In part two of our three-part series, we’re exploring the post-sales marketing strategies the expert panelists at “Marketing Madness” covered during our roundtable discussion on eliminating customer churn.
You’ve successfully closed a deal with a high-value prospect obtained through an ABM campaign. But don’t celebrate just yet — getting customers through the door is only half the battle. The challenge continues after the ink on the contract is dry, when marketers are tasked with turning first-time customers into loyal brand advocates with lifetime value
A successful post-sales relationship starts with a great customer experience (CX). When CX is embedded in the marketing phase, organizations are more likely to achieve success in client interactions. “The customer experience starts with the buyer experience,” says Showpad’s Global Demand Generation Director, Nicolette Cieslak.
So, if your customer doesn’t quickly engage with the materials you give them, you risk losing buyers to a competitor that has invested more thought and effort in the post-sales lifecycle.
Maintaining engagement is the difference between a one-time sale and a customer for life
There is nothing more frustrating than securing a high-quality lead and then losing the sale. But as marketers, how do we continue to wow and delight customers once they walk through the door? It’s no longer enough for just sales and marketing messaging to be aligned, the customer service team needs to deliver on what was promised throughout the buyer’s journey. Without a post-sales marketing plan, customers could lose trust in your brand and take their business elsewhere.
The trick to capturing repeat customers, according to Cieslak, is to provide value at every touchpoint and avoid pushing low-quality content through the pipeline. A simple “thank you” note or customer success story delivered at the right moment, for example, can go a long way toward cultivating brand loyalty.
Keep in mind, you’ll be speaking to multiple audiences during the post-sale marketing phase. Will Wiegler, SVP & CMO of SpringCM, says you’re likely going to talk to people who don’t know you in addition to existing clients who are looking for a reason to hang around after their initial purchase. Regardless of who you interact with, it’s important to not overwhelm your customers with too much content. You want to be a welcome guest in your client’s inbox, providing valuable touchpoints to continue the conversation — not a nuisance that gets sent directly to the trash pile.
It’s all about balance: how to engage customers without overwhelming them
The right content strategy gives customers something to talk about after they complete the sales process. Customers want to know how and why your product or service will continue to benefit them in the future.
It all goes back to providing post-sales content that answers your customers’ needs and illuminates how you are solving their problems. Ensono, for example, uses surveys to determine the types of content customers want to receive and how businesses can continue to provide additional value.
From developing customer case studies to posting how-to guides, here are several ways marketers can leverage content to keep customers coming back for more:
- Develop a customer mantra to rally your employees. Organizations achieve customer success when everyone is on the same page. To keep marketing, sales and customer service teams aligned, G2 Crowd developed a customer mantra to focus employees on a shared end goal. Any marketing materials sent to customers should be standardized across every promotional platform, and a customer mantra can help remind employees to create content that addresses customer needs.
- Leverage newsletters for engagement. To hold buyers’ interest, SpringCM sends their customers newsletters containing information about new product releases, educational materials, success stories and more. Customers love hearing how other users take advantage of your product, and this type of content is more likely to be read in earnest than spammy advertisements.
- Establish a dedicated community manager. In the post-sales cycle, third-party validation matters. With a community manager onboard, marketers can continue to engage customers and nurture long-term brand loyalty. A community manager also gets to know the buyer demographic better, digging into customers’ specific preferences and what they like or dislike about a product.
In the absence of post-sales marketing, organizations risk losing market share. But excessive content and intrusive interactions can also turn off your existing customer base. Remember, you want to deliver value at every touchpoint — don’t produce content just for the sake of producing it. Only when businesses demonstrate they have their customers’ best interests in mind through post-sales content marketing will companies enjoy the fruits of their lead-generating labor.
Welcome to the last installment of our three-part series on bitcoin and blockchain! From highlighting the benefits associated with talking about these two technologies to lining up qualified thought leaders, we’ve set the stage for a productive discussion around bitcoin and blockchain.
Now it’s time to put all of that planning and preparation into action. Here’s how to position your company at the forefront of the bitcoin and blockchain conversation.
Get out and about
Each year, dozens of conferences and events serve as gathering points for bitcoin and blockchain experts from all over the world. Learn about the latest developments surrounding the two innovations by sending your company’s thought leaders to a few of these events in 2018. The more often they chime in on conversations between speakers and attendees, the better chance they’ll have of being seen as an authority on bitcoin and blockchain.
Eager to get moving? Consider these upcoming events.
Offer your two cents
Whenever big news breaks, news outlets and trade publications rely on thought leaders to help explain what fresh developments might mean for the rest of the industry. Offer up such insights by reaching out to reporters who are particularly interested in bitcoin or blockchain. Although your company’s thought leaders may not start off as go-to resources, commenting on recent trends can help build up their credibility among audiences as well as journalists.
Build influencer relationships
Known for their loyal — and often large — audiences, bloggers and social media influencers have the power to generate significant results for your business. Nearly 86 percent of marketers relied on influencer marketing in 2016, and of those, 94 percent found the tactic to be effective. Make the most of this opportunity by establishing relationships with influencers who might be a good fit for your thought leaders. From commenting on recent posts to offering ideas for new ones, consistent engagement can help earn the trust of influencers.
In addition to working with influencers, encourage your thought leaders to develop content of their own. Blogs, videos and podcasts are just a few of the many ways in which thought leaders can craft reputations as experts in the industry — and possibly increase sales. More than 80 percent of senior executives believe compelling thought leadership content can influence their choice of business partner.
Wondering where to start? Walker Sands is here to help. We’ll work closely with your team of internal experts to create content that can be easily found by both buyers and decision-makers. When it comes to pinning down relevant conferences or trade publications, we’ve also got you covered. Our team knows the ins-and-outs of the B2B tech industry, and can take your brand’s visibility to new heights.
Get in touch to learn more about how Walker Sands can help you pull up a seat to the bitcoin and blockchain conversation.
In the first of this three blog post series derived from the conversations at our annual “Marketing Madness” event in March, we’ll discuss the rising popularity of account-based marketing (ABM) and how B2B marketers can utilize personalized, targeted content to increase ROI.
Account-based marketing starts with highly relevant content for a select few prospects
Unlike inbound B2B marketing, ABM addresses the specific pain points of individual business accounts. “Rather than deploying a spray-and-pray kind of marketing, you say ‘here are the people I want to touch’ and figure out how to talk to them specifically,” says Will Wiegler, SVP & CMO of SpringCM. ABM can also be considered a ‘zero-waste’ approach to marketing — you only target prospects who are most likely to buy your product in the near future.
Lisa Agona, CMO of Ensono, suggests prospects are more receptive to ABM content because they only receive a handful of marketing materials and each content asset is personalized. But personalization also poses a unique challenge to marketers tasked with developing customized content for highly segmented audiences. Customers don’t want to hear how your solution is great or why it works for someone else — they want to know how you’re going to solve their problems. As Communications Director Adam Beeson from G2 Crowd puts it: “It’s not about us. It’s about them.”
Prospects want marketing content that speaks directly to their challenges and shows how your solution or service will bring added value to their lives. Showpad, for example, splits their target accounts into 10 key stakeholders to deepen their understanding of the types of content that will appeal to different buyers. G2 Crowd tailors content to the unique needs of a specific decision maker, e.g., the CEO or CMO of a company. While a CEO might prefer shorter content because her time is scarce, a CMO in the learning phase of the process might prefer long-form content with plenty of examples.
5 steps to develop and implement an effective ABM campaign
Once you’ve decided to go all-in on ABM, you need to develop a roadmap for converting ABM into real-world outcomes. From segmenting your target audience to tailoring content based on personas, here are five steps to help you get started on your ABM campaign:
- Identify high-value prospects. “The first step,” according to Agona, “is to identify prospects with the highest propensity to buy.” Working closely with your sales team, you will need to narrow down your list of prospects based on attributes like market dynamics, trends and upsell opportunities. By segmenting customers into key stakeholders, you can develop content that speaks to the needs of a particular decision maker.
- Develop customer personas. After you have your targeted prospects, build out personas to understand the types of challenges those companies face and how decisions are made. At Showpad, for example, marketers treat various divisions of targeted companies as individual buyers. Each persona should include things like the prospect’s buying priorities, preferences, style, tactics and prejudices.
- Map out content assets. For ABM to work, you need to give your full attention to building out custom content for the selected audience. “You need to use your content to say ‘Hey you, come here. I can help,’” says Beeson. From emails to e-books to landing pages, ABM content should engage prospects and focus on the single deal you want to make with that organization.
- Determine optimal marketing channels. Killer content can’t be effective if customers don’t see it. To improve visibility, you have to understand where your target audience lives online and how they access content. Personas can illuminate where each prospect spends the majority of their time online, helping you determine whether you should market content via social media or snail mail. Hypertargeted paid programs through various ad and social networks are also available to hit key targets outside of their email inboxes.
- Execute your campaign with measurable KPIs. After selecting a target audience, developing the appropriate content and determining the appropriate promotional channels, it’s time to launch you campaign. But simply deploying an ABM campaign isn’t enough — you need to measure and evaluate the effectiveness of your efforts so you can make adjustments along the way. Leveraging your marketing stack, like CRM and marketing automation tools, can help you get started. You may also want to consider solutions like Demandbase and Terminus for greater insight and organization, especially when it comes to scaling your ABM campaign.
Personalized content fuels ABM campaigns, but your ABM strategy shouldn’t end there. Instead of publishing low-quality, high-quantity blog posts, focus on developing strategic content that connects with specific people and companies. With highly relevant content targeting the right prospects at the right time during their buyer journey, you can capitalize on ABM campaigns and significantly improve the quality of leads in your pipeline.
We’re excited to announce our recent achievement on Clutch.co, a B2B ratings and reviews site. In 2018, Clutch has recognized Walker Sands as a leading company in not one, but four different categories in their Top Chicago Advertising and Marketing press release! These include: Digital Marketing, Inbound Marketing, SEO and PPC.
There doesn’t seem to be an end point to the growth of digital marketing. It continues to evolve in unpredictable ways. As such, our team is always thinking about how to reinvent our strategies to keep up with customer trends and technologies. Our team of strategists and original thinkers at Walker Sands thrive on rising to these challenges, and we’re grateful to have client reviews on Clutch to prove it.
Since joining the ratings and reviews platform, we’ve had a number of our clients take the time to provide their feedback, which we are so thankful for. The reviews not only help with our online reputation management, but show prospective buyers that we can be trusted with their business challenges and deliver important returns on their investment.
To say the least, we’re thrilled to have 5-star ratings on Clutch!
We’re honored that our clients have provided feedback that allows us to be amongst the best of the best in Chicago digital marketing. We will constantly strive to create work that is impactful and leads to results that matter for our B2B brands.
In addition to summer hours and the legendary annual Cubs game, Walker Sands offers employees who have been with the company for three years a great opportunity: To visit an agency within the Public Relations Organization International (PROI) network. The goal of the program is to strengthen our ties with agencies around the world, while learning from our PR and digital marketing peers.
I was awarded the opportunity to visit Lansons, a full-service agency specializing in corporate, political and financial communications. At the end of February I packed my bags, exchanged my dollars for pounds and brushed up on the British monarchy by binge-watching “The Crown” for a full week of learning in London.
In July 2017, we were joined by Becky Annable, account direct and partner at Lansons. Not only did Becky share their incredible work and client portfolio, but she also emphasized Lansons’ interest in building a strong content program. As a content strategist and part of a 14-person team, I saw an opening to talk more about content’s role in public relations and digital marketing – and maybe show off some of the great work we’ve put together for our clients.
Learnings & Takeaways
After nearly 30 years in business, Lansons has cemented its place as one of London’s premier public relations agencies. And after meeting with their teams, it’s clear why. Everyone from new business development to financial services is so deeply immersed in what they do, and are constantly looking for ways to improve their processes. Here are a few of my biggest takeaways:
- Cross-Practice Area Opportunities. While Lansons serves several practice areas (public affairs, fintech, consumer communications, etc.), employees aren’t limited to one specific team. For example, you might have a client in the financial services space, one in consumer communications and one in public affairs. The reasoning behind crossing practice areas is it gives employees a chance to broaden the scope of their work, and helps maintain fresh perspectives for new ideas and media opportunities.
- Dynamic brainstorming. We love a good brainstorm at Walker Sands, and Lansons is no different. But instead of everyone sitting around a table, their brainstorms require a ton of movement and interaction. It was loud, fast-paced and I loved every second of it. In the end, the account team working on the client pitch had four white boards full of potential story ideas.
- Data-Backed Sales Processes. Lansons’ new business development team (our equivalent of sales) walked me through a typical presentation process. While most of their steps aligned with how our sales teams handled potential clients, one of the biggest things that stood out to me was how they incorporate data into presentations. They don’t believe in just showing prospects what they can do – they show them why that strategy will work
This trip would be misrepresented if I didn’t talk about the incredible staff at Lansons. I quickly learned there are few differences between Walker Sands and Lansons employees. Everyone is hard working and supportive, and truly enjoys being around their teammates. Plus, they know how to have a good time.
With the few extra days I had to myself, I explored around London (admittedly getting lost more than once). I wandered over to Oxford and Piccadilly Circus, strolled through Westminster and enjoyed seeing Tottenham Hotspur take on Huddersfield Town A.F.C. at legendary Wembley Stadium.
It’s hard to believe one week with another agency can have such an incredible impact on your professional growth. But it was unexpectedly refreshing and eye-opening to completely immerse myself in Lansons’ processes and cultures. Now if I can just make the case to go every year…