3 tips for maximizing your B2B sales & marketing budget in 2016

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When it comes to 2016 budget planning, there are many competing priorities to satisfy the needs of the sales and marketing teams. According to Gartner Research, by 2020, 85 percent of customer relationships will be managed without ever meeting in-person. In this increasingly virtual environment, it is essential to invest in the right resources to enable sales and marketing teams to perform at their jobs.

While developing the sales and marketing budgets for 2016, keep the following three tips in mind to help maximize investment while driving productivity and delivering better business outcomes.

Empower your sales teams with an advanced communication suite

From insight to action, B2B sales teams succeed by turning data into actionable insight that all team members can access from any location or device. Integrated cloud technology is pivotal to predictive analysis. It allows sales managers to access valuable data, gain pipeline visibility, track sales rep performance and uncover opportunities to grow the business, all in real-time.

CRM software empowers sales teams, encouraging productivity and collaboration. The right CRM solution can connect all communication streams to Salesforce, for instance, enabling reps with features such as call logging.

CRM also provides a centralized place to upload content, including relevant videos, presentations and eBooks – an important consideration, as two thirds of B2B buyers rely more on content to research and make purchasing decisions than they did a year ago, according to a recent DemandGen report.

Beyond CRM and data tracking, communications suites enable sales teams with important mobile features such as mobile twinning, which sends inbound calls to mobile and desk phones simultaneously. By ensuring employees are easily available from any location, mobile twinning and other features helps drive continued productivity and growth.

Arm your teams with marketing automation tools 

Long gone are the days when marketing teams had to purchase lists of emails and phone numbers to chase new leads. While that approach may seem like a quick fix, it is not a long-term solution. The 2016 budget calls for an investment in marketing automation tools to enhance efficiency and relevance.

Platforms such as HubSpot and Marketo are most commonly used to generate leads and, ultimately, profit.

Effective and relevant content is important to both sales and marketing teams’ success. Marketing automation tools allow teams to nurture productive relationships at different points in the decision process, offering content tailored to each prospect’s interaction patterns.

The ultimate goal of marketing campaigns is to generate qualified leads that later become paying customers. To accomplish this, website traffic drivers must be identified, then lead information captured, scored and passed to sales. Account managers or sales reps can then focus on solving the future customer’s problem, helping to expand their customer base and grow revenue.

Better target your stakeholders through communications marketing

Budget planning will be most successful for companies that identify key learnings from 2015. Marketing and communications teams can leverage website analytics to determine the various channels through which traffic is driven to the website, thus informing the best touch points with key stakeholders.

 Businesses should consider and leverage a diverse array of communications and marketing tactics to best engage their various audiences. These include public relations, search engine optimization (SEO) and paid media engagement. Public relations helps secure third-party validation and spark positive awareness and conversation – both via traditional and social media. SEO maximizes the traffic that comes to a business’ website, an effort which can be paired with marketing to create new business leads. Finally, paid media offers considerable freedom to craft a specific message while establishing thought leadership among a hyper-targeted audience.

As businesses budget for 2016, they should consider the various elements of communications marketing with a cohesive mindset. This integrated approach amplifies the impact of every individual component, maximizing the ROI. For example, paid media often helps drive earned media placements.

When it comes to the 2016 budget, empowering sales and marketing teams with advanced communication suites, leveraging marketing automation tools and integrating communications marketing set businesses on course for maximum ROI, while also making all facets of the business more efficient and effective.

Photo courtesy Broadview Networks

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Jeff Blackey

Jeff Blackey

Jeff Blackey is the Senior Vice President of Marketing for Broadview Networks, one of the top 10 UC cloud providers in the nation. Broadview’s cloud offerings include OfficeSuite® Phone, the easy-to-use hosted phone system that is 100% cloud-based using technology unique to Broadview. Mr. Blackey has more than 25 years of marketing management experience in the communications industry.