There are twice as many touches in the B2B sales cycle today, and that means marketers must get smarter about how they track and measure every interaction.
As Caroline Japic writes on Forbes.com, BrightFunnel research estimates that it now takes 52% more touches to close a sale, with those engagements split almost evenly between pre sales and the actual sales cycle.
“This new reality is putting more demands on marketing to measure, optimize and engage customers over longer periods of time, with the average nurture cycle at 12 months,” she writes. “Marketing must work to shorten this sales cycle and do a far better job of tracking, analyzing and forecasting marketing campaigns.”
She offers a checklist of activities to help up your marketing game during the B2B sales cycle, including capitalizing on social media, visual content and news releases, which can serve as thought leadership. “If you are a startup and can’t satisfy the criteria of a serious PR firm for news, consider putting out news releases online,” she notes. “They help SEO and fill in press release gaps.”
However, make sure these releases are really relevant. As B2B consultant and B2B Connect to Convert speaker Katie Martell recently wrote, done properly thought leadership such as this is worth doing. A recent Edelman/LinkedIn study showed that 63% of B2B leaders see thought leadership as a way to help gauge the caliber of potential partners.
But, Martell said, nearly a quarter of respondents to that study said the majority of the thought leadership articles read are of poor quality.
“Ask yourself: Are we adding to the noise? Or are we truly adding value?” she wrote. “There’s a big difference between “thought leadership” and “uninspired thought.” You know it when you see it—and your buyers ignore it when they see it.”