The term ‘B2B’ is fairly familiar to people who belong to the market research or digital marketing industries. It is a field where there is an exchange of technology, information, services and products between businesses rather than between a business and its customer. As with every other field of technology and business, the trends and practices for B2B keep changing and upgrading from year to year. It’s in this context that we will discuss some of the biggest B2B trends that will dominate 2017.

Marketing Automation: First, we speak about marketing automation. This is the software which is used to automate a lot of the actions required for sales pitching of a product or service. It includes marketing on social media, putting up ads on Google, cold calling and mass emailing. Some of these can definitely be tuned into automation, especially the client mailing and cold calling. Marketing automation can not only be used to generate leads, but it can also help companies keep a tab on the progress of their campaign. This also allows them to be updated with key metrics concerning lead conversion. There are three cardinal steps to achieving this:

  1. Having a multiple-tier opening sequence which can be considered useful and relevant for dynamic and ever-changing content, based on the needs of the company.
  2. You can put to use the task of lead scoring and lead grading in order to ensure that automated sending of emails and outbound calls can be done in a more relevant manner. There should exist strict rules and guidelines so that mass-solicitation techniques are not blocked by popular spam-detection technologies.
  3. Content should be re-marketed on third-party sites in order to encourage and enthuse people who have shown an interest in being a customer.

Long and Short-term Balance: Next, we should think of balancing things out in the long and short terms. You should apply all SEO techniques in place to ensure that your brand gets ranked at the top of SERPs. Top-ranked websites usually inspire confidence and solidify people’s trust in a brand. The ideal path would be to develop both the leads and the brand simultaneously with a 40:60 priority ratio.

All Eyes on Thought Leadership: One should also understand the value of thought leadership. It is important to buy products and services that help to circumvent and eliminate risks, as well as improve customer experience. Rather than merely bringing about external improvements to the product, you should introduce ideas that are revolutionary or definitive in the industry. Something that would emerge as innovative or pioneering. This is something that’s surely going to be big in 2017.

Augmented Reality to the Rescue: Augmented reality is close to thought leadership. This is virtual communication which has taken on a different hue with the success of Pokémon Go. The technology, in which virtual objects can be “planted” across various real-life locations and would be spotted only by means of physical traveling, is tracked by GPS. Application of this technology would assist a lot in communicating complex ideas by the practical demonstration on an interactive gadget such as a PC/Laptop, projector or a Smartphone.  This will also lead to the growth and development of multi-dimensional gadgets and mechanisms which would improve Point-of-Sale terminals, record transactions and enhance staff training.  Taking giant leaps in the field of virtual reality, with the objective of bettering communication and customer engagement techniques, will definitely be on the cards this year for most B2B firms.

Bots in Charge: Use of ‘Bots’, or robots, is yet another huge area that is slated to become big this year. Coming out of the confines of more conventional uses, such as scheduling meetings or sending out ‘to-do’ notifications, robots can be put to use in functions such as creating SEO-friendly content, addressing very specific customer complaints, spotting complex technical errors and bugs and communicating them in a life-like manner and synthesizing user research. . They can also serve as guides to take visitors on a virtual ‘tour’ of the website and demonstrate how the site works. Overall, bots could be of great use for optimizing marketing in many ways.  

Why Are Businesses Hiring Remote Teams To Get The Job Done?: Another trend that is going to be big in 2017 is the use of ‘remote teams’ or ‘virtual companies’ to do part of a company’s work online. This helps the company to be well-distributed in terms of workload and in meeting deadlines. Remote working is something which has displayed a healthy growth of about 80% in the period 2005-2012 and is slated to grow even more in this year and the coming years. Remote workers log in for a greater number of hours and are more focused on their work, free as they are from the trappings of a normal work environment. They are chiefly driven by the passion for their work and the alluring aspect of getting to work from their own home. Hence, productivity takes a giant leap when companies hire remote or virtual teams.  

Bringing Back Spotlight on the 80/20 Rule: More Recognition for the 80/20 rule is set to become the norm. Quite often companies fall into the trap of hyper-marketing, zealously hard-selling their ware, which can serve to put customers off.  Also, by going all-out to cover every possible area of marketing, they miss out on identifying those crucial things which can actually bring in the bulk of the business. In technobabble, this is classified as the ‘80/20’ rule—striving to identify that vital 20% of your advertising content which is providing 80% of the returns. This twenty percent must be identified and a majority of the advertising resources must be spent in further improving them. More stress on the 80/20 rule is definitely going to be a major trend of 2017.

Apart from all these, some of the major toasts of this year would go to maintaining the ‘touch-point consistency’ in marketing, building up and careful cultivation of the talent brand, and digital dissolution. Overall, things are looking good for the B2B industry this year.

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