Want to make your sales team cry? Tell them that according to the recent Hubspot Inbound Report, 63% of prospects report being “not at all” or only “somewhat” knowledgeable of a specific B2B brand before receiving the first contact from the company.
It’s no wonder your sales team is constantly frustrated with the quality of their leads. Their leads barely qualify as warm at all. One major reason is the role of the gatekeeper in 2017. It’s no longer just Bonnie at the front desk who won’t forward a sales call to a key decision maker. It’s Outlook sending your newsletter to the junk folder. It’s LinkedIn saying you can’t connect because you’re a 3rd connection. It’s ad blockers showing a blank space where your programmatic ad is supposed to be.
And even when your digital message does get through the gatekeepers, it quickly becomes another piece of virtual clutter. Imagine your sales person spending the time to craft an authentic email outlining your company, sharing some original thoughts about the prospect’s challenges to show they’ve done some research, and closing with a request to connect over coffee or lunch. Sound familiar? It does to decision makers. They get a version of this email dozens of times a week, most of them step-and-repeat emails they’ve learned to ignore.
I know what you’re thinking right now: How the hell am I supposed to break down these barriers so our prospect knows about our brand before my sales team reaches out? As our marketing world falls more and more in love with digital tools and enhancements, here are three proven offline tactics that should be used to raise brand awareness:
1. Direct Mail: News flash: decision makers still get their mail delivered every day at work. This is a great way for your B2B brand to gain some attention in a much less crowded space. Think about it; do you get as much physical mail as you do emails in a day? Not even close. Better to be one of five pieces of physical mail than one of a hundred easily deletable emails.
2. Sponsorships: Historically, sponsorships have a reputation for lower ROI compared to other tactics. However, I feel that this has more to do with difficulty in tracking than anything to do with its effectiveness. The fact is your decision makers are still attending trade shows, events and speaking engagements. If you can find sponsorship opportunities that include being a part of a panel or even getting your own session at an event, this could be a valuable opportunity to inform your prospects about your brand through thought leadership. Showing your company’s expertise on stage is hands-down one of the best ways to generate referrals and leads.
3. Traditional Advertising: The B2C market does a great job with traditional advertising but the B2B world seems to disregard it. Print, radio, TV and outdoor advertising still works, people! Decision makers can just as easily take in ad at the breakfast table or on the drive in to work as they can at the office. As an added bonus, with traditional advertising channels you often don’t have to worry about competition from B2B competitors. When you assess your media spend, don’t disregard traditional methods of advertising just because they’re harder to track.
Without a doubt, digital is a key B2B marketing tactic. But don’t fall in love with digital tactics like marketing automation and programmatic to the exclusion of all the other options available to you. The important thing to always ask is this: “Will this help my sales team when they reach out to a prospect for the first time?”