Why non-scalable marketing activities are better for B2B companies

Most articles talk about virality.

They talk about network effects and reference tactics to a friend.

They talk about switching your orange button to a green button.

They talk about sending automated and cold emails.

Well, guess what?

None of this works in B2B. Not at a high level. Not when you sell to smart and educated people. Not when there are tens of thousands (or hundreds of thousands) involved.

All these easy-to-test tactics, which bloggers love to rave about, fall flat.

The best way to close high dollar B2B accounts is to do the opposite. You need a one-to-one communication as soon as possible.

The problem is that the best methods are largely impossible to scale. At least on the surface. They therefore seem to require tons of time and energy. Which you are already running dangerously short.

Here's why apparently "unaffordable" activities work best. And what you can do to ease the pain.

Why B2B activities 1 to 1, non-scalable, are best converted

Sales are positioned.

B2B sales, in particular.

Everything comes back to the bottom line.

Are you an expert or a hack? A partner or a seller?

Your ability (and almost as important, the perception of your ability) is on the line. This is what separates the cost plus price and the price of value. Thin margins of fat.

Experts and consultants? They do not send e-mail to customers. Customers go to them.

That's why your approach account. A lot.

All these fancy growth hacks? They could work on the mass market by paying $ 0.00 for your brilliant photo sharing app.

But not so much when tens of thousands (or hundreds of thousands) are on the line. Not when MBA-toting, C-suite execs with decades of experience can sniff your bullshit a mile away.

B2B does not buy on impulse. A jet of blood to the head will not cut it.

Instead, they perform at least a dozen searches before visiting a brand's website. Most of the buying process takes place before they consider you personally.

They are informed. And it usually takes a lot before signing on the dotted line.

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All of this means that the average sale will take longer. It's going to be complex. This will require many conversations for many weeks with many different people.

You can measure some of it. You can automate some parts. But when it matters most, when tokens fall, non-scalable activities win.

Take a look at these conversion reference examples for the Capterra software industry:

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The average conversions of a website are around 7%. If you are lucky.

After that, the qualified conversion rates increase to 36% and 27%. Why?

Why is the top of the funnel conversion rate so low while the bottom of the funnel is so high?

One answer is that people become more skilled as they go. And the other is that you handle the qualification or the sales personally.

The lead notation could help. A little bit. But otherwise, you send emails, phone calls … selling .

Everything is manual, time consuming and unusable.

That's the theory, anyway. Now, let's evaluate it in practice.

What is the average clickthrough rate for online ads?

About 0.5% for display ads and about 3% for WordStream search ads.

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These numbers are not good.

It does not matter how you frame it. We accept it and continue to spend money because it is scalable. This allows us to go do other things. We support mediocre response rates in the hope that everything is justified in the end.

Now, let's compare it to alternatives, so you have some context.

Funnelholic used to see the same average of 2-3% of results, too. Until they make some changes.

And then? Open rates have reached up to 60%. Response rates jumped to 31%. And they recorded 15 new meetings.

What was the difference?

They first took measures that could not be scaled up. They thoroughly studied each prospect and customized each awareness attempt.

Different channel or medium. Same story.

One company used direct mail to get a foot in the door with $ 30 million + companies, receiving a 25% response rate. Another study shows that first-time buyers are 60% more likely to visit the URL of a website after seeing it on a direct mail.

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Let's do another one.

Spoken with another founder recently. He literally went into 13 cold multi-million dollar companies one day. Now, have two proposals on. That's ~ 15% response rate.

Again: Compare this with ~ 0.5% and ~ 3% for online listings. And it's just for a little click! The vast majority of them will not become a prospect, a qualified opportunity or a sales prospect.

So really, you look at percentage fractions.

The problem with these powerful tactics?

None of them is evolutionary. At least not on the surface.

The search for individual persons in the accounts is not. Writing letters by hand is not it. Creating and sending custom packages is not. And walking in the office is definitely not.

The trick is to make the scalable scalable. It does not make sense, I know. But he hopes that in a few minutes.

You should be able to find a way to scale several "non-scalable" activities with people, processes, and tools. Here's how.

Start from scratch with your target accounts

The lazy answer to this dilemma is "account-based marketing". Which is really just a euphemism for "no terrible marketing."

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Rather than qualify and disqualify you towards the end, you do it right away. You are investing more time and energy to reduce waste so you can focus more attention and resources on fewer and better potential customers.

Do not believe me on my word

This is the essence of predictable income. The same who added $ 100 million to the first line of Salesforce. The same as the one used by the fastest growing SaaS teams today.

This is a mix of inbound and outbound. You use the best of both to speed up the process.

Inbound is awesome. But we must.ev.er. And the results do not always go as they should. Not as we told you. Not at the beginning. Not in competitive industries filled with low volume and long tail queries.

Example: "Content Marketing."

Ninety-seven points of difficulty. While the volume range puts it around the mid-tail, the best case.

Now, try to classify this term with a 500-word blog post. Try ranking for this term with "Best Content Marketing Tools" or another inept article.

This could work in the local business pool. I will not cut it here.

That's why more is needed. It requires more. The only way to sell five or six digit transactions is to launch a dedicated account.

The trick is to do the hard work in advance. Set your ideal customer profile and everything else becomes easy.

But we can not do that for you. Unfortunately, you are alone.

LinkedIn, however, gives you some ways to pre-qualify prospects on the scale.

The first step is their LinkedIn sales browser. You can select firmographic criteria such as job titles, company size, geography, and so on. to ask them to draw up a prospecting list.

Then you can register the companies as new accounts to have access to all the people inside.

Then, landmark: stalking.

LinkedIn's browser sales will provide a never-ending stream of updates when it's filled with accounts. Whenever your key people do something on the site, you'll see it.

And you will be socially sold in no time. The same strategy that IBM used to increase sales by 400%.

It's the hard part, though. You must be on their radar. Not by sending spam InMail messages. But reaching out and arguing. You build all this relationship-thing.

You can also combine an incoming part with your output.

For example, you can run content promotion on these target accounts to passively reinforce brand awareness.

Then you can use LinkedIn's new Corresponded Audiences feature. It's more or less their version of Facebook's custom audiences.

You can target contacts who have already visited your site. Or you can download a list of contacts who opted somewhere along the way.

It is here that you add the scale. You do not have to automate meetings with prospects. You really can not, in fact.

But you can start automating some peripheral activities, such as these retargeting ads in the background.

And you can also start streamlining "non-scalable" individual prospecting techniques. Here's how.

Now, make it unstable, evolutionary

There is one thing between you and more paying customers.

This is not the moment. This is not money. This is not a tool.

And this is not even a hack. It's a process.

That's all. Sexy, no?

A little over a year ago, my company sent them by mail (among others).

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Not the best. But not bad.

We sent each one with a handwritten note. Then we stuffed both in an envelope and mailed it to an individual in the head office of a company account.

Now, you probably think that it takes time. And that's because it was. Very.

Initially, we did all the work. You even bought the envelopes at Staples (remember them?) And you brought them to an honest post office. "

The first results were promising. Strong responses have begun to be heard.

So here's where things are fun. You create a process around this to move to someone else.

Fortunately, there is this magic secret to deal with subordinate and recurrent tasks like this one. They are like little magical elves who just sweep after you so that the problems go away.

They call: interns.

The trick is that you have to tell them exactly what you are looking for. Most do not do it. They are just waiting for them to know. And the results suck. "Trainees are lazy" etc. etc.

Each step is its own small process. There should be details on how to find key accounts on LinkedIn, how to create a prospecting list, and so on.

Very soon you will have hundreds of names. For pennies on the dollar.

Revisit these stats above. A response rate of 10% + with hundreds of names, each potential customer worth more than $ 10,000 in the next year?

I'll take this to "become viral" anytime.

Change your perception of what can or can not be scaled

People love their habits. They like their business-as-usual.

Take forms. Do we need them?

Maybe. Maybe not.

This is how it generally works. A person visits your site and opts for. Impressive! Except, they are not very clear on what comes next.

Internally, this notification goes … somewhere? You get to check in advance, eventually. And then reach out for hours, days or weeks later.

From here, the perspective has already evolved. It's too late.

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Your chances of qualifying each new prospect will drop by 400% after five minutes.

So, how can you scale up the unscalable?

Live chat is a solution. It satisfies 92% of friends. Companies like Influx have used it to attract 27% of incoming leads and grow businesses by 20% each month.

But not the way you think. You can not afford to hire someone to sit around all day.

Fortunately, you can now use chatbots to do everything from qualifying new prospects to scheduling sales calls with hot leads. And then help you close more deals.

You can preprogram the sequence. And your chatbot will do all the hard work for you.

TrainedUp, a video training service for church leaders, has recently implemented this approach.

Think about your average form-based conversions for a minute. You are lucky if 7 to 9% of visitors opt for your services.

TrainedUp sees 25% of visitors interact with their chatbot. Then 15% of them go through the planning of a demo. And 40% of these chatbot-driven demos are converted into paying customers.

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Much of TrainedUp's success stems from the use of Drift Playbooks. This feature poses three simple questions to completely integrate the new leads for you.

Directive Consulting is doing something similar. For example, the chatbot may qualify (or disqualify) prospects for you without one person occupying the station.

For example, you only want to work with decision makers. Ideally, you are looking for "CEOs" and "VP / Directors" who can sign on the dotted line. Then you can customize a different answer for "managers" to make sure no one is wasting time on each other.

Let's choose "VP / Director" to continue the conversation.

Then you can get basic budget information. Once again, this allows to better qualify and segment new tracks. If someone's budget is "Less than 5k", for example, the chatbot politely informs them of the project's minimums.

It can even help you route tracks to different representatives or divisions. The services you offer to a customer in the range of $ 5 to $ 10,000 can be very different from those of $ 50,000 or more. This allows you to determine who each visitor should talk to internally.

Because the next step is to solve the main problem we had previously: plan the next step.

You now have all these valuable data. You know whether they are good or not. You know exactly which department, division or representative you are referring to.

So why make them wait for a "follow-up" that should not happen soon?

Instead, you can immediately ask them to schedule a new sales call.

Drift incorporates a calendar function built into most calendars. Thus, the chatbot can even schedule conversations in real time.

Otherwise, you can respond with a Calendly link (even by customizing different links and availability for different types of leads).

So, if someone succeeds in passing the first three questions, he receives a link to schedule a conversation immediately:

Replacing a traditional thank-you page with a Calendly link so visitors can schedule appointments themselves helps Virtru to move conversions from about 30% to over 61% in a single month.

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Marketing & # 39; viral & # 39; could work for B2C. Network effects can help you attract more users in a free photo sharing app.

But none of this works realistically for B2B.

The problem is that you often get out of hand when you focus exclusively on scalable marketing activities. These things only work at the bottom of the food chain.

Selling intangible, high-percentage services to executives is a different story. The only way to get their trust and gain their trust is to make things difficult. The thing that takes time. The stuff that almost never shifts immediately.

The trick is to scale up the unscalable. You use processes, delegation, and technology to overcome the burden.

In this way, you always seem to offer the same personalized touch that people are looking for. However, you do not do it personally. And it's critical.

About the author: Brad Smith is the founder of Codeless, a B2B content creation company. Frequent contributor to Kissmetrics, Unbounce, WordStream, AdEspresso, Search Engine Journal, Autopilot, and more.