B2B marketing stands for business-to-business marketing. It differs from B2C (business-to-consumer) in the way that its target clients are businesses and organizations, not individuals. Companies that sell products and services such as SaaS and electronic products use B2B marketing strategies to generate leads and close potential deals.
In the past, B2B companies relied on traditional marketing methods to promote their business. They would spend a lot of money on print advertisements, television, direct mail, newspapers, and billboards. While these tactics worked in the past, they are now becoming obsolete in today’s digital age.
With the dynamic changes happening in the workforce and economy such as the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic, companies need to adapt to various marketing strategies to thrive and stay relevant. Trade shows and in-person networking events have become limited and it’s time for businesses to pivot online. Effective and powerful marketing is very challenging to achieve. It often requires a combination of different approaches, tactics, and decision-making. Marketers need to stay on top of emerging trends and be flexible in their content strategy, advertising budget, and creative demands.
Generations today are becoming more and more inclined to use technology in their everyday lives, be it for personal or for work purposes. This has affected the way consumers want to buy products and services. The buying and selling approach has shifted significantly in the past few years. Gone are the days when customers would visit a shop to get information about a product or service. B2B customers are now accustomed to the B2C trend where they can access business information and buy products right on their PCs and mobile devices.
Conducting B2B sales transactions using traditional marketing methods is time-consuming and labor-intensive. A customer can be in a constant phone call with a sales representative asking about product information or visit the supplier to ask for a quote and product demo. Nowadays, around 68% of B2B transactions happen online. B2B marketers and sales teams are now putting more effort into providing digital experiences to consumers.
The majority of B2B buyers today prefer to research and learn about a product online. Prospects want to educate themselves with the information provided and review a company’s reputation online. This is why B2B companies need to push their content marketing efforts and create effective sales pages and online resources that provide a detailed description and demonstration of their products. If you are not leveraging your website and social media, you will lose a lot of potential purchases.
Different buyers have different needs and expectations. To cater to their diverse preferences, companies are adopting digital technologies to improve their customer service. Offering personalized experiences to B2B buyers can help you close more deals and increase customer loyalty. Instead of sending a generic reply to customers’ inquiries, you can provide custom packages and solutions. You can support it by sending interactive demo videos or product guides. When designing personal experiences, you should also bear in mind that communication and response rates are very important.
Before we jump to the best B2B marketing tactics, let us first take a look at the most common mistakes that B2B companies make when marketing their business in the digital space so you won’t have to replicate them.
There are many businesses out there, selling the same product and service, and having the same business model. The competition is stiff and for certain businesses to stand out from the market, they need creative ways to make consumers recognize their brand name and choose them over their competitors.
Most B2B companies thought that doing competitor research was enough. They would analyze the current marketing strategies of their competitors, find the gaps, and compare their performance. While this may help in gathering market and customer insights, relying entirely on this tactic will lead to poor results. Instead of following your competitors’ activities, businesses need to appear genuine in their approach. Competing against your competitors’ strengths will lead to little results while focusing on what differentiates you from the competition can provide more positive results. Effective brand positioning involves knowing where you’re good at, understanding the pain points of your audience, and creating a unique and irresistible offer.
We get it. B2B companies need to make a sale. That is why they are constantly pushing their message on their website and social media. However, instead of attracting more leads, they are slowly losing their audience. The reason? Too much hard-selling. Companies that only focus on advertising their products without providing value create a bad impression among potential customers. People don’t want to get bombarded with many ads every hour, telling how great your business is.
Though promoting product and service features is important to educate the customers, companies should not forget that effective selling is also about emotions. It is not enough to post the specifications and descriptions of your offerings and ask people to purchase them. B2B companies should connect with their prospects on an emotional level. Story-telling, asking the right questions, and building relationships are the keys that unlock sales potential and growth.
It does not matter even if you have a good product or service if people are not taking action. A lot of B2B companies are great at presenting their offers and discussing the benefits of their product but do not know how to encourage the buyer to take the desired action. For example, you are a company that sells email marketing solutions for hotel businesses. You could have spent $$$$ of money on creating marketing videos, graphics, and landing page design. But even if you did those, there is no guarantee that people will click the “buy now” button unless they are moved by effective CTAs.
A good call-to-action is the key to higher conversion rates and sales. Using generic CTAs such as “click here” or “learn more” is not enough. In the B2B industry, the CTAs that perform well are those that provide value and guarantee to the user. Such examples include a free 14-day trial, an exclusive deal for a limited time, a product bundle, and a money-back guarantee. This gives buyers the confidence to trust your products and services as they’ll think that every penny they will spend will be worth it.
Imagine a potential client who visits your website and has trouble navigating your sales pages and accessing your business information. As a result, the user will immediately leave your site and jump to your competitors. A website with a poor layout and complicated menu creates a bad impression. This can affect your online reputation and credibility. How can a potential client do business with you if you can’t even build a responsive and functional website?
Since most B2B transactions happen online, having a well-built website can help you convert more leads into customers. Businesses that opted to use generic website templates generally have slower growth than those businesses that custom-built their website according to user experience, navigation, visual design, and content layout.
You have to be where your customers are. If your business does not have an active presence in the areas where your ideal prospects hang out, you are giving out sales to your competitors. Most B2B companies focus only on marketing through their website and LinkedIn. To be a successful marketer, you need to expand your reach as wide as possible. The more people you reach, the higher the number of leads you can generate.
Limiting your marketing and sales strategy to one or two channels won’t give your business sustainable returns, leading you to consistently chase clients instead of keeping them coming in. B2B companies should also push their marketing efforts on social media, emails, podcasts, virtual conferences, and other channels.
Creating content can be time-consuming but it is an aspect of business that should not be taken lightly. Customers get to know about your business because of the content. It is an integral part of any successful marketing campaign. B2B companies that do not have an editorial calendar and content strategy are not maximizing their growth potential.
B2B buyers do not buy products impulsively. Instead, they take time to read informational content and educate themselves about the benefits of the products they want to purchase. Not only can the content provide relevant information to your prospects, but it can also help increase your online visibility. Content drives traffic to your website and helps your business appear in search queries. Content communicates your message to your audience and allows you to drive them further down your sales funnel.
Companies that launch a marketing campaign not backed by data are just wasting time, money, and resources. They may have a CRM system in place but if the data is not organized and analyzed, there is no guarantee that the marketing effort will deliver positive results. Successful businesses track and measure data and use insights to have a better understanding of their target market and customers.
Running A/B tests and mapping out customer journeys enable companies to develop cost-effective marketing campaigns. B2B marketing is dynamic and does not follow a fixed strategy. As a B2B marketer, it is your job to view and interpret data consistently, to determine the success of your marketing performance. This will help you know what strategies are working and what areas of your advertising activities need adjustment and improvement.