At our August Forum, a wonderful bunch of FINITE members came together virtually to chat about their challenges in B2B tech marketing. 

FINITE Forums are a monthly meet up where 10 or so members get to know each other and gain career support from peers in a relaxed setting. The conversation is led by FINITE Founder Alex Price, but all feedback and solutions come from the members themselves.

We always start off the Forum with a short introduction from everyone on the call, including where they are, what they do and a brief description of challenges they’re facing at the moment. Some members prefer to keep it chill and listen to the interesting conversation rather than input their own challenges, which is completely fine! All are welcome here, bystander or active participant.

Brand vs. performance marketing – what’s the split?

We kicked of the discussion of challenges with a broad but popular topic within B2B tech marketing: brand vs. performance. It’s not as if we have to do one or the other, but B2B tech marketers often speak as if we do!

The biggest challenge for B2B tech marketers in regards to branding is proving the value of it. The results of brand marketing aren’t as direct and instant as performance marketing. Is this why brand can often be put on the back burner, done with spare budget and thought of as second to direct marketing?

We need to remember that 95% of buyers are not in the market for a solution at any given time. Brand building is essential for ensuring your brand is thought of and trusted when those potential customers come into market.

It’s much more complex to implement a brand strategy when your company is bigger. However, most tech companies only invest in brand after they’ve achieved performance based growth. Our members agreed that brand should be built from the very start. The question is, when should you have a dedicated brand team? And when should you be focused on attaining that 60/40 brand/performance ratio?

How can I measure my B2B tech brand?

The evolution of B2B brand marketing in tech has evolved from social listening to mentions on all kinds of media. In other words, tech companies aren’t just focussing on their presence on social, but their presence on a variety of channels. B2B tech marketers are now looking at middle of funnel, trust, engagement and sharing of a brand.

Review sites are key to keeping an eye on your brand and influencing how your brand is perceived. In a digital world, brand is everywhere. It’s no longer just TV ads and billboards. You can track all these touch points with tools to see how the digital mix impacts results and wider business objectives.

How can I attribute value to SEO?

You can set clear goals for SEO, but how can you directly attribute the success of increased SEO rankings on ROI? You can correlate increased ranking with higher website visits and conversions, but can you ever prove causation?

Using a marketing automation tool, you can track visits to the page and the journey users take to and from that page, but it’s a challenge using one attribution model for each unique sales funnel. There are first touch point models and last touch points models, but ideally you’ll build your own to account for your specific buyer journey.

It’s a big help when all of your MarTech is integrated, and when all your metrics are in one place and can be compared accordingly.

How can I track social media accounts?

There is a general lack of social media reporting tools in the MarTech space. Some social posting tools integrated with larger platforms have many limitations around tagging and tracking. In particular, it’s hard to track individual LinkedIn accounts, so B2B tech marketers have to use averages and track manually, which takes a long time! This tool was recommended as a solution to this challenge.

Without tracking tools, it’s hard to prove business outcomes because you cannot see what impact a channel is making on your revenue and conversion rates.

Adding a simple ‘where did you hear about us?’ to any lead gen form will give you great insight into how customers have found your solution. One FINITE member found that their answers were rather unexpected, which allowed them to focus on new channels that they might never have paid attention to.

Help! My sales team doesn’t like our CRM!

If sales staff do not like a CRM, they won’t use it. They also won’t update it, so the sales journeys for individual customers won’t be tracked and if that salesperson leaves the team, their work and progress will be lost. If a sales team doesn’t like a CRM, they’ll focus on manual outreach, even though that process could be automated by the CRM!

Executive teams need convincing to invest in complex CRM systems. If you have alignment on objectives, missions and teams, you can choose tools together to get buy-in from everyone. With a good CRM, you can live in it and do everything from there, so it can be well worth the added cost.

Ultimately, CRMs save time and can pay for themselves in the long run.

How can I find B2B tech influencers?

There’s a different definition of influencer marketing in B2B than in B2C. The purpose of influencer marketing in B2B is to influence the people who are impacting the final purchase decision.

In the last 5 or 10 years, influencer marketing has evolved from analysts to bloggers and social media accounts. Sometimes the more senior a profile is, people are naturally more engaged with what they have to say.

Metrics for influencer marketing are hard to measure, especially with different influencer types. There are lots of influencer manager platforms out there, but not so much on the B2B side. Tools like Architect are dedicated to finding and managing tech analysts, but it’s difficult to find a platform that scales to B2B influencers.

One simple trick is to Google ‘Best influencers (industry/sector)’ and lots of journalists have already made relevant and accurate lists. There are no defined influencers in B2B, but there are plenty of them out there. They’re the analysts, CEOs, execs, specialists who have a profile and existing audience.

Again, thanks to all the members that joined this discussion! If you missed out and would like to join the next one, look out for an email labelled ‘FINITE member hangout.’

FINITE membership is free, so if you’re a B2B tech marketer and not a member yet, head here to apply!