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When marketing to business customers, you need to apply very different tactics from those typically used in the consumer space. While there are of course numerous industry-specific marketing requirements, there are still plenty that apply to any B2B sector.
So without further ado, here are 6 strategic marketing tips for your B2B activities:
1. Lead nurturing is just as important as lead generation
Do you have a business development department in your organization? Most likely they are focused on lead generation alone. Likewise any marketer worth his or her salt will also do their best to locate and pre-qualify leads to pass along to the sales team. In a B2B context, however, this is not the end of line. Many corporate buyers are involved in long term evaluation of products and services. It is just as important (if not more so) to nurture warm leads than to find them in the first place. Enterprise-based buying cycles can last months or even years, so plan accordingly and have strategies in place to maintain that all important mindshare.
2. Don’t forget about in-person meetings
Face time is not just video chat on your iPhone; it is also an essential building block for creating rapport and trust with your prospects. While it is easy to follow people and companies on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, and even interact with contacts through these channels, meeting in person conveys a certain commitment and level of engagement that shows someone you are serious about wanting to do business with them. Trade shows and conferences are ideal locations to hold these in person meetings – it is often a primary component of why these events are held, and meeting space is typically set aside, able to be reserved on demand.
3. Do your research
Whenever possible, research your target contacts as thoroughly as possible. This may go without saying, but having an idea of what their pain points may be – before they share them with you – helps you seem knowledgeable, concerned and allows you come prepared offering concrete solutions. Go beyond just current company news too. New regulatory changes, policy updates and current events are all fair game to help you align your offerings with a prospect’s needs, whether real or perceived.
4. Back it up with data
Nobody loves big data more than the large companies generating massive quantities of it. Use this to your advantage in B2B negotiations. Whenever possible use comparative assessments, case studies, demographic data and survey samples to back up your statements and claims. When this s generated by independent third-parties or government organizations it is even better. Data is not just a pie-in-the-sky idea that engineers and analysts like to throw around, it can be empirical proof of the relevance and value-add of your product or service.
5. Quid pro quo – before a deal is done
This has been the basic premise behind all business dealings since the time of hunter-gatherer inter-tribal trading. Though it may be getting obscured by modern business models, the old Latin saying still holds true: you’ve got to give something to get something. In today’s marketplace, you need to provide something just to get a prospect’s attention, let alone a signed purchase order. This usually means free trials, sample products, education through content marketing, being available for questions and meetings and following up diligently. Honest discussions back and forth will get that contract signed quickly and painlessly, especially if you’ve contributed valuable information.
6. Branding still matters
Having a strong brand identity is just as important for B2B marketers as it is for those targeting the general public. A brand is much more than a name, sign, symbols or other design elements. It is what your prospects recognize as the key features and benefits of your product (or services) and helps them see that your offerings are the best solution to their problem. As importantly, it differentiates you from your competition so your customers think only of you and your company when they see your logo and read your tagline.
Now that you have all these B2B tips under your belt, do you know how you will be able to successfully communicate your messages to prospective clients? Download our free step-by-step strategic communications plan template to make sure you have all your bases covered.
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