Interview: B Squared Media’s Brooke Sellas on B2B marketing and campaign analytics
Brooke Sellas is the founder and chief executive officer of B Squared Media, an adjunct lecturer at UC Irvine and co-host of the CX Engine Show. B Squared Media, the 2017 recipient of Sprout Social’s “Partner of the Year” award, provides social media management, advertising and social-led customer care solutions to midmarket companies and enterprises.
Boardroom Insight: B2B companies like consultancies usually have a smaller target market than consumer brands in terms of the number of potential leads. That makes measuring the ROI of digital marketing campaigns trickier in certain respects. What are some ways that a B2B company can quantity the effectiveness of its marketing spend?
Brooke Sellas: B2B metrics can be complex. First, I’d focus on my cost per lead (CPL), including a look at both marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) and sales-qualified leads (SQLs). Many times, execs view MQLs as “soft” but, they often have a higher conversion rate because they’ve been exposed to more relevant brand messaging and content.
Secondly, I’d look at my lead to close conversion rate (CVR). Leads are great, but if they aren’t converting, we have a problem. For example, if 100 leads produced 15 sales, my CVR would be 15%. Determine what your goal CVR is by month or quarter and dig in when things are going well or not-so-well.
Boardroom Insight: Employee engagement is a big focus in every industry, and the B2B services ecosystem is no exception. How does a marketing agency keep employees engaged and productive in the era of remote work?
Brooke Sellas: We’re always told to make the customer the hero of the story. I think this should include the employee, too. Customer Experience (CX) is partly born from Employee Experience (EX). So, if your employees aren’t happy, your CX will suffer. Make sure you’re doing everything you can to optimize the remote working experience. Create structured, personalized, and customized remote events for your team, and be sure to get their buy-in so they feel like they’re a part of creating the experience.
Boardroom Insight: Experimentation is an important part of marketing projects at many companies. A consultancy might try out different ad formats and channels to see what works best. How can a B2B consulting firm, or any company for that matter, ensure it’s doing ad experimentation in the most efficient way?
Brooke Sellas: We’re of the mindset that everything needs testing. We start with a landing page audit. From there, we A/B test our ad components, copy, calls-to-action, creative, audiences, the offer, etc. We usually test in batches to try and best pinpoint what specially resulted in a lift. Running tests can remove assumptions and replace them with factual, quantifiable data. And for data on that, studies show that A/B testing helps businesses generate about 30-40% more leads!
Boardroom Insight: What role can social media play in a B2B consultancy’s marketing strategy?
Brooke Sellas: Research by Forrester shows that the marketing channels that are most effective for B2B buyers are: 1) social media advertising 2) online video advertising, and 3) digital display advertising. The top two come from social media. And yes, while they support paid efforts, you must know that paid platforms are connected to organic ones. This means you need to have some sort of healthy presence on the organic social media channels you want to run paid campaigns on. Furthermore, LinkedIn has been a solid place for me and my customers to garner B2B leads and business.
Boardroom Insight: What are some marketing tactics from the B2C world that a smaller B2B consultancy could potentially apply to stand out from the pack?
Brooke Sellas: It’s a psychological fact that 95% of us buy based on emotion. I really wish more B2B brands would embrace that. Content filled with clichés, and facts do nothing to spur emotion, build trust, and make a true connection with a potential customer. Only content that conveys emotion – opinions and feelings – can do that. And there are plenty of B2B brands who are absolutely killing it with this type of content. Most B2B buyers know what they intend to buy before they begin exploring solutions. Grab them on emotion, then talk about features and benefits.