Tying Sales & Digital Ads for B2B

Mike Opera
By Mike Opera

At Power Digital, our best B2B campaigns are the ones where advertising is supporting the sales team and communicating hand and hand.

Often times, sales teams will have a hitlist of accounts they are targeting and the advertising team will have no clue what’s happening. It blows my mind to not see the left hand talking to the right.

Well guess what, in 2018, nobody likes answering phone calls anymore, and sales teams are looking for leads whatever way possible. No more door to door knocking. No more outbound phone calls.

And that’s why aligning marketing/advertising with sales prospecting is crucial.

If there is no sales team, what companies are your ideal companies to work with? What do your current clients look like? Linkedin Sales Navigator offers an incredible way to discover companies in spaces that you’re looking to work with

Operate Off Of Or Create a Hit List of  Companies

Does your Sales Team not have a prospecting list? If that’s the case, what does your current customer look like? What industry? What size? Create a hit list of companies and find them via Linkedin Sales Navigator.

“Selling Top Down” or “Selling Bottom Up”

Now that you’ve created a hit list of companies, who has a role within the decision making process to buy what your selling. How many people are involved? What type of sign off do they need? How are they being measured? How are the measured by their higher ups? How long is the sales cycle?

Start by asking yourself what are the roles within the decision making process, there’s typically 3 roles in a B2B purchase (can be less). Ask yourself who are you speaking/selling to? The book “The New Strategic Selling” by Robert B. Miller & Stephen E. Heiman has a great model that breaks the decision making process into three buckets.

  1. Economic Buyer The role of this person is to ultimately sign off the purchase of the suppliers products and services.
  2. User Buyer The role of this person is to use and benefit from the suppliers offering.
  3. Technical Buyer The role of this person is to screen out and evaluate suppliers products and services.

As you can tell, the Economic buyer has much different goals and pain points then say the technical buyer.

Yet… The majority of advertisers are sending the same message and same content to everyone in the company.

In many cases this is okay, as long as we’re speaking as closely as possible to the decision maker. However, depending on the level of granularity you can get with your targeting, you can serve an Economic Buyer an ad and content around the business outcomes of what your selling.

…Whereas a user buyer typically cares more about the technical nitty gritty, and even reports in many cases to the economic buyer.

Don’t just sell the feature, sell the ideal OUTCOME to the user. That outcome varies greatly by role.

Linkedin Advertising for Top Funnel Traffic

Linkedin’s Advertising Platform is a sleeping giant.

…Sure, right now it’s a “janky” platform but the targeting ability is insane.

Delivery is significantly different on Linkedin then say Facebook ads as Linkedin is typically more expensive but you’re weeding out consumers that you would have on Facebook by advertising on Linkedin.

Now with that said, Linkedin can be a double-edged sword in terms of getting too targeted.

Just like with Facebook, AdWords, Taboola, etc. the more targeted you get, typically the costs will be more expensive.

The same holds true on Linkedin, if you begin targeting too granularly, IE: People that work For X Company, AND have X Job Title, and is in San Diego.

We recommend starting more targeted and peeling back the onion and going more and more broad until you find a sweet spot of delivery.

So if you have difficulty delivering the targeting I mentioned before, then peel off some targeting criteria.

So in this case, maybe removing the job title makes the most sense if the target company is small, and we’d target IE: People that work For X Company.

Facebook Advertising for Top Funnel Traffic

B2B on Facebook is typically very difficult and I don’t always recommend it.

But there are ways for us to get clever in the way we target businesses on Facebook.

Here’s what a cool B2B strategy to try:

  • Step 1. Scrape Addresses of Companies You’re Targeting
  • Step 2. Create Saved Audience of All Uploaded Addresses of the Companies from Your Hitlist
  • Step 3. Create Separate Ad Sets
    • Ad Set 1: At Work Day Parted During Hours
    • Ad Set 2: Was At Work Day Parted After Hours

The idea here is, while we cannot target exact businesses on Facebook anymore, we can target people that were either “in” that addresses location, or was recently in the location.

We’ve seen that this strategy is a great way to build exposure.

Plan Your Retargeting Ads Out Ahead of Time 

Whether your business has a funnel or not, you need to think strategically about your content and the amount of touches a user will see before converting.

If you’re retargeting users from a landing page over and over with the same ad, you will create a frustrating that experience. That’s why I recommend planning out creative a month in advance, only on retargeting, for lead generation.

In B2B, there may be many reasons why a user is not converting. Maybe you’ve compelled them with your offer but they were locked into a contract that wouldn’t allow them to work with you at that time. That doesn’t mean you should not build trust with these users.

And that’s why I recommend scheduling retargeting ads a month in advance.

Create a variety of ads to rotate in and out, from driving traffic to thought leadership, PR hits It’s been fun watching the evolution of B2B Marketing in the digital space. The best B2B Advertisers are the ones that think like business consultants or understand sales. The closer and closer that conversation gets, the better the financial outcome for your business.

What wins have you seen in the B2B Marketing Space? about your company or industry, etc. The goal is to show the many sides of your brand. Show testimonials! but bring your brand to the user.

Use CRM’s for Measurement and Optimization

The Battle Between Sales and Advertising doesn’t need to be a battle.

It should be a very open & transparent discussion between all parties. Cheap Leads don’t matter if they aren’t high quality

Optimize Towards “Opportunity” or “Potential Revenue” as Sales Cycles Can Take a Long Time… Relies on Sales teams marking leads

We have had clients with 2 years sales cycles but a deal to them could be worth millions of dollars.

Net net… Advertisers shouldn’t go for the cheapest leads. Go for what moves the business the most.

…If that means you drive 1 lead that closes versus 500 that don’t close then so be it.

Align Key KPI’s with Sales Team

One thing advertisers need to do when working with the sales team is to understand the length of their sales cycle, the different touch points, the different steps of qualification, etc.

If you drove 1000 leads in a month but what you’re selling has a 1 year sale cycle, how do you hold the advertiser accountable?

…By communicating the quality of the leads that the advertiser is driving.

Did the lead we drive get on a call?

Did the lead we drive get on a call then say they couldn’t afford it?

Is there trends like this on an ad by ad basis or channel by channel basis?

This is what the advertiser needs to measure. Not only the level of the activity your lead takes, but the quality of your lead.

Typically we’ll work with sales teams to differentiate a Lead to an Opportunity to Close Business. Opportunities are key for filling up the sales teams funnel.

Conclusion

It’s been fun watching the evolution of B2B Marketing in the digital space. The best B2B Advertisers are the ones that think like business consultants or understand sales. The closer and closer that conversation gets, the better the financial outcome for your business.

What wins have you seen in the B2B Marketing Space?

Digital Marketing Assessment