B2B marketers know how important it is to attract and convert new leads.
Without a consistent stream of buyers, their business will flop, but there’s a way to minimize the risk and create a marketing strategy that consistently succeeds.
The biggest problem B2B marketers face is getting targeted prospects to engage with them in the first place, and then finally managing to convert those leads into buyers. Usually, this is because they’re thinking about their marketing strategy like a B2C company would.
Hold Up – What’s the Difference?
If we go back to the absolute basics, B2B refers to businesses that sell products and services to other businesses, while B2C refers to businesses that sell to consumers.
A company that sells soft drinks is a B2C company, while a software brand that sells automation services to other businesses is a B2B brand.
When the term B2B originally emerged in the 90s, it was considered a pretty similar model to the B2C one except the end customer was slightly different. However, the fact that B2B businesses are selling to other businesses and not the general consumer makes a huge difference when it comes to marketing.
Think about it:
B2C companies simply have to encourage people to buy a $1 drink, while B2B customers often have to persuade budget-strained businesses to part with thousands of dollars a month for their service.
It’s not really the same, right? Which is why partnering with a B2B agency can make all the difference when it comes to marketing.
Technical Marketing and Expert Sales
Perhaps one of the most important things to note is that B2B buyers tend to be more knowledgeable (or more skeptical) than the consumer about what they’re buying.
Most people will be able to flog a refreshing soft drink to a thirsty customer on a hot day, but it takes a different kind of skill to sell an automation software service that has complex features.
For this reason, it’s important that you partner up with an agency that has a high level of expertise in all interactions with your audience. This doesn’t just mean they need to know their stuff when it comes to your product, but it also means that they ideally need to be aware of technical issues that might crop up during the lifecycle of the purchase.
This means that B2B marketing is often “technical” in nature, with a lot of emphasis on the value of a product and the tangible benefits.
Expect a Longer Sales Process
Like we said before, it’s pretty easy to get someone to buy a soft drink. Things like this that are aimed specifically at consumers who tend to be impulse buyers, and marketing departments rely on this when they’re running campaigns.
This means that the sales process tends to be as long as it takes to convince someone to make a low-level purchase (pretty quick, if you didn’t know).
B2B products and services tend to be a more considered purchase.
Not only are buyers often not buying for themselves (they’re buying for their company), but there is often more than one buyer in the process, and sometimes even a team that you need to convince.
This makes for a necessary multi-stage process that eases the objections of everyone involved – and sometimes that can be a lot of people.
B2B buyers go through a different thought process when buying than B2C buyers, and a designated B2B agency will be very aware of this.
They tend to spend a long time carrying out research to gather all their options and to present a case to the rest of the buying team or their boss. Often, this can take a long period of time that sometimes adds up to months or even years if it’s a particularly big purchase.
On top of that, they have to consider the repercussions of buying the wrong product. In fact, people have been fired for making the wrong business purchase, which makes the B2B marketing process even more intricate.
Your Buyer Pool is Much Smaller
Pretty much everyone can benefit from a cold drink on a hot day, but there are way less people that need a monthly automation service for their business. This means that your target pool of buyers is much smaller than a B2C business – something that a B2B marketing agency will be well aware of and prepared for.
A lot of the time, the buyers will have similar characteristics than the buyers of B2C product, simply because the latter will appeal to way more people.
As a result, it’s necessary to have a highly-focused and targeted marketing plan in place to attract the right people and engage with them in the right way (remember the graph at the beginning that stated this was the biggest challenge B2B businesses face).
It’s All About Relationship Building
Perhaps the biggest difference between B2C and B2B marketing is that B2B is less about quick, one-off transactions and more about building a relationship with potential customers.
This requires a long-term commitment to marketing strategies and means your marketing should essentially open up a conversation with your audience rather than simply asking them to “buy, buy, buy!”.
This is especially true because the purchase cycle is that much longer for B2B buyers. It’s important that you choose an agency who is aware of this and has experience in building and growing relationships with leads.
More personalized marketing methods have higher success rates and ROI with B2B marketers. Source.
Create a Successful B2B Marketing Plan
If you’re struggling to get the sales you want in your B2B business, the chances are you’re marketing it in the wrong way.
If you are a B2B company looking for an agency, invest in one that specifically specializes in B2B marketing to help you master your strategy and reach the right people. They can help you figure out who you want to reach, how to reach them, and how to start nurturing these leads through the lengthy buying process.