Until recently, B2B marketing was overlooked in most companies. Salespeople were the face of the company. They played a big role in establishing relationships with the customers. But, this way of operation is steadily fading away.
Why is that?
B2B companies are now starting to operate more like their B2C counterparts. Marketing within such firms is becoming more common and essential due to several factors.
This article will discuss how marketing is becoming critical for your B2B company. And, you will learn some of the best strategies that you can use to maximize its success.
How marketing has become important for B2B companies
Increased online business
Due to the current business landscape, a lot of business activity has moved online. As a result, your business must do more marketing to reach customers. You might have to engage with them on social media and even build marketing funnels.
For instance, many countries' social distancing rules now make it hard for salespeople to visit clients as much as they used to physically. This means much of the value communication must now be through marketing, just like B2C.
The rapid shift to online operations has also increased the potential customer base for businesses. Companies can now attract and retain clients in different geographical locations.
Therefore, marketing has become more critical for B2B companies due to the need to reach customers without relying on salespeople.
The complexity of the products
Many B2B companies, especially those dealing in software, have relatively complicated offerings. This is why salespeople have always been essential for reaching customers and communicating with them.
However, even with everything going online, companies still need to explain their product to customers. In the B2B industry, the more complicated the product, the higher the perceived value.
So, marketing helps to strike a healthy balance between communicating this value and reaching customers online. It is thus more important for B2B companies than ever. For example, marketing tactics like live demos are growing more popular.
Personality dynamics of B2B businesses
More B2B companies must understand that their clients are just as human as in B2C settings. Previously, customer relationship tactics approached business clients as entities and not as people. But this is changing.
Now, companies are identifying the need to reach out to customers through marketing tactics, like their B2C counterparts. So, the role of marketing is becoming more important in B2B companies.
Increased pressure for B2B brand building
Branding is no longer exclusive to end consumer companies. B2B marketers are more inclined to engage in branding activity as well. Data indicates that consumers prefer to purchase from familiar and trustworthy brands. This trust is established by having a strong, relatable brand.
Brand building largely stems from consistent marketing activity. So, to build and maintain their brands, such companies now have to increase their marketing efforts.
Note: Marketing involves a lot more than sending promotional messages to customers. It includes getting to know customers on a deeper level, learning their interests and needs.
With this information, the company can then create offerings that suit specific customers. The salespeople are also empowered with more information to use when speaking to customers. These possibilities make the role of marketing ever more important for B2B companies.
A multichannel approach to customer relationship
It is becoming more important to engage potential clients through multiple channels because of high competition. That way, your company can stay top of mind of the customers.
As a result, the role of marketing in B2B companies is becoming more important.
The common ways you can do this include social media, blogs, email, websites, etc. All these need an integrated approach whereby the brand offering is stressed at every turn.
Salespeople are no longer sufficient to keep up with these customer touchpoints.
5 Best practices for marketing in B2B companies.
Even as marketing becomes more important for B2B businesses, there are a few best practices necessary for these efforts to succeed. Some of them include:
1) Use marketing automation
Marketing automation goes a long way in making your efforts more effective. With automation tools like Funnelbud, you can automate repetitive tasks, understand your customers' needs, etc. Then, you will be able to create targeted content and reach them faster.
Marketing automation also provides you the time and resources to focus on other complex aspects of your business. These could be product development and building customer relationships. With such software, you can greatly improve your leads and sales in a short time.
For example, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software will help you track and manage customer data and relationships. It can also gather helpful information to be used across different departments.
So, whereas many companies embrace B2B marketing, those that prioritize automation stand a better chance of winning.
2) Improve your online presence
A B2B company should have a stellar online presence to succeed at marketing. Most potential clients now search the internet first when looking for contractors. So, it is your first opportunity to make an impression.
Furthermore, potential clients must be able to find you easily when looking for service providers. This is why it is equally important to invest in your SEO to increase visibility.
67% of companies consider a firm's website as essential to their purchase decision. When your business's website is well done, it portrays professionalism and establishes trust with the customers. They then become more likely to reach out or even buy from you.
Similarly, your other online platforms, like social media, must be engaging and informative. More and more B2B customers also search social media for solutions.
So, if your pages can connect with the customers, they are more likely to trust you and reach out.
3) Do ample customer research
Just like B2C marketing, you need to do thorough customer research for your B2B marketing efforts to succeed. It helps to know your customers and understand their needs.
You can do customer research through surveys, interviews, etc. These help you to create buyer personas. Such research data also enables you to develop tailored strategies that will work.
Additionally, your salespeople will be able to use suitable approaches when selling to customers.
4) Provide valuable content
The most successful B2B marketing campaigns focus heavily on content. Relevant and valuable content is, thus, a critical tool in any B2B marketing arsenal. There are various content types at your disposal, like blogs, videos, etc.
Content helps to attract potential clients, thus increasing traffic and leads. It also helps to establish your brand as an authority in the field.
When people interact with your content, they might be more compelled to find out more about you. Consequently, they could buy into your offering.
Brands like HubSpot have been quite successful in using content for their B2B marketing. So, it is an effective strategy to try out.
5) Personalize your communications
B2B buyers prefer brands that value them as more than entities and numbers. It is common for B2B marketers to forget that there are real people behind their buyers.
Since humans are behind the purchases, you need to adopt a personalized approach in reaching them. Do thorough research on potential customers to find out the primary decision-makers. Then, you can tailor your marketing and sales approach to their needs.
For instance, what appeals to the project manager may not be the same criteria that the Finance department considers. So, B2B marketers need to know who they are talking to before sending out communications.
The role of marketing is becoming more important in B2B companies, and you cannot ignore it.
Marketers fill in a void left by salespeople. Previously, they were the main avenues through which companies would establish relationships. Yet, due to emerging trends, they are no longer sufficient, increasing the need for marketers to take a bigger role.
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However, you must maintain industry best practices in your B2B marketing efforts to reap the best results.Marketing automation solutions like SharpSpring could come in handy. They can help to improve the effectiveness of B2B marketing strategies.