Companies often market their services to other businesses rather than directly to the mass public, depending on what they specialize in. As many marketing rules may remain consistent when reaching out to individual clients or other business partners, there are some instances when marketing practices must be tweaked to account for industry activity and behaviors. In these instances, entrepreneurs must understand how to optimize cost-efficient strategies that keep marketing efforts active and generating interest without further straining tight budgets.

It is important for burgeoning businesses to gain as much exposure as possible early to help secure a stake in the market. Identifying the marketing tools that keep a company in constant communication with target audiences without increasing spending and leverage online tools and social platforms to drive interaction for long-term success is a key to sustaining marketing success. Online platforms allow businesses to create a digital presence in the market, differentiate themselves from competitors and start to develop a reputation as a resource for information and insight.

Being able to achieve these endpoints while operating on a limited marketing budget is helpful, particularly in light of the increasingly competitive economic climate that is battling consumer uncertainty and fluctuations in the market. Do not overlook the potential for making significant gains in marketing success with cost-effective marketing automation tools. Consider the ways online marketing can enhance your business strategy and areas where social platforms can improve performance. In what ways will online marketing be disrupted and how will you accommodate that?

Online Marketing Challenged By Sales Cycle Length
According to Crain’s  BtoB Magazine, the length of the B2B sales cycle continues to increase. As the sales cycle increases and takes longer to finalize, it is increasingly important for companies to stand out from competitors to ensure confidence in potential clients who may be hesitant to select just one business to work with. By leveraging online marketing strategies and running them in parallel, companies are able to overcome the shifting length of the sales cycle and find success despite tight budgets and uncertain consumer sentiment.

Top strategies include emphasis on brand differentiation, improved targeting, segmentation of offerings and campaigns, increased visibility of online marketing metrics and other tactics. The results of the study indicate many sales teams still feel under-supported by online marketing tactics that fail to fit in line with expected sales cycles. To overcome struggles, brands are spending more time illustrating how they are unique from competitors, and devising campaigns that target decision makers directly to accelerate sales decisions. To achieve these goals, however, there must be constant visibility into online activities, successes and failures so adjustments can be made in real-time and major setbacks are delayed.

The data revealed:

  • 40% of B2B marketers do not feel marketing mixes meet the demands of sales teams
  • 60% want to generate more leads online
  • 55% believe improved targeting would drive sales
  • 79% are making brand differentiation a top priority this year
  • 81% are in communication with multiple decision makers in the sales cycle making it difficult to make an impact
  • 36% struggle to accurately measure and attribute online interactions to marketing channels
  • 42% have difficulty crediting success of more than one marketing channel at a time
  • 34% desire increased data measurement tools to collect and analyze campaign performance
  • 22% also require understanding of how metrics can be implemented throughout a campaign to gauge effectiveness

Where To Start
After marketing teams have discussed the campaigns in progress and future initiatives with sales departments, they can start to evaluate internal performance and how to better support lead generation and sale closings. Many B2B marketing tactics focus on online tools and platforms that will drive interest in a product or service through distribution of information, participation in discussions and availability of interactive learning tools.

These strategies, however, mean very little if the company has yet to select which channels to use for each campaign. There are a wide variety of social media platforms available that offer cost-effective tools to engage in discussions and establish an online brand image. Email marketing campaigns and website optimization also allow marketers to share messages with targeted audiences for faster results and less time or resources wasted on the wrong contacts.

Analyze your company’s current strategies and see what additional online marketing practices could be added to improve sales and client loyalty for a more sustainable business model. How well does your startup leverage content marketing strategies? Online analytics? Email communications? In answering these questions you will gain insight into where improvements can be made to become a highly competitive player in your market.