16 B2B Marketing Tools to Create a Bulletproof Stack in 2018

By Brent Barnhart

16 B2B Marketing Tools to Create a Bulletproof Stack in 2018

As a B2B marketer, you know there are no shortage of tools out there.

But ironically enough, the seemingly simple of act of choosing the right B2B marketing tools is so daunting in and of itself.

Heck, just spend five seconds look at the oft-cited MarTech 5000 (actually 6,829).

With so many tools floating around, it’s no surprise why marketers suffer from analysis paralysis when it comes time to pick just one for a certain category.

Oh, and couple that with the fact that not all companies are created equal in terms of their size, scope and budget. What’s considered essential to one company might be an afterthought for another.

While there is no “one size fits all” approach to picking the tools in your arsenal, we’ve put something together to help modern B2B marketers zero in on what’s right for them.

Breaking Down the Best B2B Marketing Tools Out There Right Now

In the quick guide below, we’ve highlighted sixteen tools that deserve your attention regardless of where your company might be at.

How did we come up with this list, you ask?

These are the tools that are our team is currently using at Chili Piper (we’re a startup as of this writing) or has used in the past (at companies like Marketo, Citrix, and Xactly), including our must-haves that we can’t live without.

From closing leads to getting more eyes on your business, any combination of these tools can help improve your marketing.

So if you’re ready to rein in some of the chaos and finally figure out what tools are right for your business, let’s dig in.

 

1. Buyer Enablement Tech – Chili Piper

The concept of putting your customers first might seem like a no-brainer but is so often overlooked.

Think about it.

What are you doing to signal that you respect your leads’ valuable time?

If the answer is a resounding “nothing,” it’s time to act.

Because in an era of customer-centric marketing and bite-sized attention spans, responding to leads in a timely matter isn’t just an upside: it’s an expectation.

(For all the data lovers reading this, here’s the research that shows how seriously you should be taking lead response time.)

Instead of giving your leads the old “thanks – we’ll contact you soon” after they fill out a form, Chili Piper’s buyer enablement platform gives them the option to immediately start a call or book a meeting:

Rather than deal with the endless back and forth that results in lost leads, the platform makes sure that a meeting or demo is little more than a click away.

Pricing: $25 per user/month (scheduling only) or $50 per user/month (scheduling and phone), plus $200/month platform access fee for forms integration plus advanced distribution.

 

2. CRM (for SMBs) – HubSpot

Speaking of customer-centric marketing, some form of CRM is an absolute must-have for businesses of all sizes.

HubSpot’s forever-free solution provides an in-depth means of gathering customer data that obviously doesn’t break the bank.

Boasting features including form integrations, analytics and touch-points tracking for up to seven days, smaller marketers can cut their teeth on the concept of learning as much as they can about their leads.

HubSpot’s platform is proof that the best software for B2B marketers don’t necessarily come with tons of bloat or a massive price tag.

Pricing: Forever free.

 

3. CRM (for Enterprise) – Salesforce

Let’s be blunt: Salesforce represents CRM on steroids.

Salesforce’s AI integrations automatically identify your most qualified leads and profitable sales opportunities, removing much of the legwork of tracking down leads manually. Meanwhile, the ability to track both on-site activity and insights via social media provide a bird’s eye view of each and every lead without fail.

Although Salesforce is undoubtedly an enterprise solution, its functions speak to a larger point about B2B marketing at large. That is, we’re capable of gathering a crazy amount of information on our potential customers. The more we know and the faster we can act, the better.

Pricing: Packages are priced per-user, per month starting at $25 and up to $300: the most popular enterprise plan (Lightning Enterprise) is $150. Salesforce offers a 30-day free trial of their CRM solution.

 

4. Email Marketing (for SMBs) – GetResponse

Email marketing remains a staple of inbound, although the extent to which automation has taken over the space is staggering.

From automated workflows to behavior-based marketing, GetResponse’s triggered campaigns are a game-changer for those who’ve never fully taken full advantage of email automation. Variables such as time-between emails and automatic lead scoring ensure that the right leads are receiving the most relevant messages time and time again.

Take note that many of today’s B2B marketing and demand gen tools center around putting many of the most important aspects of your business on autopilot. The beauty of email is that after you’ve done the initial legwork of creating workflows, platforms such as GetResponse can truly take the reins of your campaigns.

Nice, right?

Pricing: Tiered by list size, features and users. The basic “Email” plan is $15 monthly for a list of 1,000 while the highlighted “Pro” plan for a list of 5,000 and full features is $49 monthly.

 

5. Email Marketing (for Enterprise) – HubSpot

HubSpot’s enterprise email solution combines easy-to-use, drag-and-drop functionality with robust automation features.

Perhaps most notable is the ability to personalize campaigns for specific subscribers despite blasting to a massive list. Syncing with data based on your subscribers’ place in your business’ lifecycle, users can customize subject lines, calls-to-action and links accordingly.

Meanwhile, the ability to A/B test messages and view in-depth analytics allows marketers to further optimize their messages with each subsequent campaign.

Pricing: Email marketing features are available at part of HubSpot’s “Basic” plan ($200 monthly) as well as their “Professional” ($800) and “Enterprise” ($2,400) plans.

 

6. Lead Enrichment – Clearbit

Although modern CRM solutions are indeed powerful, Clearbit makes sure that no corner of your leads’ essential information goes unnoticed.

Enriching lead data through additional data fields not only creates a more comprehensive picture of your leads, but perhaps also an opportunity to outshine your competition when it comes time to close.

Cross-referencing 250 sources and covering up to 85 unique tags, all marketers need is an email or corporate domain to fill in the rest.

Pricing: Varies based on number of API requests and CRM provider: starting at $99 monthly up to $499.

 

7. Lead Capture – OptinMonster

The old-school lead capture form is far from dead.

Noting that 70% of your website visitors will never return, OptinMonster’s customizable forms live up to their namesake by enticing opt-ins.

Given the sheer popularity of lead magnets such as e-books, webinars and drip courses for B2B marketers today, any small step you can take to encourage new sign-ups is a major plus.

A nice bonus of OptinMonster in particular is the ability to A/B test forms to see which format, copy and offers perform the best.

This data can be selling for marketers looking to experiment with new lead magnets or simply ask for opt-ins without feeling spammy about it (hint: it doesn’t have to be).

Pricing: The “Standard” package starts at $29 monthly, with “Pro” ($79) and “Agency” ($199) plans available with full features including more site integrations and pageviews. A 14-day free trial is available for all plans.

 

8. Content Marketing – Buzzsumo

Itching for a brilliant blog post idea?

Looking for a potential collab with a fellow marketer?

Buzzsumo has you covered in both departments.

Identifying top-performing content for particular topics and keywords, the platform also highlights the top writers in your niche, too. Whether for competitive analysis or outreach alike, a quick search gives you an instant pulse on any industry.

The ability to filter content by date (think: month versus year versus five years) also provides insight on potential evergreen topics versus time-sensitive pieces that may be relevant to your readers today.

Pricing: “Pro” plan starts at $79 monthly: Buzzsumo recommends its “Pro” plan ($139) with additional alerts and mentions. A limited “Micro” plan ($39) is available to small and solo businesses, too. There is a seven day trial available for all plans.

 

9. SEO – ahrefs

Let’s be real: Google Analytics can only do so much, right?

Presenting itself as the ultimate SEO spy tool, ahrefs can clue you in on the top organic keywords for just about any URL. The platform provides an estimate of your competitors’ traffic for those respective keywords, too.

 

Despite popular belief, SEO doesn’t have to be treated as a giant guessing game, nor do competing keywords or backlinks need to be a total mystery.

ahrefs likewise looks at the most popular content of competitors which is useful to know from both an SEO and branding perspective.

Pricing: “Lite” plan starts at $99 monthly although ahrefs recommends its “Standard” plan ($179) with more robust features. Billing annually allows for two free months of the product; meanwhile, ahrefs also offers a week-long trial of their tools for $7.

 

10. Social Media Automation – Sprout Social

From social selling to its media’s role in enriching lead data and account-based marketing, data gleaned from the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can be invaluable.

The common thread between today’s tools is that they empower us to take action. Sprout Social does exactly that through its in-depth reporting which clues marketers in on top-performing content, hashtags and notable touchpoints with influencers.

Beyond that, the ability to schedule and optimize social content is time-saver for those who want to optimize their content marketing for engagement. Doing so definitely beats solely posting in real-time.

Pricing: “Premium” plan starts at $99 monthly per user with Corporate ($149) and Enterprise ($250) plans available. Sprout offers a 30-day free trial of all plans.

 

11. Conversion Rate Optimization – Hotjar

For better or worse, marketers are at a point where we’re swimming in so much data that we don’t need to make assumptions when it comes to UX.

Hotjar provides conversion optimization insights based on real-time activity from visitors. In addition to heatmaps which signals hotspots (think: buttons, links and CTA copy), the platform allows marketers to view actual recordings of on-site visits for a bird’s eye view of what it’s like to interact with your site from a total stranger’s perspective.

 

Although conversion rate optimization obviously helps with, well, conversions, such data can also help influence aesthetic choices such as color scheme (which may otherwise be treated as an afterthought).

Pricing: Business plan pricing is tiered by pageviews per day ($89 monthly for 20,000 daily pageviews, $189 for 50,000, etc). There is also a $29 “Plus” plan for low-traffic sites (~10,000 pageviews) and startups. A 15-day trial is available for all plans.

 

12. Landing Page Builder – Unbounce

On a related note, the variables on our product-centric landing pages are perhaps the most important.

After all, they have a direct impact on our bottom lines.

You’re probably already privy to the concept of extensive A/B testing, but if there’s any piece of your site where the “always be testing” mantra applies, it’s on your landing pages. Unbounce allows marketers to do exactly that with a platform that’s not only comprehensive, but also intuitive.

Drag-and-drop editing and the ability to immediately go back-and-forth between variant pages means quicker testing, more often.

Simply put, the act of A/B testing becomes much less daunting via Unbounce given its low learning curve.

Pricing: A basic “Essential” plan is available at $79 monthly, although Unbounce recommends its $159 which includes additional landing pages and other features. A 30-day free trial is available.

 

13. Account-Based Marketing – Engagio

Rather than pick between inbound or outbound, account-based marketing emphasizes touchpoints such as social likes or CRM hits to eventually close leads.

While this sounds like the best of both worlds on paper, one of the biggest drawbacks of ABM is a lack of measurement upon rolling out a campaign.

Engagio’s solution was created with this very specific point in mind. In short, the platform manages to measure just how long your brand “spends” with a lead during an ABM campaign.

The ability to categorize targets based on their roles is a nice touch as well.

Lead scoring is likewise available based on actions including email activity, on-site downloads, event and meeting attendance and actual sales calls.

Pricing: Engagio does not explicitly advertise pricing, but encourages potential users to register for a 30-minute, deep-dive demo.

 

14. Webinars – Zoom

No matter what space you’re in, webinars are just about everywhere.

And why not? Webinars represent fantastic lead magnets in an era where seeing is believing and people need more than a mere blog post to convert.

Meanwhile, such presentations can be as a place to connect with prospects and educate them on what you’re all about in a live setting.

Zoom represents a sort of “all of the above” platform, giving marketers an awesome avenue to engage with leads and customers in real-time. Interactive features and integrations with other B2B staples such as Slack likewise set it apart from competitors in the webinar space.

Pricing: Professional, Business and Enterprise plans range from $15 to $20 monthly per host. A free, basic account is also available.

 

15. Live Chat – Intercom

Remember what we said earlier about the need to interact with people in a timely manner?

That’s why seemingly small on-site integrations such as live chat are so important.

Intercom allows businesses to use both bots and in-person chat to capture and qualify leads in real-time.

Non-intrusive and appropriate for just about any brand, the platform fast-tracks queries to relevant bots or people for speedy responses to would-be dropped queries.

Intercom also measures the performance of bots and your team alike when it comes to capturing leads, meaning that the ROI of the platform is never in question.

Pricing: Tiered based on products and features. Push messages start at $49 monthly, team inboxes are $19 monthly per seat and content base features are $49 monthly. A 14-day free trial of all features are available.

 

16. Data Intelligence – DiscoverOrg

The best tools for B2B marketers are the ones that keep you one step ahead of the competition, right?

Enter the world of data intelligence.

Platforms like DiscoverOrg represent yet another valuable tool to help you learn as much as you possibly can about potential buyers.

A huge upside of the service is also its ability to generate lookalike prospects based on your best customers. In other words, you’re investing in an actual resource versus “just” a data set.

With the platform promoting a 95% guaranteed accuracy rate, a non-decayed list such as that from DiscoverOrg is ideal for inbound, outbound and ABM efforts alike.

Pricing: Pricing is available upon request based on the specifics of your desired dataset and company demographics.

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