How CRM platforms are revolutionizing B2B selling

The age-old B2B sales problem

The problem most B2B brands face is the low profit margins that low-volume customers bring on an individual level. The sheer volume of orders generated from large business customers, such as Walmart, justifies sales teams dedicating a significant amount of time and resources servicing these businesses to meet their needs.

By contrast, low-volume customers generate very little revenue individually, yet most businesses still service them through costly channels like phone and in-person sales visits. It’s incredibly inefficient for B2B brands to continue servicing these businesses through such outdated channels.

What’s more, orders placed through phone or in-person meetings are often riddled with inaccuracies. Small business owners need to consider a handful of information before placing an order, such as inventory, cash flow or previous orders, but simply cannot do so when forced to make a decision on the spot through a siloed channel.

Despite these issues, the positives of servicing low-volume customers outweigh the negatives. When combined, low-volume customers can deliver up to 40% of a B2B brand’s revenue. This puts B2B sellers in a tricky situation. Small businesses are expensive to service, but even more expensive to ignore.

Why CRM technology is changing the game

— Read on www.digitalcommerce360.com/2017/06/07/crm-platforms-revolutionizing-b2b-selling/

Asian-American Influencers Make Their Mark on the U.S. Mainstream

THE MARKETABILITY OF ASIAN-AMERICAN SOCIAL INFLUENCERS

In our recent 2018 Asian-American consumer report, we document the outsized and trendsetting usage of digital platforms by Asian-American consumers. We also highlight some real-life examples of influencers who have used this affinity for digital platforms to create burgeoning careers. YouTube giants like Michelle Phan, Ryan Higa, Lilly Singh, Freddie Wong and Markplier have millions of followers and subscribers from all backgrounds.

THE MARKETABILITY OF ASIAN-AMERICAN SOCIAL INFLUENCERS

In our recent 2018 Asian-American consumer report, we document the outsized and trendsetting usage of digital platforms by Asian-American consumers. We also highlight some real-life examples of influencers who have used this affinity for digital platforms to create burgeoning careers. YouTube giants like Michelle Phan, Ryan Higa, Lilly Singh, Freddie Wong and Markplier have millions of followers and subscribers from all backgrounds.

— Read on www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2018/asian-american-influencers-make-their-mark-on-the-u-s–mainstrea.html

Forward-Thinking B2B Marketers Partner With Influencers To Create Cross-Channel, Long-Term Campaigns

Risk aversion is becoming a top motivator for B2B buyers. Research shows 78% of buyers are dedicating more time to researching solutions and are increasingly turning to peers and thought leaders for relevant insights. Demand Gen Report’s 2018 B2B Buyers Survey demonstrates the growing influence of third-party sources and outside opinions on the buyer journey. According to the report:

65% rely on peer recommendations and review sites;
54% use social media to research vendors and solutions; and
36% connected with thought leaders to ask for their opinion.
As buyer behaviors continue to shift towards peers and thought leaders, forward-thinking marketers from companies such as SAP, the Content Marketing Institute and Oracle are looking beyond their internal resources to leverage industry influencers to drive engagement, enhance content and build trust with buyers.
— Read on www.demandgenreport.com/features/industry-insights/forward-thinking-b2b-marketers-partner-with-influencers-to-create-cross-channel-long-term-campaigns

The missing step in B2B e‑commerce conversions

If you look at global budget trends among chief marketing officers and compare that specifically to budgets for B2B e-commerce marketers, you’ll find some interesting overlaps and insights. For instance, in the 2017-18 Gartner CMO Spend Survey, which includes CMOs at both B2C and B2B enterprises, a full two thirds of respondents said they plan to increase spending in digital advertising. And on the B2B e-commerce side, a client survey by e-commerce platform Magento found that 91% of respondents said they plan on investing in “content and marketing.” Other popular budget categories for B2B e-commerce include personalization, platform upgrades and selection, data cleansing and understanding, and internationalization.

When we match these types of findings up to a typical marketing funnel, though, there’s a key area that’s completely missing from the budget: Conversion optimization. In fact, almost all these investment areas focus on top, or near top of the marketing funnel.

Eric Allen, senior vice president, Credit Key

Why is this?

A key answer is how B2B e-commerce business units and companies are structured. In most B2B firms, marketing is mainly responsible for lead generation, but it’s the responsibility of the sales team to convert the lead into a paying client. That means marketing spends its budget on things like social media and other digital marketing, but they’re not responsible for top-line revenue. However, neither is the sales team, at least not directly; senior executives are. And when it comes to calculating ROI, it’s tracked solely in terms of lead generation, but not conversion.

Generating leads without converting them is like constantly refilling a leaky bucket; by fixing the hole the bucket, you usually find the biggest area of opportunity for companies to drive revenue.

Even when firms add in an e-commerce component to the sales process, marketing departments often don’t adjust their purview to accommodate for digital sales. They’re not paying enough attention to what happens at the end of the funnel. If the Magento survey respondents are representative of the larger industry (which we think they are), many firms are satisfied with building a platform and filling the top of their sales funnel, without much or any accountability for revenue.

In other words: They’re ignoring an essential revenue source. This is why more B2B e-commerce companies need to incorporate conversion optimization into their marketing.

What is conversion optimization?

In the B2B e-commerce setting, conversion optimization is a methodology for increasing the percentage of leads that become paying customers. It is the systematic use of variant testing methodologies to identify the best possible solution.

In other contexts a “conversion” is often counted as having a website visitor complete a goal, which may be a purchase, but it may also be signing up for a newsletter or simply requesting more information. But in e-commerce, companies need to be extremely focused on turning visitors into paying customers. This is where the real revenue comes from: optimizing the bottom of the funnel activities, specifically the checkout process.

Why conversion optimization is needed

We’ve previously discussed the cold, hard truth about B2B e-commerce, and it’s worth repeating: The checkout process is the most vital part of e-commerce. Without it, you don’t have a transaction. If visitors leave your site without making a purchase, you’ve wasted your money on getting them there. Understanding the ins and outs of conversion optimization will amplify the ROI spent on top of funnel traffic.

There are many reasons why customers may not complete a purchase. One survey found that the top reasons included:

Extra costs (shipping, taxes, etc.)
Need to create an account
Too long/complicated checkout process
In other words, e-commerce businesses lose sales when the checkout process is too hard. Unfortunately, many B2B e-commerce companies like to make it hard for their customers. Despite offering a 21st century digital shopping solution, they’re following a 20th century business model that isn’t flexible, doesn’t offer options, and doesn’t have room for testing. Too often, the process is the process is the process. And the old processes simply don’t have a built-in place for modern conversion optimization.

And that’s why it’s so vital to success. Using conversion optimization, you can find out exactly how many different steps customers are willing to go through before abandoning their purchase. You can learn, for example, the most popular payment methods for different types and sizes of purchases.

Ultimately, if you’re not doing conversion optimization, you’re leaving money on the table. What’s worse is that you’re also not seizing the opportunity to learn what your customers really want. And if you’re not listening to your customers are you really living up to your brand promise?

Probably not.

But if you make it easier for them to quickly find what they need and check out, your brand will better resonate with them to gain their loyalty.

Eric Allen is senior vice president of Credit Key, a provider of B2B financing services.

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— Read on www.digitalcommerce360.com/2018/02/26/missing-step-b2b-ecommerce-conversions/

Official Google Webmaster Central Blog: An update to referral source URLs for Google Images

Updating the referral source
For webmasters, it hasn’t always been easy to understand the role Google Images plays in driving site traffic. To address this, we will roll out a new referrer URL specific to Google Images over the next few months. The referrer URL is part of the HTTP header, and indicates the last page the user was on and clicked to visit the destination webpage.
If you create software to track or analyze website traffic, we want you to be prepared for this change. Make sure that you are ingesting the new referer URL, and attribute the traffic to Google Images. The new referer URL is: https://images.google.com.
If you use Google Analytics to track site data, the new referral URL will be automatically ingested and traffic will be attributed to Google Images appropriately. Just to be clear, this change will not affect Search Console. Webmasters will continue to receive an aggregate list of top search queries that drive traffic to their site.
— Read on webmasters.googleblog.com/2018/07/an-update-to-referral-source-urls-for.html

Create and Optimize Effective Shopping Campaigns: Google Best Practices – AdWords Help

Shopping campaigns give you a chance to feature your products to online customers. Get our latest shopping campaign best practices guide on how to structure effective campaigns, set your best bids and optimize your strategy to deliver on your marketing objectives.

Consumers today are shopping everywhere at any time on any device from the moment of inspiration to the final purchase. It’s no longer as important for a shopper to be present in a retailer’s space, whether online or in-store, as it is for a retailer to be present wherever and whenever someone is shopping. To take advantage of this increased shopping demand across devices, we’ll show you how to create a strategy for your Shopping campaigns to build a strong presence and seize opportunities to win customers. Follow these steps to help deliver on your marketing objectives and, ultimately, get in front of today’s constantly connected shoppers.
— Read on support.google.com/adwords/answer/6167176

SEO vs. PPC: Which is Better in the Long Run?

SEO vs. PPC: Which is Better in the Long Run?
— Read on www.searchenginejournal.com/seo-vs-ppc/234681/amp/

” While it’s no secret that paid advertising helps a brand, product, or service achieve the goals it aims to accomplish, it’s important to consider the volume disparity between organic and paid search in terms of traffic.

Plus, in the case of PPC advertising specifically, a brand’s website is what is being advertised. So, the website must be effective in its goals for it to succeed in both an organic and paid approaches.”

Google News Digest: Making Apps With Google, New Tools for Ad Tests on YouTube, and the World Cup GOOAAALS

Google changes: There has been a big emphasis on video and video advertising and increased control for users over the advertising and content they receive. Find out what Google has changed the past two weeks
— Read on www.semrush.com/blog/google-news-digest-making-apps-google-new-tools-ad-tests-youtube-world-cup/