Your B2B marketing strategy can make or break your business. So how do you create a good strategy that connects with customers and drives them to you?
The purpose of your B2B marketing strategy
Your prospective customers are trying to get a job done. Your products and services may be the perfect fit for them, but they don't know it. Even if you told them, they might not understand it or accept it.
So before they're ready to even look at your products, they need to understand that the way they're trying to do it today isn't working well enough, or that it is important enough to do it in a better way. Getting from the current mindset to the new mindset requires them to gain some new insights. Insights about challenges in their current situation, or about opportunities they weren't aware of.
Your job is to reach them and deliver these insights effectively.
Once they accept that it's worth their time to prioritize the issue you can help with, you need to convince them that your products or services are better than the alternatives.
Accomplishing this is what your B2B markeing strategy is all about. So how do you create it?
Below is our 8-step methodology that we've developed with our own customers:
How to create a B2B marketing strategy in 8 steps
- Jobs to be done and situations: List the "jobs" your prospective customers are trying to get done (see Clayton Christensen's "Jobs to be Done"). Figure out which situations they're in when they need these jobs done. This is when their buying journey starts.
- Insights: Compare your way of getting these jobs done vs. the alternatives (including nothing and self-cobbled alternative ways). Understand why your way is better, and for which customers. Finally, which insights does need to appreciate your way of getting this job done vs. the alternative ways?
- Personas: Segment your target group into personas, which job each persona is trying to get done, and which insights they need from you to understand that this job can be done in a better way than with the alternatives?
- Early stage search terms: Understand the symptoms each persona experiences before they're aware of the need to get these jobs done in a better way. From this, define probable search terms they're using commonly relating to these symptoms.
- Late stage search terms: Understand the search terms they'd use when they are aware of the importance of getting the jobs done - i.e. when they're searching for better solutions.
- Insight journeys: Map out your insight journeys, meaning the insight provoking content that will be interesting for potential buyers who are unaware, then make them aware, looking for solutions, and evaluationg your solutions?
- Content map: Map these insight journeys to each channel. Meaning, which specific content can you produce, and which channels will you publish it on to drive visitors through your journey? Channels include but are not limited to social media marketing, your blog, website, sales process and other external channels.
- Marketing funnels: Design your buying journeys and implement them in the form of specific marketing funnels that will get you visitors, leads and sales.
Case study: Example of a B2B marketing strategy
What better case study than ourselves? Here's the result of our own strategy:
1: Jobs to be done and situations
After doing market research and customer interviews, we discovered that our customers have three clear jobs to do: Sell more, engage better, and automate. All with the intention to grow. Within each of these main jobs, there are additional sub jobs.
To get these jobs done, our customers hire complicated all-in-one systems and then realize they need to buy hours from technical and strategic consultants (who are usually very expensive) to get the job done. The most important insight we want to deliver is that buying an all-in-one systems will not solve anything. It's like buying a large set of lego - someone still needs to put the thing together. Most customers only use a fraction of the functionality. We also want to deliver the insight that consultants often don't solve the problem - they push it forward in time. Because as soon as you're done paying for additional hours, you're stuck again because the expertise just left the house.
We have three key personas, one for each job above: 1) The entrepreneurial CEO who is trying to grow his or her business (sell more). 2) The empathetic marketer who wants to create a connection with his or her customers (engage better). 3) The process-driven system owner who wants to create an automated and scalable sales machine (automate).
4 and 5: Search terms
We created a large bunch of keywords, and are continuously refining, testing, discovering and improving.
6: Insight journeys
We have grouped our keywords based on the job people searching for them are likely trying to get done. For each group (each job), we have defined sub insights from the above insights that those potential customers need to gain to start their buying journey and select us before other ways of getting their job done.
7: Content map
Our target groups find us by searching on the above keywrods. Then, they land on our blog, where we try to answer the direct question they have, but also deliver insights that we think they don't have to do something other than what they had initially wanted.
8: Marketing funnels
We have created a plan that shows how often we should blog, how we should communicate with our target group, and which funnels we can use to capture all of the groups or specific groups. Some of our funnels are "Do you want to try getting marketed to?" and "Situation based buying journey". We also have a plan for specific situations our customers might be in and how to capture them in those particular situations. Finally, we have a plan for how we should spread all this content on various channels to get visitors to all this content and these funnels, depending on which situation they're in and which job they're trying to get done.
Ready to create your own B2B marketing strategy?
Whether you have one person handling marketing and sales, or an entire marketing department, you need a strategy for how to reach out to prospective buyers and help them get their jobs done.
To get started, you will need the following:
- The determination to do better marketing
- The time to do it
- The tools and expertise to get it done
Only you can manage the two former. But we can help you with tools and expertise.
Use the below form if you have any questions that you want to ask us about this article:
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