The B2B industry is rapidly expanding and the move to B2B e-commerce is intensifying. B2B e-commerce will cross the $1 trillion line by 2020 and account for 12% of all global B2B sales.
Now is the time to see how your company can take advantage of this opportunity to go to the next level.
What is B2B marketing?
B2B marketing is business to business marketing. B2B marketing focuses on selling products and services to other companies.
It involves providing the products and services that businesses need to produce goods and services that they sell to other businesses or end consumers. Products can range from office supplies to raw steel.
B2B marketing is different than traditional marketing to end consumers since the needs and expectations of business can be quite different from ordinary consumers.
Price isn’t always the most important factor. Delivery time and quality can be much more important for businesses. Saving 10 cents per product is not that important when lead times might create production backlogs that cost much more than 10 cents per product produced. Recognizing the differences is important.
B2B marketing has changed dramatically in the last 10 to 20 years thanks to the rise of the internet and inbound marketing.
Inbound marketing is focused on getting potential leads to come to you rather than the other way around. It’s more effective and can lead to much higher conversion rates with less money spent on marketing.
Top Tips for B2B Marketing
Here are 4 top tips for B2B marketing. They’ll help you ensure your B2B marketing is on the right track.
Develop a Marketing Plan
If you don’t have a B2B marketing plan then you are not marketing effectively. You may have an idea of what your goals are, but you have no idea how to get there. A plan is a roadmap to your destination. It doesn’t have to be rigid and it can change based on feedback.
A marketing plan is a plan for your marketing and sales efforts for the coming year. It lists your ideas of what you will do when it comes to marketing and sales. It will show which activities the business will undertake to reach company’s goals in sales and marketing.
Recognize Your Sales Funnel
Sales funnels might be new to you, but whether you know what one is or not, you are undoubtedly using one.
A sales funnel is simply the process that you use to convert leads into customers. If you don’t have a well-designed sales funnel, then you might have a funnel that not only isn’t working for you but is turning away potential B2B clients.
A good sales funnel will bring in a wide selection of potential leads. These leads may be generated by social media or online blogs. Once they try to learn more about your products, they are in the funnel.
You can provide them with relevant content like white papers and case studies so that they can know the appropriateness of your products or services. Step by step, you will guide your leads through the process until they become a sale. After becoming a sale, you will guide them once again through the process to become a repeat buyer.
Utilize a CRM
Getting potential leads for your B2B business is relatively easy, converting those leads into sales is quite another task.
Customer Relationship Management software organizes this task. A CRM system keeps track of lead throughout the sales funnel process. It carries customers from their initial contact to repeat sales.
Sales staff enter leads into the CRM with all pertinent information about the customer. Additional information from social media and public databases can also be pulled into the CRM.
This creates a fuller client picture. Each customer contact is logged into the system and sales staff has ready access to the position of each client in the sales funnel. It's useful for evaluating what needs to be done to close a sale.
Developing quality content is paramount for your B2B business. It should be relevant to your business, but more than that, it needs to fill a stated purpose.
Does your content inform B2B customers about your product? Does it sell your product? Does it share your vision? Does it provide customer service?
Don’t make the content and hope it fits into a category when you are finished, come up with category and ideas and then have the content written.
Best B2B Marketing Practices
If you are already implementing the top tips for B2B marketing, then you are ready to implement a few best B2B marketing practices.
Test Marketing Effectiveness
Test your marketing effectiveness regularly. Ensure that the marketing plan is being followed. Is your content fulfilling its purpose? You’ll want to evaluate just what is happening and how effective you are doing this.
Surveys can be very effective to see anywhere that there may be lapses. Employing call tracking and lead form tracking is important to see what kind of content is actually generating your best leads.
You’ll also want to do A/B split testing to see which landing pages are most effective. You’ll test these on a regular basis to ensure that B2B clients are being reached in the most cost effective manner.
Listen to Your Customers
Your customers are everything and listening to your customers represents a key to B2B success. If you really want to know how well you are doing, ask your customers.
They won’t always volunteer the information you need, but running surveys can be very effective at getting ideas of what your customers want, what your customers are receiving, and where you could do better in providing for your customers.
You can tailor content and processes to help improve customer experiences. Just remember, B2B customers are more likely to understand the importance of surveys.
Use Social Media
Using social media effectively is a best B2B marketing practice. Customers want to be able to reach out to you on the platforms that they use regularly.
You’ll want to maintain a LinkedIn, Twitter, and, depending on the industry, Facebook page that is updated regularly with new content. It can provide an initial point of contact for new leads and for continued customer support. Social media ads can be particularly effective at generating new leads for your business.
There are many new opportunities in the digital age for B2B marketing. It’s a wide open field for the right kind of business. Your business can put these tips and best practices together and they can find success in the new changing landscape of B2B marketing in the e-commerce age.