If you own a B2B business, you’re probably aware that marketing to other businesses is generally more complex than consumer marketing. B2B products and services are typically sold at larger volumes with longer sales cycles and involve multiple decision-makers. Unless you sell a one-off product or service, your overall goal should be to develop a long-term relationship with your brand. Here are some strategies to set you up for success.
1. Integrate Marketing Channels
The sales funnel is complex these days. Ninety-four percent of B2B buyers research online during the buying process, according to an Accenture study and more than 70% of consumers use three or more channels when researching a purchase.
Because of this, businesses need to create an integrated approach to marketing both on and off-line. For example, you could place a paid ad to promote an upcoming industry event. At that event, attendees could receive a free gift or other incentive for subscribing to your newsletter or following you on social media. Explore creative ways to introduce your target audience to additional channels. This helps solidify the customers link to your goods or services.
To successfully integrate, make sure your brand is represented consistently across every channel. That means logos, colors, language and layout need to be in line with each other.
Hinge Research Institute has shown a strong correlation between research and B2B business growth/profitability. In fact, B2B firms that conduct frequent research (at least quarterly) grow almost 12X faster and are almost twice as profitable as firms that do no research.
From researching your specific marketplace to brand research, detailed information helps you get to know your clients better and gives insight into how your marketing efforts are performing.
3. Increase Website Performance
You’ve probably come across clunky, difficult to maneuver websites. If you don’t absolutely have to use that site, you’ll likely exit and never return. Poorly optimized websites can have issues that include slow loading times, being formatted poorly for mobile, browser incompatibilities, and more.
You’ll want your website to rank well in search, highlight your goods and services and ultimately convert visitors into leads. This article can help determine where you stand and changes to make, if needed: 4 Metrics To Measure Your B2B Website Performance.
4. Carve Out a Niche
Research from B2B marketing firm Hinge shows that the fastest-growing firms tend to be specialists in a carefully targeted niche. It’s important that you establish yourself or your company as an expert and a leader in your space.
Elevate your profile by offering to speak at an industry event or contribute an article to a top trade magazine in your industry.
5. Set up a Referral Program
Referrals are a big source of B2B sales. When a customer comes to you via a direct referral, they’ll be more trusting and open to your pitch. Here are three tips suggested by FitSmallBusiness to help build and nurture a referral program:
- Take customers for coffee or lunch one month after they have made a purchase from you to check that they are happy with their purchase. Schedule follow-up reminders in your CRM to make this a habit.
- If they are happy with their purchase, ask your customer if they can introduce you to other potential customers like themselves.
- Ask them to call or email people that they can refer to help set-up your meeting. If this doesn’t work, ask if you can use their name when making contact yourself
6. Gather Feedback
There’s no better way to determine where you stand than to ask your current customers. B2C feedback is fairly easy because of the high-profile consumer sites out there like Yelp or Google Reviews. But because your B2B company might be complex, generating feedback can be challenging.
The best way to spark feedback? Simply ask.
This can be done easily by automatic email requests generated through CRM software. If a customer doesn’t respond to your review request initially, they might in the future as B2B relationships can be lengthy. Instead of emails or surveys, have your account manager or salesperson go directly to your customer.
You can get great feedback during this process if you have targeted questions. Be sure to ask for permission to use a positive quote on printed marketing materials or your website.
7. Increase Engagement Online and Offline
Increasing engagement is easier when you have integrated marketing channels. (see above) You can spark online engagement through an email campaign, company newsletter or posting and responding on social media channels.
Offline engagement can include a phone call or face-to-face meeting. If you attend industry trade shows, host a cocktail party for customers and prospects.
Need some inspiration? Check out these examples: Seven Examples of Outstanding B2B Marketing Campaigns.