5 Ways Marketers Can Innovate to Drive Growth

What challenges are SMB marketers facing?

Small and medium business marketers have a lot to do and not enough time to do it. Budgets are often tight, as well, so they have to be smart about where they spend their time and effort.

Challenges for Small and Medium Business Marketers

Here are the top five ways small and medium businesses can innovate their marketing to maximize their resources and growth — now and in the future.


Start with the Future in Mind

Planning for tomorrow can be difficult when you’re just trying to make it through today. Many small and medium businesses just beginning their digital transformations opt for cheaper platforms that can get them from one day to the next, but have little to offer when it comes to taking their company’s marketing to the next level.

Having an eye on the future is the secret to making smart decisions that really pay off. While decisions may feel daunting, with the right technology, you can make more of the resources you already have. You’ll also be able to scale personalization, campaign planning, and even content creation over time — without adding more dollar signs or manpower.

How to keep an eye on the future:

  • Think about how your audience will change and grow.
    Ask yourself:

    • What new channels will they expect to engage with you in?
    • What new customers do you expect to be able to find and target with the help of technology?
    • How will you continue to personalize interactions with every lead and customer?
  • Think about how your marketing needs will grow over time. Ask yourself:

    • If technology can solve a problem I face today, what new challenges might I face tomorrow?
    • Can my new platform help me solve them as well?
  • Think about how your business will need to scale in the future. Ask yourself:

    • If technology can help me bring in more leads per month, how will sales handle them?
    • What tools and resources will they need?

Only by looking toward the future can you discover innovative ways to solve the challenges you face today — and choose the right tools and technologies to tackle the ones you’ll face tomorrow.


Personalize Everything

It’s undeniable. Today’s buyers expect personalized experiences. According to B2B Marketing Trends, 69% of business buyers expect companies to anticipate their needs. The State of the Connected Customer report found that even more (89%) say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services.

of business buyers expect companies to anticipate their needs.

B2B Marketing Trends

of business buyers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services.

State of the Connected Customer

of small and medium business leaders value trust above all else in their relationships with customers.

Small & Medium Business Trends Report

As your business grows, brings in more leads, and develops relationships with new customers, delivering fully personalized experiences to each one becomes more of a challenge. Perhaps your teams are already feeling the strain. If communications are falling behind and leads are slipping through the cracks, it’s time for a different solution.

With marketing automation, small and medium businesses can deliver personalized experiences for every new lead across every channel and touchpoint. The best part? As your business grows, your technology — and ability to deliver personalized experiences — grows with it.

Here are some innovative ways that marketing automation empowers marketers to deliver personalized experiences at scale.

  1. Dynamic Website Content

    Using your CRM data to deliver custom web experiences. Based on previous interactions, dynamic content and CTAs will automatically adapt to deliver personalized journeys for your website visitors.

  2. Lead Nurturing

    Personalize email messages using dynamic content. Then create a lead nurturing journey to deliver the content that makes sense at each step of the customer journey based on who they are, what they interact with, and their interests. This will enable you to always ensure the user is getting the content that is most helpful to them. Learn more about lead nurturing.

  3. Sales Intelligence

    Give your sales reps the data and insights they need to deliver seamless, personalized experiences. Predictive lead scoring and tailored dashboards make it easy for sales reps to make data-driven decisions when it comes to recommending the next best action, product, or content offer for every lead.

  4. Segmentation

    Use the power of your data to create audiences to target with personalized campaigns. You can create targeted lists of accounts and customers for ideal customers, job role/function, their needs, and top ABM accounts. Once you have these lists you can run targeted campaigns to deliver the perfect content to each audience.

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Use AI to Generate and Nurture Leads

As a marketer for a small or medium business, you’re well aware of how a filled pipeline impacts the health of your business. You also know what a challenge it can be to keep your company’s pipeline consistently full with quality leads. Most small and medium business marketers are members of small teams — or perhaps the only marketer at their company — responsible for driving leads for sales. This means that even the smallest decisions they make can have critical business impact.

The combination of marketing automation and artificial intelligence (AI) is empowering marketers to discover innovative ways of connecting with new customers.

Marketing automation removes manual tasks such as scheduling and sending emails, so marketers can focus on what matters most: building meaningful customer relationships.

Artificial intelligence takes the power of automation further, and marketers for small and medium businesses are taking notice. According to the third edition of the “Small & Medium Business Trends Report,” 32% of small and medium businesses have a plan to implement AI, representing an increase of 310% over the previous report.

Percentage of small and medium businesses that have plans to implement AI capabilities.

Small & Medium Business Trends

Many marketers are burdened by data overload. For marketers at small and medium businesses who must balance multiple responsibilities, the burden can feel extra heavy. Savvy marketers are using AI to sift through their troves of data and uncover key audience trends. They can then use this information to target lookalike audiences and drive new leads, power media buying to optimize ROI, and automatically segment audiences for better engagement.

How AI can help generate and nurture leads.

    • AI powered lead scoring can help determine the best leads based on persona data and determine when they are showing buying signals.
    • AI can analyze your customers and their behaviors to find the leads that are most likely to convert or present the most opportunity for business growth.
    • AI analyzes engagement data from your campaigns and marketing assets then can give you global insights that inform campaign adjustments in real time — so you can maximize effectiveness by doing more of what works and less of what doesn’t.
    • AI insights to determine the next-best piece of content for each member or segment of your audience based on behavior, stage of the buying cycle, and demographic data.

Learn more about driving leads with the help of automation and AI:

  1. Close Deals Faster with Predictive AI and Enhanced Lead Insights

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  2. 5 Essential Elements of A Successful Lead Generation Strategy

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  3. How to Power Your B2B Marketing with Artificial Intelligence

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  4. 3 Ways Artificial Intelligence Makes B2B Marketing More Efficient

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Align Marketing and Sales

As our world grows more connected, B2B customers expect seamless, personalized experiences. However, these are difficult to deliver if marketing and sales aren’t closely aligned on goals and data.

Bringing together marketing and sales opens a door to new opportunities and better customer experiences. However, companies continue to struggle to tear down the silos that can separate these teams. Not only does this impede the development of innovative customer experiences, it makes tracking ROI for campaigns and programs a major challenge.

When marketing and sales are aligned, they share data, goals, and accountability for delivering leads that result in revenue. Close marketing and sales alignment is a crucial element of any account-based marketing strategy.

Here’s how small and medium businesses can bring together sales and marketing:

  • Develop a campaign playbook.

    When marketing launches a new campaign make sure that sales understands the campaign, the audience, and the messaging so they know how to handle the leads that come through each campaign. By creating a playbook for sales they will be able to have the right conversation every time.

  • Align on goals and priorities.

    Bring leaders from both teams to the table to discuss needs, priorities, and goals. It’s easier for teams to work together when they’re running toward the same finish line.

  • Collaborate on strategy and tactics.

    When the lines of communication between marketing and sales are open, both teams can be more agile in their strategy and tactics. This means they can quickly act on new opportunities for more revenue and higher ROI.

  • Incorporate AI for data-driven decisions.

    AI gives marketers and sales reps access to capabilities such as automated lead assignment and lead scoring. These capabilities ensure your reps follow up on the most promising leads driven by marketing so they can maximize ROI.

Learn more about how you can align marketing and sales at your small or medium business:

  1. 3 Simple Tactics to Help You Win and Grow Customer Relationships

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  2. How to Build a Revenue Marketing Engine: 6 Lessons Learned

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  3. 10 Things That Keep Sales Leaders Up at Night (and How Marketing Can Help)

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  4. The Quest for Marketing & Sales Alignment Through Shared Customer Insights

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Unify Data

Data drives intelligent B2B marketing decisions. It’s at the core of personalized customer experiences, informs creative messaging, and measures campaign performance. Just collecting lots of data, though, won’t open the door to these insights. First, you must connect your data.

When data is unified across platforms and teams, it empowers small teams to work together harmoniously to accomplish more. Marketers have access to insights they can use to deliver seamless, relevant, and highly personalized customer experiences. Sales reps have insight into individual customer behavior, engagement, and next best actions. Business leaders can identify trends and accurately forecast pipeline and revenue. However, only 47% of marketers say they have a completely unified view of customer data sources.

  • CRM

    The #1 technology priority for growing small and medium businesses.

  • 4.3 and 6.8

    The average number of business apps used by small and medium businesses.

  • 34%

    The percentage of small and medium business leaders who report “Unified view of the customer” as a top benefit of having a CRM.

Small & Medium Business Trends Report.
  • Tips for unifying your data:

  • Give everyone a seat at the table.

    Bring together marketing, sales, service, and business leaders to align around a strategy for creating a unified experience across the full customer journey and what data you need to be successful. Once you understand the data needed to grow the business and measure success you can move into building out the right plan and tech stack.

  • Invest in the right technology.

    If you haven’t already, investing in customer relationship management (CRM) technology is critical for capturing customer data and sharing it across your company. It’s your single source of truth for customer data and it interacts with marketing automation to deliver personalized customer experiences.

  • Connect data sources and show the right data.

    Make sure that the technology you are using to run your business is all connected into your CRM. Once that is done talk to key stakeholders to determine which data needs to show up on the lead, contact, and account records so that your sales team has access to all the information they need to be successful.

  • Empower your teams to use data to drive growth.

    Once all the data is accessible to your teams make sure they are aligned on how to use it.

    • Create a playbook for how to approach customers based on their interests, industry, or title.
    • Share insights and best practices around how to segment audiences and deliver personalized engagements.
    • Create nurture campaigns to target specific audiences based on their interests.
    • Use marketing automation and data partners to gather additional information to further make decisions.

Learn more about the advantages of unified data:

  1. How Artificial Intelligence Takes B2B Marketing Accuracy to the Next Level

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  2. Introducing the 5th Salesforce State of Marketing Report: Here are the Top Trends Redefining the Profession

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  3. 7 Technologies and Trends to Get Your CRM Ready for 2020

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  4. 5 Lessons from Inspirato for Record Growth & ROI

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