B2B isn’t sexy and B2B doesn’t get a lot of love from marketers. People spend hours and hours gushing over the latest superbowl ad and social media campaign from various body washes and automotive brands. It’s rare that we find people spending time analyzing successful b2b marketing initiatives and the reason is because a lot of it happens behind the scenes.
In B2B marketing, the sales cycle is longer and the process of getting a buyer from the discovery phase to the sale is extremely complex. It’s complex because it’s different from one industry to the next. It’s complex because it’s different from one company to the next. And finally, it’s complex because it’s different from one client to the next. It’s a complicated space where no templates can be implemented to predict success. You need to understand a combination of your own industry, your product, your customer’s needs and even an understanding on how technology plays a role in their buying behaviour.
I’m a big fan of B2B marketing and have spent the last couple years studying the process and implementing strategies that help companies sell. The idea of the sale and having an impact on the bottom line is what excites me the most about B2b marketing. In consumer marketing, we often talk in buzz words saying things like Brand Awareness and Brand Affinity - In B2B, there’s one goal and if you’re unable to impact that goal – sales – It’s easy to see through the good marketers and the bad.
We live in a world where B2B marketing is changing dramatically. Whether we look at companies like Hubspot, Salesforce or Oracle – We can quickly see how marketing automation is changing B2B forever. It’s impacting the way organizations generate inbound leads and ultimately changing the way marketers have to look at their opportunities and goals. Here are a few things to keep in mind when looking to develop your B2B Marketing Plan:
1. Understand The Pain: Too many marketers develop communications plans without thinking about the pain of their prospective customers. It’s the marketers job to not only identify the pain of the customer but also tell the story about the solution. One of the most effective ways to understand the pain is to put yourself in your prospects shoes. To do this, develop a persona for your prospects and think about what they want from you. Understand why they would start looking for this solution and how you can best connect with them.
2. Study Existing Clients: Have you considered talking to your current clients about why they signed up? Have you asked them why they’re still there? The answers to these questions might appear obvious at first glance but it’s these answers that you should be using as testimonials and case studies. It’s these stories that will give you credibility and help you fine tune your story.
3. What Do Prospects Want To Know?: We no longer live in a world where the Colonel can keep his family recipe with 52 herbs and spice a secret. The internet has blown the lid off all secrets and your industry is no safe haven. If your prospects are still in the dark when it comes to organizational secrets and tips, the light will be on soon. If you’re the first one to share this info, you’re going to be seen as a leader and an innovator. The same way Realtors can no longer keep their tools top-secret, industries across the world are being forced to be transparent and offer additional knowledge to their prospects.
I’ve written before about B2B content marketing growth hacks and how they can be used to help organizations drive success. In this post, I want to share with you an infographic from Introhive that should help you determine what tactics are right for you. In this infographic, you will see a clear indication of what tactics work well under what circumstances and be able to identify which will work best for you: