The business-to-business (B2B) buying process is not simple. A purchase can affect the health of a client’s business; it can involve large sums of money and, because of the complexity and scale involved, requires the participation of multiple decision-makers. Unlike regular consumers, B2B buyers also possess expert understanding of what they are buying.
While it is possible to apply business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing tactics in a B2B field, the B2B space also plays by rules that are decidedly different. For easier navigation, here is a basic rulebook for mastering marketing to other businesses.
Nurture Relationships for Business Growth
In B2B marketing, your customers are other businesses that pay large sums of money for products and solutions they may use over a number of years. Given that both parties are heavily invested in the transaction, B2B marketing requires you to put in a lot of effort in bringing the client on board.
One of the things B2B marketers can do is to identify the various internal stakeholders on the client side to develop a relationship with. Go beyond the top decision-makers and develop a connection with those who are likely to use your product or service every day, thus allowing you to learn in detail about your client’s requirements even before they reach you through formal channels. By being proactive, you will have satisfied customers who will be willing to stay loyal to you.
However, don’t forget that business buyers display behaviour similar to consumers.
According to research by Google, 42 per cent of buyers use a mobile device during the B2B purchasing process. Business buyers are also getting younger, completing more than half the buying process online and expecting top-notch digital experiences. Clearly, you need to be at the top of your digital game.
Ensure your website tells your brand story, engages visitors and is regularly updated. Track your online mentions, learn to leverage social media from other companies, develop a mobile app and ensure your online touchpoints are first-rate. Remember, the customer is only a click away.
Build Your Brand
A great product or service is no longer enough to ensure success; your company’s branding and communication needs to stand out and be clear and consistent.
According to research by McKinsey & Company, business buyers often pick suppliers based on perceived honesty and specialized expertise. So make sure your brand delivers on these fronts. Strong branding also helps internally as your people are clear about what they stand for, which will impress customers and help you gain a loyal client base to outstrip the competition.
Digital behavior leaves behind a huge footprint and, like their B2C counterparts, B2B marketers cannot afford to ignore what the data is saying. Even with the smaller volume of customers typical of B2B industries, the data generated across online touchpoints is complex and valuable.
From email campaigns to online marketplaces, customers will display various preferences as they engage with your business. As a B2B marketer, you should pay attention to collecting this data and analyzing it. This competency will give you prized insights into your customer, helping you to find your niche and build your reputation in the market.
From delivering the right message at the right time to engaging knowledgeable customers, B2B marketing today requires companies to address a gamut of issues.
By sticking with old-school approaches while at the same time leveraging new technologies and practices, B2B marketers can be at the top of their game.