If you’re in the B2B marketing space, you know there’s thousands of resources telling you how to do your job more efficiently, cheaper, and frankly better.
Not all of those resources are necessary.
There’s a lot of junk in the B2B marketing space. Filtering through all of this noise to uncover the best insights for B2B marketing can be a challenge.
You don’t need a separate house for books, an external drive filled with podcasts, or hundreds of “watch later’s” on your Youtube account. All you need are a few key resources to get you up to speed with what you need to know to become a great B2B marketer.
Let me start by saying this:
There’s no simple hack.
There’s no simple tool.
There’s no one book that will cure the day.
You’re going to have to take a handful of the insights shared by some of the most experienced in the industry and combine them with actual efforts. The best way to become a great B2B marketer will never be to simply read books and listen to podcasts. The best way to become a great B2B marketer only happens when you do B2B marketing things!
That said… A foundation that starts with insights is definitely required. Which is why we’ve compiled the ultimate guide for B2B Marketers highlighting the best books, podcasts, keynotes, and newsletters that every B2B marketer needs to read, listen, or watch.
Let’s get into it.
If there’s one marketing channel that I think too many people overlook as a channel for learning it’s Reddit. Far too many marketers think of Reddit as a place to waste time rather than a place where you can learn, collaborate and grow. The Subreddit /r/Sales is jam packed with information from executives who have closed everything from six figure to eight figure deals for their companies. In marketing, we often move ourselves out of the sales world but in reality – we’re a part of it. Embrace it. Learn from it. And use this Subreddit to gain insights that can change your career.
If you’re a digital marketer and you don’t have an account set up for Inbound.org, you’re greatly missing out on a huge opportunity. Inbound offers a little bit of something for everyone ranging from a junior B2B marketer just getting started to a senior CMO at a tech company that generates millions in revenue each quarter. It’s a diverse group of marketers from all of the world and definitely considered to be one of the best communities around.
Data and growth have been two of the hottest topics in the B2B marketing world for the last few years and for good reason. Data leads to insights and insights lead to opportunities for driving growth. The community at Growth Hackers is FOCUSED heavily on both of these things and on a weekly basis they host amazing AMAs that bringing experts from around the globe. You don’t want to miss out!
Slack Communities have really started to take off over the last few months and one of my favorites is definitely Online Geniuses. It’s filled with B2B marketers (and B2C) who are constantly sharing hacks, tips, tricks and strategies for growing their businesses through new channels. It’s one of those channels that has a lot of potential and has a chance to become a part of every marketers tool kit in the coming years. Definitely check it out.
I’m in a lot of Facebook Groups and this SaaS Growth Hacks Facebook Group by Aaron Krall is one that constantly delivers. The people in this group are SaaS founders, marketers and operators from all over the world and the discussions ranging from “Does anyone have experience with this” to “I need to hire someone who can do ABC” – It’s broad! But it’s awesome because the entire community is authentic (I mean, it’s Facebook – hard to hide!) and constantly trying to deliver value to one another. It’s definitely worth giving a try. Especially if you’re not familiar with the power of Facebook groups for business.
“Tip to aspiring entrepreneurs: if you don’t like choosing between horrible and cataclysmic, don’t become CEO.”
Ben Horowitz, cofounder of Andreessen Horowitz, writes a book on the hardest problems a business degree can’t teach you. Using personal insight and lyrics from his favourite rappers, he gives it to you straight, telling about firing friends, poaching clients, and getting into the CEO mindset of a winning company. If the lessons don’t convince you, Horowitz’s trademark humour and straight talk is sure to win you over.
“It’s easy and fun to dream about success. Making it happen—and keeping it going—is a lot tougher. And far more rewarding.”
If you’re looking to improve the revenue of your company, this is the book for you. Aaron Ross and Jason Lemkin explain the do’s and don’t’s by answering 3 questions: Why aren’t you growing faster, What does it take to get hyper growth, and How do you sustain growth. These questions are answered with an easy template of the 7 ingredients for hyper growth to make it easy to put it into practice.
“Chasm crossing is not the end, but rather the beginning, of mainstream market development.”
Tech entrepreneurs, listen up! This book by Geoffrey A. Moore is the bible of tech marketing and bringing in new products in a market becoming slowly over-saturated. You don’t have to only be in tech to learn a thing or two or overcoming the struggles of breaking through the market and standing out.
“Excessive collaboration adds time (but not value) to the process.”
There’s two types of people in business, the “Talkers” and the “Mobilizers”. At least that’s what The Challenger Customer explains. This book talks about how to distinguish the two through research based tools and use the power of persuasion to win over even the most skeptical of customers.
“The starting point of all achievement is DESIRE. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desire brings weak results, just as a small fire makes a small amount of heat.”
Olden but golden, this book is known as one of the best-selling self-help books of all time. Written during the Great Depression, this book gave insight into how things can get better for many people suffering at the time. The book still holds up today, with valuable lessons for even the most successful CEO.
“I hope you realize that web marketing is enjoyable because it’s creative, something both social and analytical. There’s nothing intimidating about it. You may discover that, yes, web marketing is critical to modern business, but it’s also a lot of fun.”
For those who aren’t the biggest fans of scanning pages upon pages of written letters, this is the book for you. Why? Because it’s completely illustrated with fun graphics to make every lesson pop. It discusses the social, creative, and analytical sides to marketing in the 21st century, i.e. SEO, social media and email marketing.
This podcast is hosted by Reid Hoffman. The name sound familiar? That’s because he’s the co-founder of LinkedIn. You know… The site that has dominated the B2B social networking space for the last decade or so. Based on that, you know his insights are worth following up on. And his podcasts are interviews and discussions with other notable executives businessmen and women, such as Eric Schmidt (Google), Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook) and Reed Hastings (Netflix).
Listen to these great episodes for B2B marketing insights:
This podcast focuses on the world of SaaS (Software as a Service) with interviews with the biggest operators and investors in the field. The podcast takes on a much more technical spin, giving specific details on how to improve your marketing and investment approaches.
Here’s a few of the best SaaStr podcasts that everyone needs to listen to if they want to succeed as a B2B Marketer in the coming months:
David Cancel and Dave Gerhardt of Drift host Seeking Wisdom, probably one of the funnier and more light-hearted podcasts on this list. On it they discuss not only the technical aspects of marketing and management, but also how to personally thrive, with episodes on fitness regimes, overcoming self-doubt, and how to work (yes that’s an actual episode).
Here’s a handful of the must listen to episodes as it relates to Seeking Wisdom:
Content marketers, this is the podcast for you.
This podcast isn’t exactly hosted by anyone, but it’s rather a collection of conversations between some of the brightest marketing minds. It’s less about helping you figure out the basics and more about learning some tactical and strategic insights that can change your business. From efforts that will help you get leads at the top of the funnel to the actual conversion.
The Startup Chat is exactly what it sounds like, it’s a chat on start-ups. More importantly, it’s on tips and tricks towards a successful start-up.
This podcast hosted by Steli Efti (Close.io) and Hiten Shah (CrazyEgg + KISSmetrics) leans towards theoretical questions and answering unanswerable questions, and will answer every question on startups you didn’t even know you had. Here’s a must listen episode for B2B marketers:
Now let’s get to the SEO side of things.
Experts on The Wire from Dan Shure is a podcast lays out everything you need to know about search engines, content marketing and how to optimize your site for organic reach. Dan has an impressive network and has the ability to attract some of the brightest experts in the industry to share tactical tips that you can hit the ground with immediately.
Here are a few of the podcasts episodes with Dan that I’d recommend everyone check out:
The Saastr conference is an annual conference in San Francisco visited by thousands of entrepreneurs. They have 250+ speakers on multiple topics related to marketing and entrepreneurship, giving advice that brought them massive success with their businesses. You can watch the individual speaker presentations on their Youtube channel (Saastr).
April Underwood, Slack: Building a Product Both CIOs and Devs Love
Leo Widrich of Buffer: Top 10 Learnings Going to 10 Million
PR Mavens Chime In: The Real Truth. How to Get It. What It Means
Mozcon is another annual conference in Seattle. This conference is more open for anyone looking to better their skills in marketing, SEO, CRO, brand development, and all things related. The speakers give their take on a how to approach digital marketing, giving actionable tactics you can take home with you and drive results.
Here’s one of my favorite PR talks from MozCon 2014:
Lexi Mills – Top 10 Successful PR Tactics and Strategies
If you’re familiar with SEO in anyway, you’ve likely come across something from Moz or Rand Fishkin. For years, he’s contributed to the SEO community with great videos on marketing and SEO. Here’s a couple great Whiteboard Friday’s from Rand & the Moz team worth seeing:
The 10 Types of Content That Work Best for SEO – Rand Fishkin
How Create an SEO strategy 2017
Refurbishing Content For Content Marketing – Brittney Muller
Another legend in the SEO world is Brian Dean. He’s the founder of Backlinko, a site dedicated to helping marketers and brands better understand marketing in today’s landscape. Here’s a couple videos that he’s put together that are sure to help you take your B2B marketing efforts to the next level:
The SEO ranking factor you MUST master in 2017 (and beyond)
This SEO Strategy = 175.59% More Traffic (NOT CLICKBAIT)
Salesforce is a cloud computing company based out of San Francisco. When it comes to their video content, they have two options. One is their Youtube channel, where they have have how to’s, webinars to help internal communications and productivity hacks, and demos of their services (which are great for inspiration).
This conference is more of a hands-on technical one with a focus on networking, but that doesn’t mean you have to go to benefit. Their speakers give you rundowns on mobile apps, customer service, and AI, and how to work with ever changing technology. You can watch all of these videos on their Youtube channel (Salesforce).
Compete and Win in a Customer Empowered World
Dreamtalk: The Content Trap – A Strategist’s Guide to Digital Change
Inbound is another, you guessed it, conference hosted in Boston.
What’s unique about INBOUND is that it isn’t exclusively a marketing conference. It’s a business and branding conference as well and is often packed with some familiar household faces. This year they have Michelle Obama, Andy Cohen, and Mario Batali. Kind of different from your standard marketing event, but these are all speakers who have developed a successful brand or persona that has influenced culture as a whole.
This conference is more educational and inspirational, but still has several actionable tactics that can help you grow as a B2B Marketer. Here’s a couple standout talks from the last few years that I’d point to as definitely being worth a look:
Tiffany Sauder: “Brand: The Last Remaining Currency in Marketing”
Salma Jafri: “How to Upcycle your Content for Maximum Mileage”
Tom Monaghan “13 Things to Stop, Start, or Keep Doing (Only Better) with Your Email”
Newsletters offer B2B Marketers two things: (1) they save you time from hunting for new content and (2) they offer valuable insights directly to your inbox. Over the years, I’ve been subscribed to a lot of newsletters and email lists but have unsubscribed from a lot as well. Over this time, I’ve found that the following newsletters to consistently deliver insights that almost any B2B marketer will find value in subscribing to.
Check them out if you’re looking to fill your inbox with interesting and insightful content:
Raise The Bar is filled with must-read content about growth, marketing and sales.
When it comes to B2B marketing insights, few companies deliver new research and insights as frequently as the folks at Econsultancy.
Tomasz is a VC at Redpoint who consistently delivers insights about the SaaS and B2B market.
While this newsletter is specific to the financial industry, it’s also filled with great insights that a B2B marketer would enjoy.
Every month, Brian delivers long form content that is sure to give you insights and knowledge that will help you drive more results.
Call me biased but I strive to always deliver B2B insights for free.
In case you’ve scanned this guide and thought it was simply to much to read, that’s understandable. There’s a lot here and there’s a lot more for you to learn.
That’s a part of the B2B game.
You’ll never know everything and it’s important that you come to that realization now rather than later. At a certain point, you’re going to have to realize that it’s impossible to keep up with everything and recognize that the best approach is to simply rely on a few key resources for your insights and stay committed to ongoing learning for years to come.
B2B marketing is always changing.
That’s a fact. The key is ensuring that you stay up on the changes as they happen.
If you want our help, we’d be more than happy to send you our latest thoughts and insights on all things B2B marketing related. Subscribe to my newsletter here and we’ll send you the latest trends and reports as we publish them.
Excel is your biggest competitor. You might think your competition is another SaaS company. You think your biggest competition is the startup that just raised a new round of funding. But in reality… The biggest competition is Excel. Spreadsheets make up every industry. Spreadsheets have multiple use-cases. Spreadsheets can be tailored to a specific industry… Read more »
Instagram is a powerhouse when it comes to social media marketing. But what makes the app so attractive for B2B marketers? The aesthetics and ease of use make Instagram one of the most engaging social platforms for consumers and companies alike, and that in turn makes it valuable for marketers. It is important to understand… Read more »