How B2B Marketing has Transitioned with Time?
The approach towards marketing to B2B customers has undergone a revolution in this digital age. The main reason for this is the change in the behavior of B2B buyers. Cold calls, features/benefits positioning, etc. are a thing of the past in the digital era. The B2B buyers are behaving like any other consumer. They search the products or services they require online prior to engaging in the sales process. However, it is interesting to note that when it comes to closing the deal, the buyers do require personal interaction with the sales team. Hence, it is important to have a balanced B2B marketing approach which involves online marketing strategies coupled with a well-equipped sales team to cater to the needs of their buyers.
The Changing Face of the B2B Buyer
B2B marketing is when an organization sells its products/services to another. The traditional B2B marketing approach entailed, the sales personnel engaging with the buyers through cold calls, establishing personal relationships with the company, etc. However, now the buyers have information easily available to them and this has totally affected the traditional marketing approaches. The buyers are no longer influenced by the pushy sales teams. They are independent. They identify their needs, search for products/services online, compare the products online and make buying decisions. 90% of the B2B customers start their journey with an online search! (Source: Forrester)
Therefore, the place for B2B marketers to connect with their customers is the internet. Providing relevant information to their customers is the need of the hour!
Although the customers begin their journey with an online search, it may not necessarily end online. B2B customers may approach the sales team to answer any queries they may have about a particular product/service of interest. These calls are not restricted only to the purchase phase. In fact, buyers call businesses at each stage of their journey.
30% of buyers call during the inspiration stage (when the realized the need for the product or service)
52% call during the research phase to get a proper understanding of the product/service.
62% call during the purchase stage
40% post-purchase stage
And, the fact remains that callers convert 30% faster than web-leads (Source: Forrester)
Therefore, we can safely conclude that it is the web and mobile are the best ways to connect with your B2B customers!
B2B Marketing Strategy:
Step 1: Identify your Customer
Before you strategize your marketing, you need to identify your audience and create a customized marketing strategy for them.
Unlike B2C marketing, B2B marketing strategies need to focus on an entire team of executives who make purchase decisions. Therefore, marketing campaigns must focus on multiple audiences within the same enterprise.
If you look at the demographics of your customers, there has been in a drastic change in that. Millennials (those aged between 18-34) constitute the major chunk of those researching the net for data on B2B products and services.
Purchase decisions no longer just rest with the senior executives in an organization. On the contrary, in the current scenario non-C-suiters play an important role in decision making.
Therefore, you will need to create a marketing strategy that is aligned with the needs of the buyers.
Big Data and AI tools can help you identify your audience and strategize accordingly.
Step 2: Identify What Your Audience Wants
By conducting surveys, analyzing customer data, etc. you can identify what your customers’ needs are. You will need to prepare relevant content that is aligned with the needs of your customers.
Step 3: Identify How You can Connect with Your Audience
You will need to identify the channels that your prospects are active on and share content on those channels. These could be social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Most B2B customers are active on LinkedIn. However, you will need to identify the channels for your specific product/service. You can also include the option to call you directly when you share the content.
Step 4: Identify When You can Share the Content
The audience is not active at all times on various social media channels. You will need to identify the specific timings when your audience is active and share your content at that time so that it is effective. Fortunately, technology has provided us tools to identify these timings.
Step 5: Measure and Improve
Measure the outcome of your B2B marketing strategy with the help of various metrics and improve them.
B2B Marketing Techniques:
Keep updating blogs on your website. The blogs need not be restricted to just written content. You can share video blogs, case studies, infographics, etc. to connect with your audience.
Search Engine Optimization of a website is a must to rank it higher in SERPs. It is a known fact that the audience looks for information on the top ranking sites.
In recent years, social media has emerged as a major force to reckon with while planning any marketing strategy. B2B buyers use social media channels to research potential vendors for products/services of their interest. Social media channels enable an interactive platform. It is a common trend to include AI-powered chatbots on social media channels to resolve any queries the audience may have.
Although not as effective as other techniques, email marketing is leveraged by B2B marketers to market their products.
Sharing video content is emerging as one of the strongest channels to connect with the audience. Video content can be shared on social media channels to make an impact.
Creating content that is mobile-friendly is imperative since the audience looks for content on their smartphones.
Technology has transformed B2B buyers. Today they make well-informed decisions based on the data available on the internet. The onus is now on the B2B marketers to connect with their buyers online with the help of relevant information.
B2B marketing has now shifted from physical to cyber-space!