8 Revenue Driving Principles That eCommerce & B2B Marketers Can Learn From Each Other
For one, marketing automation scales growth for both.
- B2B marketers use Hubspot, Marketo, Act On, InfusionSoft, Genius, Spark, Pardot.
- eCommerce marketers use WordPress, MailChimp, SendGrid, Google Analytics, Frame.io, LeadPages, Segment.io, Intercom.io, Brightpearl, Hootesuite, Nanigans (digital advertising automation).
For two, AIDA applies to all
(we are all humans, we respond in similar ways to attention getters, interest inducing content, desire and action).
- B2B marketers leverage email nurture campaigns & retargeting
- eCommerce marketers has a number of online campaigns structured by objective & working in sync from retargeting to emails, to recommended content
For three, funnels & landing pages are where the focus is
for optimization for both industries.
- Both are obsessing about the funnels, eCommerce folks groom their checkout experience while B2B explore the gap from trial registrations to becoming active customers.
For four, predictive analytics
brings both to the next level if available for practice.
- That depends on the budget and tools available, in ecommerce, we use Evergage, Rich Relevance, CommerceSciences, while B2B counterparts explore prospect and lead scoring analysis and predictions.
Which is quite a bit in common, and only begs a question – What can eCommerce entrepreneurs learn from B2B marketers and what B2B experts can pick up from eCommerce? Here are 8 revenue-driving principles that can work wonderfully if borrowed and applied from my observations, beyond the similarities expressed in tools and technology:
1 Optimize your content with stories people would respond to if sold in person
B2B marketers (good ones at least) work with the sales people to use their working list of personal stories that sell a product every time. They see the themes, the words, the topics or objections commonly faced by the sale reps and develop content that addresses those issues. That way, you will be driving more convinced (qualified) traffic to your sales (trial) pages. eCommerce marketers can do the same by talking to their customers (a small group) directly and asking what sold them on the product and use the info to develop paid or organic campaigns with sales stories as examples to drive similar shoppers. People buy stories, experiences and outcomes, so learn how to paint a picture like a good sales person would, listening to the prospect.
2 Embrace marketing automation
B2B marketers – that is all they do. If you want to scale your business, think in pipelines that you create, which grow your revenue faster with smart tech. When I work with successful ecommerce startups, I see that they use ecommerce technology well to scale their initiatives. Yet, just using the technology is not enough. You need to create workflows for each channel with sufficient traffic volume all working as a system. I teach that process in my eCommerce video program, yet, in a nutshell, it is a process of building a working 24/7 lead-generating machine and in ecommerce, by leads, I mean shoppers. If you start with mapping the pipeline based on your market and conversion research, you can break it down to the execution steps and scale with the smart technology.
3 Leverage the power of relationships
B2B marketers get personal, research ins & outs of their customer business, so that they become “them”. Do similar due diligence about your end users too to power your marketing (placement & targeting will do a trick). In eCommerce, you will be well embraced if you also know as much as possible who your buyers are vs. any potential shopper. What drives them to buy? What emotions you can appeal to and trigger in your campaigns? How do they buy similar products or alternatives? Do you have a seed of 50 repeat shoppers you can reach out to and ask these questions? Even if you do not have that yet, as a starting business, you can run a usability test from your personas for $500 -1000 to get the qualitative answers on why they buy and use those in your site copy and online ads. You can also build a new referral program based on what your learnt from the most popular product you sold the last holiday season and give a few extra benefits to the past customers for sharing the info with similar folks they know who would use your products.
4 Produce quality content that drives leads (emails)
B2B marketers are all about producing lead generating content. Apply the concepts of nurture and drip campaigns to your email marketing. Go beyond the AIDA framework and leverage user behavior to deliver specific content. SendGrid and Frame.io allow you to do so, and many retargeting platforms already offer similar targeting functionality. Study your AIDA based campaigns and reshuffle them based on the findings and break those stages up into smaller behavioral workflows. Always offer an incentive to share email; it is the least expensive way to market to your audience and the best that can power up your targeting databases across other advertising platforms.
5 Synchronize your data
Good eComm people see full picture of their upper funnel and checkout experiences. They know exactly what is the conversion rate for each type of traffic. They also know what is the % of repeat buys by channel of acquisition. This allows investing smart and increasing online spend only on the online programs that deliver sales. In B2B world, I see a common dilemma when sales and marketing are disjoint. The marketing team only sees what types of leads are making into the trial. It has no visibility (or limited visibility) into the sales process (where the sales team takes over) to see what and how they did in terms of closing the sale. The sales process gets optimized only on the upper and middle funnel and completely is a black box on the sales team part. One reason of the issue is disjoint data for the full funnel and another is division of the responsibility, which makes sense, yet both teams must be working as joint at hip to change that uncertainty. The third reason could also be when it is only the marketing team that tracks all interactions well, but the sales team backfills the data.
6 Clean your data
Spotty, backtracked, undisciplined data leads to bad marketing decisions. Good eComm people are analytics savvy marketers. They know how to tag every event and action; they know how to isolate the funnels by channel to see real conversion rates vs. relying on the aggregated one (which is of no use). They study attribution principles to make sure there is better credit and feedback for their spend or organic initiatives. Some B2B marketers rely too much on the automation tools that are prone to mistakes. What if your Salesforce data is not complete? What if you rely on various people to use Hubspot and they do not follow the same patterns to classify campaigns? You have to have consistency in your data and rules on how to update it in order to analyze the patterns correctly to make correct marketing decisions.
7 Apply conversion principles to your landing pages
Know the basics of design influence on buyer behavior, study UX & usability science. Besides, knowing your customer, it pays to understand human psychology and how we are influenced by what we see, here and observe. In eCommerce, usability and cognitive science are must skills at every level of the customer experience. Most of the time, you communicate to your customers online and the same engagement principles work for all kinds of landing pages, be that ecommerce or a Saas company. Thus, it is critical to get the foundations of good design that helps people progress, make decisions, connect the dots and express them via your landing pages. It is also key to base your hypothesis for testing. You need to know what to test and how at the level of human driving principles vs. simply changing colors and shapes on a landing page. You need to know what happens in your user brain when you show this or that and in which format to come up with a series of good tests that deliver results vs. trading minuscular elements that waste your time and traffic you expose to your tests.
8 Think of sales and marketing as one unified funnel and optimize every step in it
If you want to increase revenue in your organization, you have to focus on just one thing – start thinking about sales & marketing as one force (eCommerce entrepreneurs know that sales and marketing are connected and must work well like a pair of figure skaters, training all their lives for the Olympics, knowing each other’s move well and be accountable for each because they are both responsible for the win). In B2B marketing, think seriously about optimizing sales process too with machine learning beyond the lead scoring. That means looking into the sales process very closely and make it visible for the rest of the organization with data points that can be analyzed. Those are the final steps your lead is taking. It is like a good traffic prospect/shopper finally lands on a store product page and has a hard time buying because of the checkout experience, in the ecommerce world. If the lead is perfect, but sales people cannot sell, probe your sales team. It is not about the lead, it is about the process sales people use, this must be accountable and both sides should get transparent. To do so, you can have an internal analysis of the process (similar to what some consultants do for reorgs). You can also look into using machine learning beyond content (applied to the sales process) via internal development or third party tech.