Chief Marketer recently talked with Cyndi Greenglass, senior vice president, strategic solutions, at Diamond Marketing Solutions, to get her thoughts on the biggest challenges facing marketers when it comes to engaging leads and moving them through the funnel to B2B conversion.
CHIEF MARKETER: What’s the biggest hurdle to conversion in B2B?
CYNDI GREENGLASS: Understanding the path to conversion. Often the process laid out by the marketing department doesn’t actually meet the path that prospects take in their decision process. For example, marketing may try and convert a prospect too early, or they don’t engage the multiple influencers in the process so that when the prospect is ready to make the buy decision, there is a disconnect between the engagement, the content and the messaging.
CM: What mistakes do marketers commonly make when trying to move prospects through the funnel to conversion?
GREENGLASS: Believe it or not, we are becoming so enamored with the conversation and engagement that we sometimes forget to ask for the sale. Our messages have become more and more about engagement. That’s great, but we need to remember that at every step of the way we ask: “Are you ready to take the next step?” or “Do you need help” or whatever the identified conversion step is that you would like to motivate.
CM: What creative approaches do you find work the best to get B2B prospects to convert? Which don’t?
GREENGLASS: Don’t be boring! In study after study we have seen that in B2B, our audiences feel our messages lack any compelling engagement. Just because we are at work, doesn’t mean we stop being human. So remember to inject human emotion and personal value into all of your creative and messaging.
According to one recent study, only 31% find personal value in B2B brands. BUT, 68% would pay more for something they found personal value in. We’re not all automatons doing our job with pure Vulcan logic. Try humor—it brings us together and makes us all more approachable.
There is nothing like storytelling to build a relationship. According to “The Psychology of Stories: The Storytelling Formula Our Brains Crave,” by Shane Jones, stories create sensory experiences that influence our way of thinking. So when you tell a memorable story, you create a picture in the mind of your audience. This can change the way the reader or listener feels about your brand, and may increase their willingness to do business with you. Of course, timing is everything. Make sure you are using the appropriate creative and personal messaging at the right time in the process.
CM: What are the top 3 types of content that work better when trying to get prospects to covert?
GREENGLASS: For the complex sale, I go back to my dating analogy. In the beginning you are getting to know each other, so you want to learn about each other likes and dislikes, your history, your story and your friends, right? This content would include social media, endorsements, and credibility building content.
Gamification can be good in the early stages—have some fun and bring out the social and competitive spirit in your prospects. They remember you and your fun way of engaging them, and pepper your gaming strategy with meaning and relevant references to how your company is solving the problems they have. For example, a software security company created a game that let you try to break in and rob a house. You are the thief, and you get to steal all kind of stuff. In the house are also lots of tokens that allow you to steal their cyber identity. The more you steal the “right stuff” the more points you earn. The game is relevant to the user who also learns something along the way, and it is relevant to the company and what they sell. This is a much better way to tell the story than another boring brochure or white paper on the cost of identity theft.
When you get closer to conversion, you need to provide evidence that the prospect is making a solid choice with things like testimonials, ROI calculators, guarantees and tangible metrics. For example, for an education client we provided documentation that prospects can share with their boss to show the program will improve productivity and enhance innovation. There’s also an International Skype hotline prospects can call to get personal assistance from candidates who have been there and were successful in making a similar case to their c-suite.
Finally, go back to personal value. Make the argument clearly that this decision will save them from risk and make them look good.
Want to learn more about improving B2B conversion? Attend B2B LeadsCon, Aug 22-24 in New York.