B2B, or business to business, marketing is a completely different animal than selling consumer products to individual customers. You’re likely dealing with either more expensive products, ongoing services, or much larger quantities. Any company or organization that does business with another organization needs an effective B2B marketing plan to succeed. Companies are fiercely vying for those enterprise contracts and bulk orders that are worth a great deal of money. What are you doing to get yourself and your products are seen by the right people?
Serving Your Customer
Marketers are interested in serving their customers in any successful B2C company, but B2B is vastly different. With B2B, purchase decisions aren’t made on a whim or for fun. They’re well thought out and methodical. Emotion, if involved at all, is a minor factor in any business to business dealings.
If you’re a B2B company, the way you market needs to speak to your customers’ sense of logic. You have the tall order of presenting what you sell as a solution to one or many of their challenges in the business they are involved in.
Understanding your enterprise customers’ purchasing motivations is the first step. Most companies buy products that will:
- Help them sell more of their products
- Will save them time or money
- Reduces their risks
- Increases their ROI
- Give them an edge over their competitors
There are other reasons, but these are the main ones. Companies made orders that will get them ahead and make them run more efficiently. You have to find a way to serve business customers in a fashion that meets these needs.
B2B Marketing for the Long-Term
Most business purchases take much longer than a normal retail or consumer transaction. Ross Kernez of Marble says that “depending on the size of the order or what product is sold, the process can take months or years”. That affects your marketing plan and how to engage with customers. Here are some things you can do to make sure you’re marketing for the long-term.
Focus on Brand Marketing – Building a brand that’s trusted with a reputation for quality will help you get ahead in a B2B world. Anytime a competitor comes in or there is doubt on the part of the purchaser, your brand’s image and the work you’ve put into creating a great brand will shine through. Good companies will choose superior brands because they know their customers will also appreciate the quality and cache that comes along with premium brands.
Incentivize Referrals – A lot of business transactions happen on informal networks around the world. Business owners and managers are typically very risk-averse, so they turn to their mentors or trusted competitors to ask for referrals. You, likewise, should be building a steady pipeline of B2B referrals for your pipeline. Referrals will close at a higher rate and you can lean on your existing customers to help shepherd new referrals through the sales cycle.
Identify Authority Figures – Companies are made up of people and a lot of moving parts. Even though someone’s name card may say “Department Head” or “Director”, that doesn’t mean they control the purse strings. You’ve got to make finding the person with authority a priority. Otherwise, you could just be wasting your time. Getting to the person who can stamp a sale with approval will help you close more deals. This type of B2B marketing can happen on LinkedIn and other professional networks or by going through a company’s leadership team information on a website.
Pick the Right Marketing Channels – You’re not going to promote your five-figure machinery and other equipment on Facebook. How can you present your products on the proper marketing channels to get the exposure you need? Many successful B2B marketing companies use LinkedIn, trade magazines, expos, and private events to market to relevant audiences.
B2B Marketing Is All About Eliminating Pain Points
Only the flushest companies you hear about in Silicon Valley and other tech companies around the world have the money to spend on designer furniture and five-star cuisine for their employees. That’s not the reality for most business owners, though. Even those companies spend that money for a reason. They want to make their offices so nice that employees spend more time there working.
However, most businesses buy things out of necessity and make purchases they think will help their bottom line. It’s your duty as a B2B marketing team to find your clients’ pain points and present your products and services in a way that solves their challenges. That takes marketing research. Thankfully, there are tools available that can give you insight into things like a company’s web traffic, who their main competitors are, where their next likely expansion areas are, and a list of other important business data. If you want to win deals and create quality sales leads, then do the work to first understand your target’s business and try to figure out what kind of challenges they are dealing with.
Using SEO in B2B Marketing
SEO is an important tool in B2B marketing. Companies looking to buy goods tend to do a lot of research online before they start to reach out to potential suppliers. A good SEO plan can help your organization rank highly and get noticed. You should be:
- Producing good content regularly
- Using high-quality photos
- Reviewing keywords often
- Building links into your site
Be patient with SEO, it takes time to rise in ranking and establish a good track record with your site. Once there though, you’ll take your place as a leader in your category.