Are you not able to use marketing methods correctly to your advantage? Your customer conversion rate has not improved in months? You want to become a leader in your industry? Imagine, you or your sales people have agendas full of meetings, your services and products are finally recognized by your customers and your turnover soars. These results are possible when an effective btob marketing strategy is applied. Find out in this article how to build your strategy and which methods to use.
Btob marketing, definition
B2B or B2C marketing corresponds to all the methods used to identify and influence the needs of companies. Indeed, unlike btoc (business to consumer) which aims at selling a product to a consumer, btob means business to business.
B2B marketing is the study of the needs, expectations and behaviors of a company in order to establish a relevant commercial strategy and find new customers.
How to develop an effective b2b marketing strategy?
1. Studying the market
The market study is essential to develop a formidable b2b marketing strategy. It is about analyzing the demand, the trends and the current solutions on the market, their prices, their services, the strengths and weaknesses of the companies… The objective is to know enough to understand and know the resources that have potential.
The purpose of a market analysis is to answer the following questions:
- How is the industry you are interested in doing? Is it booming or shrinking?
- What is its turnover?
- Who are the customers? What are their buying habits, their geographical area, their size (small or medium-sized company?), their budget?
- Who are your competitors? What products and services do they offer? What are their means of communication? Who are their suppliers?
- What is the future of the market? What are the new technologies to come and what are their impacts?
For a more detailed and thorough approach, feel free to dig deeper for each topic.
You can also use :
- The SWOT matrix (Strengths – Weaknesses – Opportunities – Threats) to carry out an external diagnosis of the market (opportunities, threats) and internal diagnosis of your company (strengths, weaknesses).
- The PESTEL analysis (Political, Economic, Sociological, Technological, Environmental and Legal) to identify all the external elements that have an influence on your business.
2. Identifying the persona
The persona is the portrait of your customer, also known as the buyer persona or ideal customer. Identifying him allows you to understand his expectations, his constraints, but also by which means of communication to reach him. Thus, determining your persona is essential to elaborate and orientate your btob marketing strategy.
To know how to seduce and provide solutions to your customers, it is necessary to establish with precision, the profile of your target. As for a real person, give him characteristics such as :
- A first name ;
- An age ;
- A profession ;
- Interests; Concerns; and
- Concerns ;
- Financial situation;
Of course, other elements can be added. A complete and precise targeting allows you to set up a relevant strategy. In concrete terms, you are able to answer the following questions:
- What are the problems and pains of your audience? What solutions can your company bring them?
- Where are they located? What are their industries?
- Where do they spend their time? How can you reach them (LinkedIn™, Google™…)?
However, this information is not random. To find it, consult your database (CRM tool) which contains the information of each prospect and btob customer. Want to know more about the persona? Read our article buyer persona!
Don’t forget that your persona can evolve and change over time! Therefore, it is important to rework it from time to time to make sure you are on target!
3. Analyzing customer buying behavior
Analyzing customer behavior means examining their actions in the buying process. This is composed of 3 phases:
- Needs discovery ;
- Evaluation of solutions;
- Decision making.
The interest of this process is to evaluate the effectiveness of each phase and rework them if necessary. As you can see, the goal is of course to improve your customer conversion rate. Thanks to the analysis of your prospects’ buying behavior, you can identify the weaknesses and strengths of your B2B marketing strategy.
a. The discovery of needs
In B2B marketing, this first step is the beginning of the conversion funnel. This is the precise moment when your target becomes aware of their problem and the need to invest in a solution to help them. They start looking for a solution to their problem.
b. Evaluation of solutions
The prospect compares the offers and strategies of the different btob providers. He consults their website, customer reviews, prices, services… They start to contact the different providers. It is precisely during this exploration phase that the prospect becomes qualified or not! If your competitors offer more interesting, less expensive or more qualitative solutions, they are likely to win the favor of btob purchasing decision makers.
Stand out from the crowd by offering expert content, a unique product and, above all, a relationship based on trust! In btob, you don’t try to sell at all costs, but rather to create a lasting collaboration based on mutual trust.
This is the final step in the customer journey. The visitor is convinced by your product and proceeds to purchase or makes an appointment online with you or a member of your team (a salesperson or a consultant).
4. Set achievable goals
Set goals and then apply the most effective marketing strategies to achieve them. The SMART method allows you to find goals:
- Measurable ;
Thanks to this method, the marketing and sales teams of companies are not demotivated by overly ambitious objectives that prove impossible to achieve. Thus, everyone can achieve his project in time, despite the constraints he may encounter.
Indeed, applying the SMART method means committing oneself with an adapted objective, anticipating possible obstacles and exploiting available resources.
How to apply the SMART method?
a. S for Specific
It is important to be as specific as possible about the objective by answering the following questions: Who are the collaborators who are in charge of it? What resources do they have to achieve it? What are the possible obstacles they may encounter? For example, a lack of personnel, unavailable equipment, a team member on leave…
- For social media, indicate which platforms, how often and what types of posts you want to publish.
- For the company website, develop your content ideas such as article titles, products to describe, messages to convey, etc.
b. M for Measurable
To know if you have reached, exceeded or not yet reached your goal, it must be measurable. For example, your goal cannot be “Make digital media more attractive”, because it is too vague. Instead, say “Add X amount of content (articles, publications, customer testimonials…) on the website and social networks, in order to increase their traffic by 20%”.
Discover the most effective btob marketing methods right after!
c. A for Achievable
This phase takes into account the material, financial, time, physical and intellectual resources of the person in charge of the mission. For example, ask yourself:
- Does it have the right tools?
- Does the person have the time to complete the project?
- Is the person trained and competent enough for the task?
- Is the budget sufficient to achieve this goal?
d. R for Realistic
This step actually sounds more like “Relevant” than “Realistic”. This is the time to ask yourself about the meaning and profitability of the objective. Is it motivating, beneficial for your business? Is it the right time to implement it?
e. T for Temporary
It is simply a matter of setting a deadline before which the objective must be fully achieved. Indeed, gaining 5 leads in 1 week is good, while getting the same number in 2 months means that your B2B marketing strategy is less efficient.
5. Implement btob marketing strategies
This is the time to choose and implement the most effective btob marketing strategies based on :
- Your market research ;
- Your buyer persona;
- Your prospects’ buying behavior;
- Your objectives.
Combining several communication channels is recommended to reach your prospects more effectively. This is known as a multi-channel strategy. For example, your prospect can read your blog posts, receive your newsletters by email and contact you on LinkedIn™.
6. Measure with KPIs (key performance indicators)
Don’t forget to measure your marketing actions. To do so, set up tracking indicators (number of visitors on your media, number of lead appointments, conversion rate…). By monitoring your KPIs on a weekly or monthly basis, you can adjust your efforts or stop fruitless activities (and limit unnecessary costs).
For each marketing action, calculate the ROI (return on investment). Usually expressed as a percentage, it is calculated by dividing the benefits by the investment.
Let’s look at the different marketing methods that can be used in BtoB.
The infallible methods in btob marketing
Classic marketing methods that have proven successful in btob
Emailing or sending emails to present your brand’s news, special offers or educational content is a widely used method in btob marketing. Email marketing allows you to inform, nurture and retain the people in your database (prospects or customers).
Content creation (content marketing)
Content marketing is the basis of an inbound marketing strategy (bringing the customer to you). It is about creating and distributing different contents on various platforms: website, social networks… Thus, you can offer your audience blog articles, photos, infographics, posts, audios (podcast), videos, ebooks, webinars.
The benefits are many:
- Show your expertise;
- Prove your credibility;
- Have a positive impact on your reputation and image;
- Improve your online visibility;
- Retain your existing customers;
- Attract new customers.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is working on your digital media to appear in the top natural results of a search engine. This allows your prospects to find you faster on the internet by positioning your Urls at the top of Google™ results lists.
Beware, SEO is often called “free”, but it is not. In fact, it is without recourse to advertising (paid). In order to have good results in SEO, you must invest in 3 pillars:
- The creation of content such as blog articles;
- The technical optimization of your website (loading speed, adaptability to smartphones…);
- The implementation of a backlinks strategy (internal links, inbound and outbound links).
Paid search (SEA) allows you to appear in the top search results on Google™ on strategic keywords for your business. Google™ advertising is still a very good way to get yourself known quickly to your leads.
In addition to (or instead of) a website, developing a social media presence strategy can be very efficient to find new customers and to maintain customer relationships! Indeed, if your target customers use social networks, it is in your interest to be present there to show your expertise through rich content (videos, posts, infographics…). In addition, you can interact directly with them in comments or dedicated messengers (Facebook™ Messenger, LinkedIn™ messenger…)
Le marketing automation
To gain time and efficiency, invest in a marketing automation software! They allow you to perform many time-consuming tasks for you, while mimicking human actions.
Phoning is a marketing tool still widely used in the B2B sector. With a carefully written script and software that provides information about your caller, you convert prospects into customers!
Being present at trade fairs and btob shows allows you to meet and establish a first contact with potential leads and prospects. It is the ideal opportunity to present your services and invite them to meet you again.
Integrating LinkedIn™ is essential in B2B
With over 800 million members, LinkedIn™ is a must-have network in B2B. The professional network fits perfectly into btob business practices to promote your content and connect directly with people. Thus, its use allows you to combine both:
- an inbound marketing strategy that consists of attracting leads through content that makes you visible and attractive. To do this, rely on the publication of posts, articles or LinkedIn™ newsletters with high added value for your audience.
- An outbound marketing strategy that consists in getting in touch with people you have precisely targeted (direct prospecting).
You don’t know what to publish? How to do it? Are you afraid to connect with leaders? Do you want a perfect LinkedIn™ profile? Would you like to be accompanied by an expert to find clients with LinkedIn™? Make an appointment directly in the calendar below with a Proinfluent consulting manager for a complimentary 30-minute strategy session (no obligation).
Btob marketing to conclude
- Conduct a thorough market study. Analyze the market volume, the demand, the competition and the future of the sector.
- Identify your persona, your target to be reached, in order to adapt your sales pitch to seduce it and know where to find it (on which digital media?).
- Analyzing your customers’ buying behavior allows you to identify inefficient steps in the customer journey.
- Defining achievable objectives using the SMART method is essential in order to entrust each person with an appropriate mission, taking into account the financial, material, time and intellectual resources available.
- Invest in a method adapted to your market: emailing, SEO, Google advertising, phoning.
Marketing btob to summarize in 4 questions
What is a B2B customer?
The term b2b means business to business. The b2b customers are therefore professionals, regardless of the size of their company. It is necessary to differentiate btob with btoc which means from a company to consumers.
What are the specificities of B to B marketing?
In btob marketing, companies seek to provide real solutions to their customers to enable them to achieve their goals. Unlike the B2B market, the goal is not to sell a product immediately, but rather to collaborate with B2B decision-makers in confidence and over the long term. Closing a sale in btob is therefore a process that requires time and patience.
How to communicate in B to B?
Several means of communication are used in btob:
- Trade shows and exhibitions;
- Communication on social networks;
- Setting up a website;
- A blog with relevant articles;
What are marketing techniques?
B2B marketing includes many methods belonging to outbound and inbound marketing. For example:
- Paid search (SEA);
- Email marketing;
- Content marketing strategy;
- Social networks;
- Natural referencing (SEO);
- Participating in professional events (fairs, exhibitions, webinars);
- Digital or physical advertising (flyers, posters…).