B2B Trending Conversations: Back to school edition

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September means back to school for students across North America. But as the old adage goes, you’re never too old to learn and in the ever-changing B2B space, every professional must be something of a perpetual student or risk flunking out. This week, B2B Trending Conversations hits the books — in this case all things B2B-related on social media — to deliver knowledge that can help give you an edge. We’ve got B2B marketing lessons, a course on B2B EdTech implementation, an educational webinar on SaaS commerce and more. Don’t worry, there’s no test!

B2B marketing

Back to school serves as a reminder that there’s so much to learn, not just for students but for B2B marketers too. Allocadia’s James Thomas offers five must-know B2B marketing lessons for the modern CMO, starting with embracing podcasts as a way to better engage with customers. Developing a hybrid inbound/outbound strategy, improving creativity with influencer marketing, boosting the bottom line with marketing analytics and building a performance-driven organization are all key elements of any successful B2B marketing endeavor.

B2B EdTech

EdTech is one of the hottest spaces in the tech world right now, with the global education technology sector forecast to soar in value from $60 billion in 2015 to $173 billion by 2020. But with such growth comes many perils and pitfalls, mostly of the bureaucratic and implementation variety given the immense number of students, educators, administrators and educational institutions out there.

“Schools and universities, much like any public sector field, have a tall complex hierarchy, and therefore you have to work through layer after layer to even begin to sell your product to them,” writes Blackbullion learning engagement manager Jade Bailey on LinkedIn. Bailey warns us to prepare for slowness and resistance. “But, if your product is good, prepare for loyalty,” she adds. “Prepare to make a difference to the lives of young people and educators.”

SaaS commerce

Get a crash course in driving your B2B digital transformation and revenue with SaaS commerce by attending this September 13 webinar sponsored by CloudCraze, a natively developed Salesforce e-commerce application. Forrester Research VP Liz Herbert, Land O’Lakes digital development director Bryan Shelstad and Internet Retailer editor-in-chief Don Davis will discuss why enterprises are choosing SaaS solutions to drive digital transformation and B2B commerce success, with real-world examples and insights into how Land O’ Lakes achieves digital revenue growth, improves customer engagement and speed-to-market with a Salesforce-built SaaS commerce solution.

B2B social media

You may be finished with college and ready for a successful B2B career, but Nathan Tanner at The Muse says you can tap into your alumni network for better results in landing jobs and overall success. LinkedIn’s Alumni Tool can help. “Sharing an alma mater means you instantly have something in common and gives you a reason to reach out,” Dawson writes. Indeed, it’s all about who you know, and armed with the results of highly targetable searches, you can better focus your energies on the most promising contacts. “Regardless of where you’re at in your career, you can benefit from the knowledge and experience of others,” writes Tanner. “So give this underrated tool a try. Your next opportunity may be closer than you think.”

B2B infographic

It’s time for an anatomy lesson — the anatomy of the B2B buyer, that is. Madison Logic CMO Dennis Syracuse teaches us that today’s B2B buyers are more likely to work in groups than alone, with an average of 5.4 people involved. There is also a growing number of Millennials in today’s B2B marketplace, with 46 percent of buyers falling into this demographic at every stage of the buying cycle. “In this new environment, relevancy is more important than ever and 82 percent of consumers feel more positive about a company after reading custom content,” writes Syracuse.

That’s all for this week’s column. We’ll be back again next week with more of the latest B2B social buzz. Meanwhile, check out last week’s B2B Trending Conversations by Sarah Dawley about leadership, and if you have any B2B content or ideas you think we should focus on next week, let us know via @b2bnewsnetwork. We love hearing from you!

Photo credit: Jon Evans

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