Today’s B2B sales and marketing professionals are bombarded with tips and tricks about what they should be doing to drive customer and business growth. Due to this, it can be hard to separate the good advice from the bad.
So, what if instead of relying on the opinions of industry influencers for your sales and marketing insights--or on the claims of product evangelists--you could learn directly from what today’s most successful B2B companies are actually doing?
Read the full report here: State of Sales & Marketing: 50 Fastest-Growing B2B Companies
What The Fastest Companies Are Actually Doing
- Path to Purchase
The majority of fast growing companies are using content to drive traffic to their websites and to educate their target audiences. Blogging was the big winner, with 80% of companies maintaining a blog. Content downloads came in second which included ebooks, white papers, and the like.
"44% (22 out of 50) of the fastest-growing B2B companies offer
downloadable content, like ebooks or whitepapers."
Content has become the foundation of many B2B operations. Following the inbound marketing framework marketers are able to target all aspects of the sales funnel. Here's how it works, Blogging drives top-of-the-funnel traffic to a company’s website. From there, callsto-action (CTAs) encourage visitors to download content (e.g. ebooks, whitepapers, and templates) so they can learn more about a particular topic.
This process can be repeated and scaled by marketing teams to include a wide variety of tactics at every stage of the funnel, but the end goal is always the same: to add value and build relationships that drive revenue for your business.
Scale content as your business grows. Too many businesses try to do it all at once. Instead, focus on one content type and channel at a time. As you grow your business, scale your content efforts.
All of the content that is being created by these companies is wonderful but, what about the people who engage with this content and then have questions? Or the people who don’t want to wait for someone to email them after filling out a form? People who want to talk to a real person right now?
One solution that's emerging is 1:1 messaging, which allows prospects and customers to have 1:1 conversations with support reps, sales reps, and other employees via a "live chat" widget on a company's website.
"22% (11 out of 50) of the fastest-growing B2B companies have a live chat widget on their website."
If content is a gateway, communication is the key that unlocks the rest of the customer journey. Use content to start a conversation and then help usher prospects to the right outcome. Leverage real-time chat strategically. 1:1 messaging can prove useful in providing the right guidance to a prospect or customer at exactly the right time. Use that to your advantage.
3. Path to Purchase
Prospective customers still need to have a positive experience when they hit your website; this is their first impression of your company.
In analyzing the websites of the 50 fastest-growing B2B companies, Mattermark found two distinct paths that companies typically try to send potential customers down. They either direct people to A) engage with the product or service in some way, or to B) engage with a salesperson or other company representative to learn more.
Of course, many of the companies that have product-focused primary CTAs also have secondary CTAs for talking to Sales. It doesn’t have to be one way or the other. Within the 50 fastest-growing B2B companies in the U.S., both tactics are employed. You can encourage people to discover the value of your product through having them experience it for themselves, and you can provide them with an opportunity to talk to a real person if that’s what they want.
"36% (18 out of 50) of the fastest-growing B2B companies offer free trials or freemium versions of their product."
A free trial or freemium version of a product can be a driving force behind a company’s growth. It’s a model that allows prospective customers to experience first-hand how a product is going to perform, which reduces the need for canned sales pitches and aggressive tactics.
Freemium may be a starting point for many of your users, but build out your version with the goal of turning those users into paying customers at a certain point in time.
Research shows that a majority of prospective customers consider pricing to be the most important piece of information a B2B company can show on its website. When you look at the top 50 fastest-growing B2B companies in the U.S., you will find that just 2 in 5 have pricing pages that show actual prices. ( To clarify this last point, one company had a “pricing page” with no prices -- just “contact us” CTAs under every product option.)
Pricing is important for buyers, but not quite as important for companies. A majority of the companies on the list didn’t have pricing pages on their site, even though research indicates buyers want it. Consider A/B testing a pricing page’s efficacy in driving to a specific outcome.
"40% (20 out of 50) of the fastest-growing B2B companies make their pricing public."
Keep your pricing simple. If your pricing structure is unclear or a part of a friction-filled process, you need to fix it. Use tiered pricing models and incorporate CTA's for Enterprise level pricing. Remove the barriers to entry level pricing for people who want your product.
The goal of this Report isn’t to establish new, etched-in-stone B2B sales and marketing benchmarks, or to prove that one tactic or approach is superior to another. By sticking to a sample size of just 50 companies (the fastest-growing ones), you can see a data-driven but qualitative snapshot of the field and find out what to learn.
Hopefully, you’ve come away with more insight into what modern B2B sales and marketing looks like, as well as ideas for how you can accelerate the growth of your business.