B2B Customer Acquisition: The role of human engagement in a world of digital-first enterprise marketing
the overall cost of digital marketing and virtual sales can be lower than the traditional sales model because people are the biggest cost in most sales organisations.
Do marketing teams need to invest in virtual sales relationships for millennial customers?
Before organisations switch investment priorities to virtual sales tools and environments, it’s critical to understand the target market. Where the organisation’s target market is primarily millennials then it makes sense to change the approach, but if customers are primarily older buyers then it might not be necessary to change anything at the present time.
Additionally, organisations that are reluctant to invest in virtual sales experiences and tools should remember that the overall cost of digital marketing and virtual sales can be lower than the traditional sales model because people are the biggest cost in most sales organisations. There is a cost associated with AI, chatbots and software for digital marketing, but it’s probably less than most companies spend on people. It’s possible to invest in meeting customers where they want to be, while reducing overall costs.
if someone posts a compliment about a product online, I’d suggest screenshotting the original post and sharing that in your marketing, rather than just using someone’s words.
How can marketing teams build trust with millennial customers when engaging virtually?
Where organisations are selling to millennial customers it is important to bear in mind that customers in this segment do not trust a lot of companies or brands. The old model of advertising and sales doesn’t work because millennials don’t want to talk to you.
To engage these customers, companies should have as many testimonials as possible in as many formats as possible. Increasingly, we see customers watching video, because it is perceived as more authentic. Similarly, if someone posts a compliment about a product online, I’d suggest screenshotting the original post and sharing that in your marketing, rather than just using someone’s words.
It can be time consuming and costly to make one-to-one sales calls, so consider monthly webinars, or live Q&A events on LinkedIn, or an AMA (ask me anything) where people can talk to you live. You get the interaction and connection, but it’s not as costly.
Is it important for brands in B2B sales to be entertaining to customers?
Entertainment can involve humour and brands such as Duolingo and Hubspot do this very well. Their marketing content often pokes fun at the nature of their company, what it’s like to work in that industry, and it uses humour to get people aware of their brand. What we then see is that people like and trust the brand, and will then investigate the product.
Another successful example of this strategy was a company that placed a model of a human sized gargoyle in a busy airport. The company hired a comedian to talk to passing members of the public through the gargoyle, creating humorous content. This was a positive experience of the brand for the people involved, but the reach of the campaign was much larger. The brand captured and edited video of the best interactions, and shared those on social media.
What’s interesting about this approach is that it shows us you don’t have to offer every customer a direct experience. Experiential marketing can be built around sharing content that allows the customer to see and share in someone else’s experience, through video.
In B2B marketing there are multiple ways to build experiences online, from interactive quizzes to AI chats and virtual tours. Creating a quiz that helps someone find the right product, or building a virtual tour where someone can interact with your product will drive higher sales, while meeting the millennial customer’s need for virtual interaction.