15 cutting-edge tools every B2B marketer should know

B2B marketers are reaping the rewards from the huge number of new martech tools. Here's a guide to some of the best of them.

Chat with MarTechBot

B2B marketers are getting a lot from the huge amount of new marketing technology, but it comes with more than a few challenges: Systems integration, budget woes, demonstrating ROI to name a few. And so many choices out there. Which products are best suited to the B2B world? Which are best for my industry and for my customers? 

Here follows a roundup of 15 new technologies I’ve run across that are just right for B2B, some recommended by people I trust and respect, and all of them worth a look. I’ve organized these by category: Data, campaigns, sales and strategy. 

DATA

  • Intent data for ABM: After bursting on the B2B scene around 2018, intent data is getting better and better. One new approach, from Propensity, applies the intent concept to Account Based Marketing, where intent data signals can be added to your target account records. The platform enables buying-committee selection, and message development and design for outbound campaigns through email and display advertising, all ready to run through Hubspot or Salesforce. 
  • Prospecting data: Have a look at the integrated prospecting data platform called Anteriad Data Cloud, for self-service or managed data across B2B markets, buying groups, and intent, for content syndication, programmatic advertising and cross-channel communications. 
  • Data management: Snowflake is the ultimate outsourced B2B data management cloud, positioning itself as the next generation of martech after the “stack.” It enables a real 360-degree view of the customer across first-,  second- and third-party data. And it supports the data needs of the entire firm, from manufacturing to finance. The big advantage for marketers is easy access to third-party data in real-time (Snowflake partners with over 100 data providers) and convenient tools for marketing execution and analytics. 
  • Personality profiling: The long-awaited vision of one-to-one marketing is fast approaching reality, as evidenced by Crystal Knows, a Chrome extension that pops up a personality profile next to a LinkedIn page. Think of what you could do, knowing whether the members of your target buying committee are Motivators or Questioners. Adjust your copy, your content, your sales conversations, your negotiating style — the list goes on. The Crystal Knows “type” is based on the familiar DISC personality framework. 

CAMPAIGNS

  • Response engagement: CredSpark lets you attach strategically designed polls, quizzes and surveys to your customer response points—an inquiry, or a content download, for example — to increase engagement and vastly improve conversion rates. Widely used by publishers and event organizers, it will work well in tech and industrial categories. A new secret weapon for lead qualification, too. 
  • Easy video edits: As video continues to grow as a key tool in B2B communications, we all find ourselves editing like mad — and going mad in the process. The miracle of Descript is that as you edit your video transcript, the video automatically adjusts itself. Also works for editing podcasts, and includes screen recording, clip creation and transcription. Genius.
  • Website personalization: Talk about the arrival of one-to-one marketing communications. Mutiny is set up to refresh your website instantly, based on who has stopped by. By industry, company size and other variables you select, derived from company IP and other identifiers. You can craft copy and design changes using their AI tool, and make personalized landing pages and emails customized to what’s known about the visitor. Don Peppers and Martha Rogers will be proud. 
  • Digital advertising: Search, social, programmatic — advertising online can be a nightmare to manage and track. AI to the rescue, in the form of Albert, a tool that enables digital advertising across the board. Albert claims to cover 90% of the biddable ad universe, to optimize, personalize and maximize performance, without spending more. 

Dig deeper: A sales-side view of marketing, automation and AI

SALES

  • Ecommerce: Forrester predicts that, while B2B offline sales will remain flat, B2B ecommerce will grow from $1.7 trillion in 2021 to $3 trillion by 2027. B2B marketers absolutely must figure out how to adapt the best of ecommerce functionality into their selling processes, mapping it to their customer’s buying process. Big Commerce is an example of a SaaS platform serving B2B sellers with secure, customizable solutions that fit their buyers’ behavior. They have partnered with SWK Technologies and other integrators to help you get going seamlessly.
  • Automated prospecting emails: Sales reps hate writing emails, so why not let AI do the job? CallSine invites users to upload their own prospecting data and add a variety of information about the products and services they are selling — pitches, testimonials, case studies, blogs. The tool then creates playbooks for reaching various contacts by role or persona and generates a series of proposed email messages. Reps can edit and regenerate the email copy as needed (like “Be more formal,” “Use fewer cliches”). Over time, the tool gets smarter. Best of all, because they’re being individually generated, these emails get past spam filters. Your reps can spend more time selling and less time writing.
  • Referral management: Deeto harnesses your current customers as part of your prospecting. Satisfied customers can opt in and contribute user-generated content like testimonials, personal success stories or videos. Deeto’s AI-driven platform matches the advocates with prospective clients, arranging one-on-one interactions that benefit both sides. Sales reps can use these warm introductions to add credibility and influence to their pitches. In return, participating customers receive rewards like gift cards or charitable donations. I’m told that customers are generally willing — even feeling honored — to participate. 
  • Customer advocacy: Another newcomer, similar to Deeto, but perhaps more broadly focused, is ChampionHQ. Designed to serve not only sales but also marketing and customer success, this platform helps identify hidden advocates in your customer base, generate referrals and address the customer lifecycle, tracking user behavior to accelerate upsells and renewals. 

STRATEGY

  • Teamwork: Marketing team dysfunction is a constant challenge in medium-to-large enterprises. OnLoop intends to fix that, with a productivity app to provide consistent ongoing feedback to employees and improve the value and results of performance reviews. Especially in today’s WFH environment, better tools for performance evaluation and peer feedback are welcome. 
  • Competitive intelligence: Crayon automates the drudgery of keeping an eye on competitors and even helps you craft strategies to counter their moves. What a godsend. 

So, what to make of this all? 

First, in the B2B world, where marketing and sales work closely together, the lines between martech and sales tech become more blurred than you find in B2C. Which is why some sales-related technologies have landed on this list. 

Second, AI is everywhere, and deservedly so. It’s a thrilling new resource for marketers, and especially satisfying to those of us who came up through the world of database marketing, where we’ve relied on predictions from past behavior to make bets on future customer behavior. Good that data is driving predictions all over the place. 

But that said, I’m a bit annoyed about AI as a mere buzzword. It’s fine — essential, even — for companies to search out ways to harness AI to improve their current products and open doors to new offerings. But let’s stop adding AI to every tagline, irrespective of whether data modeling is really part of the product. OK, I’ll stop griping. 

Third, it’s encouraging that entrepreneurs are coming up with a steady stream of helpful tools to streamline and empower our efforts. Long live B2B marketing innovation!

Last, tipping my hat to Steve Gershik, Leslie Laredo, Projjal Ghatak, Gianna Scorsone, Scott Gillum and Milt Hwang for their suggestions and input. Thanks to you all.

Get MarTech! Daily. Free. In your inbox.


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.


About the author

Ruth Stevens
Contributor
Ruth P. Stevens consults on customer acquisition and retention, specializing in B2B markets. She advises companies on go-to-market strategy, sales lead generation, customer and prospect data, content marketing and ABM. Crain’s BtoB magazine named Ruth one of the 100 Most Influential People in Business Marketing. Ruth also teaches marketing at business schools in the U.S. and abroad. She has taught at Columbia and NYU Stern business schools in New York, and abroad at Hong Kong UST, Singapore Management University, Athens College, San Andres University (Buenos Aires), Jagiellonian University (Krakow) and Indian Institute of Management Bangalore. Ruth is a guest blogger at Biznology, CustomerThink and Business 2 Community, and a contributing writer at AdAge and AdWeek. She co-hosts the Marketing Horizons podcast. Her newest book is B2B Data-Driven Marketing: Sources, Uses, Results. Ruth has held senior marketing positions at Time Warner, Ziff-Davis, and IBM and holds an MBA from Columbia University.

Get the must-read newsletter for marketers.