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Dove Direct Print & Marketing Blog - B2B Sales and Marketing Trends Merge in 2018

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Welcome to the Dove Direct Print and Marketing Blog. Today’s post, “B2B Sales and Marketing Trends Merge in 2018” speaks to the merging of sales and marketing concepts that result in bringing those two distinct areas into a single philosophy. Similar to the convergence model of television and the Internet, both of those two entities are now in lock step, and as technological advances continue, it won’t be long before the Internet will become the primary delivery vehicle for all viewable collateral, including television, mobile and online video viewing.

In fact, YouTube Live is now being offered as a replacement for cable television programming. It make take some time before the entire television population will be able to view television and cable programming live online. However; that process is already underway, and according to many television industry experts, that possibility is no longer considered a remote one, but one that is looming ever closer day by day.


So you may be asking, ‘what does the convergence of television and the Internet have to do with sales and marketing concepts also merging?’ That is a fair question to ask, and when we look at the history of sales and marketing, we already know that the two disciplines while seemingly independent of each other, actually rely heavily upon each other to generate bottom line ROI. Today, the convergence of sales and marketing is now upon us, whether or not organizations choose to incorporate that obvious transition, which is in the numbers, and the numbers don’t lie.

The following overview is based on some of the most in-demand strategies based on current trends for sales and marketing teams for 2018. Insofar as budgeting requirements for investing and deploying the tools and disciplines suggested by these B2B 2018 trends, organizations will have to make strategic adjustments and decide the way forward. That said, sales and marketing teams operating in silos will be hard pressed to compete against those teams that function as an integrated larger team.

The Alignment of Sales and Marketing Teams

Hillary Clinton’s famous 2016 presidential campaign slogan, “We’re Stronger Together,” suffered the brunt onslaught of the competition, and many supporters questioned the validity of that strategy. We’ve also been witness to U.S. intelligence agencies sharing more information among the various agencies, that as a result, have thwarted many harmful instances previously left unchecked by the agencies operating in a vacuum in the past.

That said, brands are now realizing that their sales and marketing departments are stronger when operating in alignment with each other, and moreover, sharing objectives and strategies between the departments has become the central focal management objective that yields better success rates. Let’s get to the numbers!

What 100 B2B Businesses are Saying

A 2018 benchmark report offered by Lead Forensics, whereby over 100 B2B businesses were the participating respondents, shed light on an astounding development. Would you believe that among those participating respondents, that 40% of these businesses have already merged their sales and marketing departments into a single operational department? In addition, these new unified sales and marketing teams also share targets and budgets.

In today’s marketing world, marketing departments are now tasked with speaking directly to potential leads and prospects through social media channels, via phone and of course with direct email campaign responses.

Obviously, this is a new paradigm, and as a result, many B2B organizations are continuing to grapple with the idea of marketing teams being in direct contact with potential customers. However, the organizations that have taken the leap of merging their sales and marketing departments have noted their results are excellent. Moreover, these organizations are also stating that when marketing leads are moved up to sales teams, the result is increased sales.

The Big 3 Marketing Channels

We have recently reported on a number of B2B marketing trends and tools for 2018, and to that end, this report narrows the scope. Depending on the B2B business model, the tools suggested in this post could also extend in numbers beyond this data.

The top three marketing tools recognized in this report are email marketing, content marketing and event marketing, of which organizations will be making the largest investments in.

Email Marketing

Database management requires up-to-date information being fed into the database, purging outdated information and constant refreshing. One of the best tools to acquire prospect and customer information contacts for database accuracy is with the use of email communications. And to that end, the report states that among the participating respondents, those who plan to spend 50%-70% of their budget on email marketing in 2018, represent 17% of businesses. Further, their core emphasis is on generating leads while simultaneously building, maintaining and referring to that database on a consistent basis.

Content Marketing

Content marketing entered the marketing arena in recent years and in the early deployments of various types of content marketing, marketers were unsure about sinking sizable dollars into this new marketing tactical discipline. After years of successful reporting and data analysis, content marketing is now a must have. Interestingly enough, and according to the report, content marketing as a tactic still perseveres pushing business revenue for a variety of organizations regardless of shapes and sizes.

Therefore, this portion of the report concerning content marketing results points to the reasoning behind why it has emerged as one of 2018’s foundational marketing trends to be cognizant of. And to that end, just under a a third of businesses are expected to invest between 30%-60% of their marketing budget on content marketing. Keep in mind that content marketing is a tactic and can be applied to emails, social media marketing, video marketing, direct mail marketing, etc..

Event Marketing

Event marketing is undergoing a resurgence according to many data reports flooding the marketing world. A blistering trend that has also emerged, particularly among organizations whose product lines fall into the very expensive category, including those businesses who are in the throes of longer sales cycles, produce much better results when opting to participate in highly targeted events, which by nature tend to be smaller in size.

According to the report, one-fifth of marketing teams are forecasted to spend 20% of their budget on events and exhibitions. Event marketing also has the propensity to work well in conjunction with merging online and offline marketing techniques. The concept of having existing customers sharing the same space as prospective clients offers an instant brand ambassador situation that can help prospects effectively move down the sales funnel, by the added confidence being exuded by existing customers.

Video Marketing

We mentioned video marketing earlier in this post referring to it being an aspect of content marketing. However, video marketing in and of itself requires a more thorough understanding of this marketing trend. Video is that unacclaimed horse quickly coming around that last turn at Pimlico with a kick that is sure to drive winning marketing outcomes.

Video is rapidly emerging as the sales funnel champion in 2018, with its applications visible as the most popular marketing format for both receiving and processing information. In fact, video marketing is forecasted to rise above marketing tactics throughout 2018. In addition, Google released a survey that stated 70% of B2B buyers and researchers are watching videos during the sales process!

And even more eye-popping in the same Google report is that 48% of these B2B buyers are watching in excess of 30 minutes. While a good number of B2B businesses are beginning to comprehend and recognize video marketing opportunities, there continues a long road ahead for the majority of B2B marketers to invest in video marketing. However, there is good news on the video production front, in that technological advances have provided faster and easier methods that reduce the need for expensive production investments, from equipment to video production specialists. That said, depending on the complexity of the video marketing product is looking to achieve, costs could escalate based on production requirements.

Using Video for Prospecting

You may have noticed a variety of videos showing up in your Facebook posts from brands looking to capture interest and new prospects. As 2018 continues, more brands will start to offer video marketing shorts in an effort to convert new business opportunities. And according to the Lead Forensics report, video prospecting and live streaming are considered the two key methods that will make an impact in 2018.

Further, on the aspect of using video as a prospecting tool, the report states that using that process can lead to increased results, and more importantly, can even increase email open rates by simply adding the word ‘video’ to an email subject line. In addition, Forbes Insights reports that 60% of respondents indicated they will watch a video on a web page prior to reading any text, with another 65% indicating they will visit business websites after watching a video on social media.

Using Live Streaming Video

A good number of social media channels currently offer live streaming options with the current estimate being that 13% of web traffic video is originated from live video streaming. When it comes to authenticity, live videos provide that element that can steer engagement numbers. Examples include, providing viewers with a genuine insight into the people behind the brand, including a ‘behind the scenes’ look at office routines, or a live event, or even hosting a Q&A with specific members of the R&D team.

In addition, it's also important to remember that videos can be used to promote educational aspects of a product or service, or just to share news that can engage larger audiences, or even positioning the brand as a subject matter expert.

The Net-Net

We acknowledge that there are other marketing tools and tactics available to the B2B marketing community, ranging from AI, to Marketing Automation, to Machine Learning Tools. However, all of the tools and tactics discussed in today’s post are using various versions of AI, automation and machine learning technologies, which is why we focused on the highest rated B2B sales and marketing trends.

In lieu of these B2B sales and marketing trends that point to the merging of sales and marketing teams into single departments, the future is clear. 40% of those B2B sales and marketing departments that have been unified into a single department are thriving! Happy B2B Sales and Marketing Merger Development!

Let’s have a conversation about printing, print software, transactional documents, variable digital printing, brand equity and unified marketing collateral during our next Open House. We invite you to join us on Thursday, April 26th, 2018, from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. Let us show you how to improve your document processes to optimize your workflow, reduce your costs, and maximize your organization’s printing, letter shop and mailing capabilities. Dove Direct does have an official USPS certified bureau located within our offices that will save you time and money. And, if you bring us your files, we will create a demo file for you. For more information call Carla Eubanks at 404-629-0122 or email Carla at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Dove Direct, your Atlanta based print and mail solutions provider offers organizations end-to-end data, printing and mailing solutions: Data Management, Variable Digital Printing, LetterShop and Fulfillment, Fully Automated MLOCR Presort Bureau, Marketing and Production Management Support and Secure Data Life Cycle Management.

If you don't want to wait for the Open House, you can reach Dove Direct today by calling 404-629-0122 or use the contact form for Dove Direct.

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Leland Hicks is the CTO of MatterMax Media, a digital marketing agency that provides business strategy, web design, social media management and training.  He can be reached at lahicks@mattermaxmedia.com