Like Miley Cyrus' chastity, the year 2015 has come and gone. And while I could prattle on about what a year it has been and how we're now entering a new era, I won't. Because the reality is that every year zips by faster than the previous one, and one of the best things about the New Year is that we all get to hit the reset button and have another go at success.
As marketers, though, there are a few realities to face if we want to generate more B2B leads. A key one is that millennial B2B buyers are becoming the target market. These new B2B buyers know exactly what they want from vendors and it isn't old school marketing.
How to Get More B2B Leads in 2016
1. More Storytelling and Less Selling
The lines between work and play for today's average B2B lead have blurred considerably. According to the Pew Research Center, more than 30% of the existing workforce have never worked in a world without email. Therefore, a pretty large chunk of the population is used to carrying their work with them around the clock.
Because of that, today's B2B buyer wants to be entertained, not fed a sales pitch.
What you need to do: Create content that not only informs, but engages. Whether you're creating a video, a blog post, an infographic, or another type of content, tell a story. And don't be afraid to show some of the personality of your company.
2. Authenticity on Social Media
"Recognize social media as a channel, not a strategy." ~ Daniel Newman, CEO of Broadsuite Media Group
While you should absolutely load up your Buffer for the week with industry news, content promotions, retweets, and mentions, you shouldn't forget the ever-important personal touch.
Organic postings about your office dog have a place in your online company culture as well. There's nothing wrong with posting a picture of Scruffy pawing at your keyboard right after a Tweet about sales statistics. In fact, please do. It makes the day much more enjoyable.
What you need to do: Abandon the idea that social media is a sales pitch. Encourage employees to post updates that promote your company culture in a personal way. It's time to get real here.
3. Hands-on Time
Millennials may have nudged the whole concept of the "Experience Economy" into an explosive notion. However, it's really something everyone has craved all along. Experiences are better than products. Now, if you can turn a product into an experience, well... you've got something special.
Why is it that Apple resurfaced several years ago as a megabrand? Because Steve Jobs wanted to create an experience, a culture. It's the reason why Apple Stores don't simply show you a video about their products, but have them lined up, ready for you to get your hands on. You get to feel what it's like to be in the Apple club.
What you need to do: If you have a store front, make sure that your products are ready for buyers to try out. If you sell a digital product, include a demo on your home page. Consider a try before you buy option. That will help turn lurkers into B2B leads.
4. Quicker Response Times
A while back, I was creating an image using the free software tool, Canva. I coudn't think of the name of the type of graphic I was looking for, so I gave a quick shout out to the Canva team on Twitter. Minutes later I had my response. And I didn't have to endure any hold music.
B2B buyers want a quick turnaround time when it comes to contacting your business.
What you need to do: Be present enough on social media to respond quickly to queries. None of this open a ticket nonsense.
The truth is, 2016 should be a year of fun. And if you're stressing about how to make it fun, well... don't. The process leading from browser to buyer is interactive, it's relaxed, and you need to be yourself.
That being said, I know it can be all too easy to get stuck in a rut, content-wise. You want to pump out content that's useful and entertaining, but it's just not happening. If that's you (and let's face it, it's all of us at some point), then check out our latest animated video, 7 Ways to Rock at B2B Content Creation. Consider it your free shovel to dig out of your content rut and charge into 2016.
So sit, watch, and enjoy!