mention as marketing and sales strategies are formulated for 2022.
Blogging and B2B marketing go hand in hand, and there are lots of advantages to creating a robust content strategy that supports your other marketing activities. At its best, blogging drives traffic to your website, educates prospects, and helps to position your brand as a thought leader within your industry.
However, there is an oversaturation of online content - 7.5 million blog posts are published every day. So, competition for your prospects' attention is fierce.
To create meaningful content that helps solve customer pain points, your blogs should be keyword optimized and shouldn’t be too long - articles that are less than 3,000 words get 3x more traffic, 4x more shares, and 3.5x more backlinks than shorter articles
Your blog should also contain a mix of content that caters to each stage of the buyer's journey. Really think about the questions your prospects have, and how you can answer them quickly. For written content inspiration, head over to Gong’s blog. Hubspot also does a brilliant job at creating informative blog content.
It’s a well-known fact that marketers never have enough hours in a day. But, with advancements in B2B technology, there are ways to claim back your time.
Using intuitive automation tools can save you hours, you just need to be using the right ones.
For B2B marketers who are looking to generate new prospects, fill their sales pipelines, and excite key decision-makers in 2022, a direct mail and gifting tool like Reachdesk is an essential piece of the puzzle - because sparking joy and creating memorable in-person and virtual experiences for prospects and customers is so important.
If social media is a large focus of your strategy, why not consider a social media scheduling tool to take the manual work out of posting to your channels. Likewise, if email is a big prospecting channel for your B2B business, an email marketing platform could be worth investing in.
It’s all about making automation tools work for you and speeding up your productivity and workflow. 68% of businesses use some form of automation, so don’t waste your days doing jobs that you can automate.
It’s a wasted opportunity to focus on acquiring new business before thinking about expanding your existing key accounts. Instead, there’s real merit in nurturing and maximizing the value of the customers you already have - 61% of customers say that they go out of their way to buy from brands they’re loyal to.
So, in 2022, it’s time to refocus your attention towards a customer marketing approach. Adopting a customer-first strategy helps to increase the longevity of customer relationships by ensuring they get the best out of your product or service.
Over time, this will not only reduce churn and increase customer loyalty and retention, but it’ll improve customer relationships, too.
It’s all about educating those key accounts from the very start of the relationship on how to best use your product and facilitating your customer success team to engage and communicate with them to understand their pain points. Gifting can also be used strategically by customer success to surprise, delight, and keep customer relationships strong.
Remember that the success of your customer marketing approach will hinge on how well your business can align the marketing, sales, and customer success teams. So, start mapping out your plan for the full customer lifecycle right from the get-go - it’s how we do it here at Reachdesk!
Finally, make sure to celebrate your customers’ successes by spotlighting them using case studies or social media posts. And, once you’ve created brand advocates out of your loyal customers, reach out and ask them to leave you a positive online review.
As we move into 2022, it’s clear that data-driven strategies will be the key to building relationships with prospects and customers and generating revenue going forward.
Experimentation is an important part of the marketing and sales process, so don’t be afraid to embrace new trends in 2022 and remember to learn and innovate from whatever you choose to focus on.