The BIGGEST Factor in B2B Marketing Success –And 3 Ways to Win It


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This past weekend was Mother’s Day—always special, always happy—Cheers to all the Moms out there. I can’t help but notice, year after year, how this occasion just wins hand down, at least on the emotional level over so many others. So what’s the one thing that makes Moms stand out in all their glory? TRUST. It’s true. She can make you angry, she may push you around, she may throw tantrums, but one thing she will always have is your trust. And that one factor makes a relationship stand the test of time and tribulation. She can be your muse and your voice of conscience all at the same time.

If you were to ask me whether there is a single, most important factor that impacts B2B marketing success, I would say yes. And that factor is TRUST. For undeniably, we cannot sustain marketing success without it. In our everyday lives as B2B marketers, how do we go about winning trust?

Social media is a fabulous tool to help you build and sustain the trust factor among prospects and customers. No doubt about it—this is definitely an area in which I agree that social is useful for B2B marketing. I am still not completely convinced about how much it drives lead generation in any tangible way, but it does warm the air by allowing marketers to earn the trust and steadily increase it.

3 Ways to Win Your Customers’ Trust Using Social Media

  1. LISTEN: Size does not matter—big, small or medium sized—if you are a B2B marketing company, you cannot ignore what is being said about your brand. Social is now mobile and your customers are having conversations on-the-go which can make or break your brand. You have to listen, and listen proactively to these conversations. What I mean by that is, avoid knee-jerk reactions to negative comments and be spontaneous about responding to positive ones.

This SlideShare presentation by Dell’s director of social media and marketing, claims a 98% (complaint) resolution rate” and a 45% ranters to ravers conversion rate.These are significant numbers, I have to say. And I say significant because they are reflective of customer engagement rather than a mere fan club figure. Well, when you have 110,000+ employees worldwide, and you train at least one in every twelve of them to represent your brand on the social network, you better have good results!

For a smaller company it’s not going to be that easy, and yet, I believe it is worth the effort to monitor your brand’s social mentions. There really is no formula to predict how customers will behave. But in order to tailor your marketing and lead generation efforts to affect a positive sales cycle, it certainly helps to know what they are thinking and saying, before they make a purchase decision…or reject you for your competitor.

  1. WORK AS A TEAM: Your people are your biggest assets. I have always adhered to this view and my angst continues to grow for companies that choose marketing and sales automation over their people. This is true of companies with a large workforce but it is even more true in the case of smaller, leaner B2B organizations. Customers don’t begin to trust a brand before they trust the people behind it. It is for this reason that employee collaboration can yield fascinating results. I was impressed with how this enterprise technology consulting company, Bluewolf encourages social sharing and collaboration among employees. Read the case study on MarketingSherpa.

I see very often how some manufacturers compel their channel partners and VARs to engage in social marketing without any training, tools or guidelines on how to go about it. There are other B2B companies that place the onus of becoming the ‘social voice’ on one department, or even worse, one or two individuals. However, this company, Bluewolf has gone about it in a sensible, methodical manner—showing their employees what to do and what not to do on social channels. As the employees build their personal brands, it’s inevitable that there is a growing sense of pride in the brand they represent. Plus, with the ‘gamification’ and ‘incentivization’ of social activity, it is not surprising to note the results they are seeing on the three key metrics they used for measurement–site traffic, internal collaboration and Klout score. I quote from the case study:

  • Website traffic from social media increased 100% after the gamification effort went into effect
  • Social traffic increased 20% month-over-month since the beginning of the entire campaign
  • 57% increase in collaboration via an internal social network
  • Klout score rose from 43 to 45.28 over the course of the campaign

No small wins, in my opinion, but not too difficult to achieve when you put your heads together and pool resources internally. As a company, Bluewolf seems to be winning customer trust through social media, one employee at a time. Thumbs up to that!


Content rules the roost online. We all know that. We also know that posting good content on your B2B company’s website is simply not enough anymore. Social is a powerful medium to publish all that valuable content your target wants, needs, and will appreciate. But you have to pick the right channels—read my earlier post about 6 Tips on Content Curation”. Then, you also need to choose the right ingredients, as I said in my recent post The Top Social Media Skills Marketing Executives Need in 2013″.

There is a lot to be gained from quality content marketing but there is no place for noise in social media. In this article from B2B Magazine, there is a good example of a machine tool company, Makino Inc. and its success with search marketing. How does a prospect you never heard of become a customer that brings you a multimillion dollar sale? This can only be possible when your search and social marketing efforts establish a feeling of trust. The prospect spent 20 minutes viewing over 45 pages on the company’s website and then filled out a contact form. The level of interest and engagement was more than apparent. And that is clearly, the first step. Of course, it is up to you to then take that lead by the hand, strengthen the trust, and carefully guide it through the sales cycle until conversion is attained. That’s what Makino did.

In the same article, Lauren McCadney, senior manager of social media at technology solutions provider CDW Corp. says, If you’ve got a person doing back flips over your brand, go after them for the case study.” I agree, customer testimonials through case studies are incredibly careful. But a word of caution, don’t literally “go after them”…I know people who do this, on Facebook, on LinkedIn, on other social channels; and it is annoying, to say the least!

Have you seen impressive results with social marketing? How has social media helped build the trust factor for your brand? Please share your experiences on my blog. You can also email or call me, Louis Foong, at (905) 709-3827.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Louis Foong
Louis Foong is the founder and CEO of The ALEA Group Inc., one of North America's most innovative B2B demand generation specialists. With more than three decades of experience in the field, Louis is a thought leader on trends, best practices and issues concerning marketing and lead generation. Louis' astute sense of marketing and sales along with a clear vision of the evolving lead generation landscape has proved beneficial to numerous organizations, both small and large.


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