Common B2B Marketing Challenges
Last year, HubSpot reported in their annual State of Inbound report that the biggest challenge for marketers is generating traffic and leads. Marketers also struggle with proving ROI and securing budget. Basically, marketers face a wide array of challenges, daily – from forming strategies to social conversion to technology integration to hiring top talent. That’s a lot to unpack in one blog post so today I’m digging into a few business-minded issues that agencies often face.
Internal Business Challenges
Undoubtedly, you will face many challenges in your marketing efforts; let’s look at a few common obstacles and how to overcome them in order to continue to grow your business.
Hiring and training top talent
THE CHALLENGE: A marketing team plays a vital role in the promotion of a business. But sourcing quality talent is challenging! A survey by The Creative Group found that 43% of marketers can’t find the talent they need. As more companies allocate more resources for marketing there is higher demand for great talent. But supply isn’t keeping up. It could take months to source the right candidate and evaluate their skills! Plus, these days employers are looking for people with a very diverse technical and creative skill set.
Sure, searching for, interviewing, and then negotiating with new hires is a process but having an internal team has great value. (Check out my recent blog post for pros and cons of hiring an in-house team, freelancers, or an agency.)
HOW TO OVERCOME IT: Write a compelling job description that details new hires’ tasks, duties, and the skills required to complete them. Focus on what people value most in their careers (e.g. work-life balance). The next step is getting your job listings in front of the right people. Traditional outlets like LinkedIn and Indeed.com are great but if, for example, you’re looking for a passionate inbound marketer try growth.org (formerly inbound.org).
It takes time but if you have organized processes in place for bringing new employees up to speed (on projects, on the technology your company uses, on all the usual procedures) then the onboarding step doesn’t have to be so frustrating. Give new talent in-depth tours into your past work, your plans, and where they fit into that (as well as expectations). Make it clear from the get-go to avoid confusion down the road. Create a training plan for new team members. Lay out specific goals for a set time period (like 100 days). The plan should help new hires demonstrate their effectiveness.
Managing your website
THE CHALLENGE: When you’re so busy taking care of clients’ needs, how do you make time to do your own marketing? We constantly tout the importance of a strong web presence but when was the last time you took a look at your own website? Managing a website is hard but having a high performing site is a high priority. It works constantly to bring in visitors and convert them, so you should keep it polished and looking good. From writing and creating content to optimizing it and designing webpages that offer a great user experience, there are a variety of factors that make website management difficult.
HOW TO OVERCOME IT: It’s important that you keep your content fresh and error-free. You’ll also want to check in and ensure SEO pieces are in place. And periodically monitoring visitor flow and site analytics is great. Work it into your monthly flow and learn what’s working and what’s not. We walk all the time about living in a mobile-first world; does your company’s website offer a great mobile experience? Part of actively managing your website is ensuring it does!
Perhaps you’re a small company who simply doesn’t have the resources or skills to make sure your site is secure, has fast load times, strong SEO, and is mobile-friendly. Many businesses don’t have the in-house team needed to stay on top of back-end website management, optimization, and content creation. One solution is to hire freelancers or agency partners! If you are keeping things in-house, hit the book. There’s an infinite supply of ebooks that will help you do everything from create a brilliant homepage, optimize landing pages, and increase your SEO traffic.
THE CHALLENGE: Securing enough budget for your marketing campaigns is a biggie for folks around the world. As marketers, we’re often faced with frugal execs who would rather scale back budgets than hand out more money. Smaller businesses or startups may not have any extra money to invest in a larger marketing budget.
HOW TO OVERCOME IT: We know if we can prove ROI and quality lead generation (those are two topics I’ll tackle in another post), we can probably secure larger marketing budgets to keep the engine going. Organizations who can calculate ROI are more likely to get higher budgets. The decision makers need to be shown the benefits of marketing campaigns. Provide them with a holistic view of the marketing department’s performance and they’ll be more inclined to financially support it.
Marketing success plays a large role in driving higher budgets. Effective strategies produce results. Do you believe your marketing is effective? If you answer yes, you’re likely confident enough and have the data to back up the claim – which will help you get the necessary budget. If you’re working with limited budget, getting the highest ROI you can is critical for marketers to deliver huge impact. The good news is that, according to HubSpot, budgets for inbound marketing in 2017 either remained consistent or been increased from 2016. Businesses are growing and have confidence in the future, meaning you might just secure that larger budget!
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Looking for more insights into marketing challenges? Check out the State of Inbound report for the latest benchmark data on the future of inbound.