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Read Time: 3 Minutes 08.23.2017 Strategy Leadership

The Top 5 Marketing Challenges Facing B2B Tech Leaders

In our line of work, we talk to a lot of B2B technology CEOs about the marketing problems they face. Even across industries as different as cybersecurity, healthtech, and fintech, we hear many of the same recurring issues

For the most part, they center around the question of, “How do I bring a B2B product to market? And once I do, how do I create and execute a marketing strategy that gets buyers to pay attention?”

Here are some of the top problems that B2B technology leaders tell us they are struggling with, along with resources to help you learn more and optimize your strategy.

1. Finding a Place in the Crowd

With increasingly low barriers to entry, the B2B technology marketplace is crowded — and it’s only continuing to grow. Brand and product positioning, messaging, UVP, and strong aesthetics are needed to not only stand out, but to be clearly understood by target buyers.

Solve problems, don’t just “peddle a product”. You must map the features of your product to the needs of the marketplace to demonstrate how you solve real problems your buyers have. We’ve discussed how we do this through the process of creating a marketecture.

(You can learn more and create your own here.)

2. Getting Noticed by Buyers

Dovetailing into the previous problem, many very innovative technology solutions are whispering into the market when they should be yelling. This is where marketing budgets fall woefully short. Getting noticed requires significantly more marketing expenditures to drive awareness and demand for technology solutions.

Print ads, SEM, trade shows, and PR efforts are visibility channels to get noticed. You can’t buy what you’ve never heard of, so the avenues that you choose to amplify your message are critical. Learn more abut the importance of your brand’s “digital fingerprint”, and how to make sure that you're making the right impression, in this blog post.

3. Adjusting to B2C Sales Influences

Your buyers are being influenced by their B2C experiences and demanding that B2B companies provides commensurate levels of convenience, personalization, transparency and delight. In a recent Forbes article discussing the differences between a CMO and CSO, Chief Strategy Officer Thomas Ordahl of Landor reiterates what we’ve been seeing for a while: that what used to be a very linear, rational sales process in B2B is now much more nuanced.

Ordahl says, “Criteria such as ‘trust’, ‘ease of working with them’, ‘has shared values’, and ‘reputation’ can impact decision making as much or more than a financial analysis.” Buyers don’t just want to know about your tool or its capabilities; they want to know that you understand their problem and that they can trust you to solve it. We explore this in more depth in our resource about the B2B Buyer’s Trust Journey and how your company can meet them at each step.

4. Focusing on Strategy, Not Just Tactics

Many B2B tech companies we work with see marketing just as a set of activities that generate sales leads. What they know of marketing they either read from online resources or heard about anecdotally from peers. As a result, activity becomes a costly “black hole” without measurable results.

Marketers need to take a strategic approach, aligning marketing with business objectives — not just sales objectives. There’s more to success than just ROI, deals won, revenue and other bottom-of-the-funnel KPIs. You need to gauge metrics that prove you are moving potential customers further into the buying cycle. Learn more about common misconceptions surrounding marketing’s purpose, along with how to build a strategic marketing plan, in this piece.

5. Navigating Marketing Technology Tools

A recent study indicates that companies use an average number of 16 different marketing technologies (and that number ranged as high as 98 in larger companies). We have this problem too. There is no shortage of email, CRM, automation, and ABM tools available (about 5,000+ according to chiefmartec.com). But no one has time to learn an entirely new ecosystem every six months.

Cutting through the “trend frenzy” of information is critical here. CMOs and marketing departments are being forced to be more technology-savvy than ever before, finding the right tools and solutions to meet the right objectives. You might find some useful information about “best-of-breed” versus “best-of-need” from Gene De Libero’s LinkedIn article. It’s practical.

If these problems sound familiar, you are not alone. In the course of our work, we’ve heard the same issues from dozens of B2B technology leaders. That’s why we’ve created a library of resources to define and solve the most common technology marketing roadblocks. You can explore all of them here or ask us a question directly here.

Chase Ezell

Chase Ezell

VP of Marketing Strategy With experience on both the client and agency side, Chase's strategic insight is invaluable. Chase works both with our clients to develop winning marketing strategies, as well as Golden Spiral’s marketing and content initiatives.