Business to business marketing and sales involves selling products on a substantial scale, ranging from raw materials to large scale manufactured goods to services. B2B marketing has been similar in its principles but different in its customer approach strategy to B2C marketing. Traditionally, this industry depended on the persuasiveness of the sales representative to ensure sales. Emotions, popularity, attractiveness did not drive B2B customers who concentrated on the quality and costs of the products. Digitalization has increased the intricateness of the market and urged the industry to change its approach.
The complexity of the current market, higher order value, and longer sales cycle demand a multichannel approach similar to the one followed by the B2C marketing.
Existing companies or startups should follow the following 15 pro tips to optimize B2B marketing and sales strategies:
1. Conflating marketing and sales domains
These domains have functioned unharmoniously together for years, which frustrated the employees but didn’t primarily affect the profits. This disharmony is unsustainable for business in the twenty-first century.
Traditionally, the marketer was the exclusive promoter, and, the salesperson was the exclusive expert. Integration of these departments is essential here to provide the content that customers desire.
2. Increasing the marketing department’s responsibilities
Product promotion was their sole responsibility, but with buyers undertaking extensive research on their own, most of the prospective customers can finalize 80% of the purchase cycle without any contact with the salesperson. Extending their reach via an active presence on the Internet falls on the shoulders of the marketers who need to ensure extensive exploitation of these new tools.
The Internet has improved connection with the customers, and their real-time sentiment can be understood. Accordingly, data can be designed and distributed. This sector’s planning should be focused, but its products should’ve broad applications.
3. Letting go of traditional behavior
Most industries falsely perceive themselves as being with the time and industry’s maturity but this a discrepant conclusion.
They still use their peers as a yardstick and remain oblivious to the digital leaders in related fields.
They disregard the immortality of digitalization and firmly hold onto legacy conduct. If this firm stance is maintained, it will be unfavorable to business growth.
4. Establishing an Online Presence
Moving away from physical sales, the consumer is looking towards a business whose information is readily available. “Businesses’ are more likely to buy from companies they can track through social media.”-Concluded a survey that was organized by Chadwick Martin Bailey and iModerate. Engaging social media for the launch of a router by Cisco Systems, Inc, shaved off $100,000 of average launch expenses.
road not taken earlier might be the only way to ensure growth in this day and age. Without actively maintaining blogs and social media pages, this endeavor wouldn’t be successful. This content should be search engine optimized to gain the maximum benefits of the online platform.
The current workforce comprises of millennials who tackle sales after thorough research and would ignore your products if they cannot find sufficient information to make an informed decision.
3. Have reliable content
Gaining traffic through shoddy marketing will produce dissatisfied customers and damage the company’s reputation. Click-baiting might seemingly increase traffic, but empty promises hurt the business.
Come through on your word and promise improvement if you’re unable to deliver a quality product. Customer satisfaction is essential and can make or break a business in the B2B industry. Expansive research will be needed, but the contentment and customer’s faith will make you stand out from your competition.
Research shows that people are likely to engage in business with you if you show industrial papers and surveys on your website. Relevant and influential information if provided timely, can keep clients engaged. Consumers trust peer reviews, and favorable ones can significantly improve sales.
4. Undertaking brand advocacy and providing perks
B2B industry requires loyal customers more than new customers. Recognizing and utilizing the potential of involving satisfied customers to advocate their product in exchange for rewards can contribute to increased referrals and revenue. Blackbaud awarded its customers through the advocate marketing program and generated a year worth of references in three months.
Upselling (allowing an old customer to upgrade their service or product) and cross-selling (providing complementary products to new consumers) improve the buyer’s experience and they are more likely to return and refer you to their acquaintances.
5. Personalizing content
Personalization was exclusive to the B2C industry, but with customers expecting similar purchasing experience, it necessitated comparable service in the B2B sector.
Taking content and data from consumers and making pertinent information accessible to your audience is essential for expanding your business. Customer needs should be attended to; otherwise, you risk alienating your potential clients. Understanding the client’s intentions and engaging in personalized conversation to identify the information needed, can help develop a good rapport with the customers. This deluge of data can be managed and analyzed through automation.
6. Targeting below the C-suite level
Conventionally, marketing strategies were developed, keeping the C- suite or senior level executives in mind as they had significant influence over finalizing a sale. This trend has changed, and while c-suite have the final authority over these decisions, lower level employees have gained importance while making purchase decisions.
7. Integrating all social media platforms
LinkedIn is the leading platform for networking with clients. According to a survey, “80% of B2B leads, and 92% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn.” Expanding to other platforms will help in contacting prospective clients and eventually increase revenue. Integration can increase the reach of your company. Linking social media pages to your blogs and vice versa will help you establish yourself in the industry.
These platforms provide tools that can help you track the popularity of your pages and can be exploited to your advantage. Font, it’s color, along with keywords, can popularize a page. Noting and tweaking according to these changes can help in optimal usage of these platforms.
8. Engaging Influencers
Influencers, aptly named, are gaining traction and their loyal followers can become prospective customers if you want to capitalize on this area. Additional research and resources would be needed to exploit this line.
Influencers with a lot of followers might not be a suitable collaborator for your business, and engagement of followers with their page is an essential criterion while selecting. Another thing to ensure is not to collaborate with people/pages who are just looking for a quick paycheck. You need to ensure that they have some relation with your industry and are enthusiastic about your product as prospective clients can identify disingenuousness.
9. Customer service
As companies include consensus-based decisions and comprehensive research before finalizing a purchase, the vendor needs to ensure excellent pre and post service.
Customer returns can be ensured by having an excellent post-service conversation. The current workforce desires 24/7 service and wants a seamless buying experience, so your business should aim to fulfill these wishes.
While the current generation dislikes talking on the phone, a provision for reaching out should be available. Satisfied customers may subscribe to your newsletter, but overwhelming them with irrelevant content can be risky. People avoid sales representatives as they push an agenda rather than solving the problems they face. Therefore, customer service professionals should have proper training and knowledge about the products.
Feedbacks should be your friend, and you should actively seek it. This increases customer satisfaction, and they are more likely to recommend your company.
10. Avoiding customer pet peeves
Convention cold calling is the most critical source of vexation for the current buyers. Millennials want to make decisions of their own volition and thus, take up extensive research before finalizing buying a product.
According to a survey by Google, 91% of B2B researchers use mobile phones throughout the path to purchase. These statistics should be kept in mind as they can make or break your business. Buyers will move onto the next company if your product is not presentable or easily navigable.
Your business can gain faithful buyers if you keep them engaged and satisfied. Best E-commerce sites have simple navigation, straightforward language, and detailed description to allow the formation of an informed decision.
11. Keeping up with the trends
Google Alerts is an essential tool for B2B marketers as it can ensure they keep up with the trends. As soon as new developments occur, they’re only relevant for a short period, and resources should be allocated to make the best of this opportunity.
Sites like Quora are great for engaging with potential customers. You can answer burning queries and check with the market’s current demand.
Reddit is another useful tool and is a hot spot for new ideas. It provides a simple platform for engagement and distribution of ideas.
12. Creativity is key
Fierce competition can break your business, and finding an unexplored area can make it successful. Though, if a niche is not established, you can root yourself in the industry by standing out.
Employing creativity to solve existing problems can help your businesses’ popularity. Your product’s description should be brief but detailed, like an elevator pitch. Creative skills can be applied to make a boring read more enjoyable.
13. Embedding in the industry
Advertising in traditional media like print and radio is not essential. But repetitive branding on digital media is vital to reach your potential clients. An active and interactive social media presence attracts these clients. Regularly updated blogs and email newsletters are also sources of increased customers. Booths at tradeshows and webinars are extensively used for marketing and sales purposes in the B2B industry. It’s also essential that you make your products seem staple.
14. Don’t be shortsighted
Shortsightedness is a hindrance in sales and hampers the growth of your business. Selling, solely, shouldn’t be the goal as you can employ more resources in making a one-time sale than maintaining a loyal customer. And in the long run, the profits would decrease.
While keeping the bigger picture in mind, small and attainable goals should be established as they help boost morale.
B2B platforms facilitate business trading. They function similarly to the platforms in the B2C sectors. These are updated regularly for seamless functioning and are widely used. High speeds, security, reduction in physical visits, and effective negotiations are offered. Top B2B platforms are:
a) Global sources: It has been a part of the industry for 48 years. Online marketplaces, trade shows, magazines, and apps are the facilities provided to facilitate trade between Asia and the world. They have more than 1.5 million buyers using their service
b) eWorldTrade: They have over 10 years of experience in the B2B industry and provides its services to over 500,000 registered users. This company has gained a notable reputation in a very short time due to its unique approach for collaboration between buyers and sellers.
c) Alibaba: This platform is trendy and is located in Hangzhou. It offers retail, consumer sales portal, along with B2B. In 2012, it earned a whopping $170,000 million in sales, which was more than the combined sales of Amazon and eBay.
d) DHgate: It facilitates trade between the world and Chinese wholesalers and is a global vendor. It has increased surveillance to prevent frauds after being accused of fraud in the past.
e) ECVV: Created in 2003, it assists traders worldwide. It is based in China and has dominated sales in the industry. It provides quality products and is sufficiently reliable.
In the 21st century, it is pertinent to move with the technology and the trends or risk being left behind. B2B companies need to gear up and make the changes required to ensure a stable future in the industry.