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Where does human support belong in a B2B inbound marketing journey?

When a customer wants to explore B2B marketing material, he or she usually begins by typing his or her query into an online search engine. Mobile advertising tools and digital content means consumers can get all the marketing information they need wherever and whenever they want it. So where do human company representatives fit into the new inbound marketing framework?

A self-sufficient inbound marketing journey
Business 2 Community indicated most B2B customers are well through their purchasing decision before they contact the supplier (1). Consumers will absorb a variety of content on their own before they reach out to a person.

There are numerous advantages to self-sufficient inbound B2B marketing strategies. The B2B Marketing Insider said content marketing is a more cost-efficient source of lead generation (2). It brings the customers to you, as opposed to wasting resources on outbound strategies that won't find an audience. If a marketing team creates a wealth of materials that are found on the audience's preferred platform, they create easy links between the company and consumers.

After the content is created and distributed, however, marketers who wish to practice B2B lead nurturing may be at a lose for when the best time is to reach out to clients. If an inbound journey is well-designed, and if customers prefer to go at their own speed, the marketing team may feel reaching out to prospective clients is redundant and pushy.

When should B2B marketing teams make contact
Just because consumers can search for information, compare offers and purchase products online doesn't mean there isn't a place for human guidance. Information Age said there are four types of B2B buyers: Show me, enlighten me, serve me and guide me (3).

Inbound content marketing can handle the show me customers but it's up to human beings to enlighten, guide and serve leads. It's important that marketers and salespeople have unique information that can't be found online. Otherwise, human contact would be superfluous. A representative may not have data that's left out of content marketing, but they can provide additional experience, empathy or persuasion.

Determining when to reach out to leads on their inbound journey may be tough. Marketers have to be aware of how most customers interact with online materials and discover when additional support is needed. An inbound marketing agency can analyze viewer behavior on mobile, social media and other online pages to discover what actions are most prudent. Discovering how inbound marketing is working provides companies with a clear indication of where human marketers can best fit into the picture.

(1). How To Plan Your B2B Lead Generation Content Over Three Martinis

(2). Inbound Marketing Leads Costs Less

(3). The death of B2B salesmen – and how they can survive in a digital world 

Sheila Kloefkorn

With more than 25 years of hands on marketing strategy and operations experience, Sheila Kloefkorn is dedicated to developing marketing strategies and plans that help clients succeed. Some of the world's largest brands have depended on Sheila for marketing programs that delivered tangible and substantial results. Specialties: B2B marketing, lead generation, lead nurturing, sales strategy, marketing strategy, competitive marketing strategy, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), mobile marketing, email marketing, website design, marketing plans.