Putting together marketing campaigns that reach their goals is becoming more difficult each year – as more businesses are becoming adept at using advanced lead nurturing strategies, standing out and grabbing the attention of your target audience requires a constant influx of fresh ideas.
In order to achieve consistent success, marketing agencies must be able to monitor and measure each part of the campaign and ensure that everything is working smoothly.
B2B audiences need to be educated about services, offered value, and given personal attention for them to become loyal customers and ambassadors of a brand. But that’s not an easy thing to accomplish.
But by following a few key steps, it’s still possible to differentiate yourself from the competition and avoid the most common mistakes in B2B lead generation that turn many campaigns into an endless pit that sucks up the marketing budget.
But before we dig deeper into B2B lead generation, we must first understand what makes it different.
The main thing that separates B2B and B2C marketing is the sophistication of the audience. Selling to consumers is difficult, especially in a crowded marketplace, but it’s usually much harder to sell to other businesses because they are much savvier and can detect cheap marketing tactics from a mile away.
For instance, businesses have entirely different goals and purchasing habits – it’s important to understand that for B2B marketing to be effective, the sales proposition needs to offer clear value instead of only seeking to evoke an emotional response.
Without knowing how to approach B2B marketing, it will be tough to achieve acceptable results. So, here are the main ways how B2B marketing is different and how you can use these differences to your advantage:
First off, businesses tend to have a much more logical process when making a purchase – since the decision is often made using effective team collaboration by multiple people, impulse purchases are infrequent.
So, if you want to get through to a business and get them to listen, you need to show them clear value – things like excellent customer service, a proven track record, specific results, and clear implementation steps can all be contributing factors when making the sale.
On the other hand, consumers are much more likely to make a buying decision on impulse and based on an emotional response.
Often, this process is much more subjective and based on personal preferences, relationships, and social factors. While crafting a message that generates such a response is by no means easy, it needs to target the underlying impulses instead of trying to offer the rational argument first.
So, while there’s a lot of things in common between B2B and B2C marketing such as the need for a great customer service and strong social proof, there are vital differences that mean that the two need to be approached differently.
Numerous factors need to be considered when putting together an effective B2B marketing strategy. B2B audiences are more sophisticated, so it’s important to understand how to put together campaigns that help to increase profits, shorten the sales cycle, and help you attain more loyal customers.
Here are a few factors that significantly influence the buying decisions in B2B marketplaces.
Business-to-business customers have a much more complex decision-making process – as mentioned before, it usually involves multiple people, and therefore impulse buys are very rare, especially on more significant purchases.
That’s why any B2B lead generation strategy should revolve around providing as much value as possible, showcasing expertise in the field, and building a relationship with the prospect.
The company should not only have a deep understanding of their products and services but also have insights on the common problems and issues that are faced by the target audience.
Finally, it’s important to be sensitive to budget restrictions that some companies have and offer flexible, tier-based options that would allow different companies to find a plan that works for them.
Although B2B audiences typically follow a more rational approach when making a buying decision, there are a few emotional triggers that still play a role.
But they work differently than when dealing with B2C customers.
For one thing, B2B buyers are cautious about making a purchase – since they usually hold personal responsibility for the company’s finances, making the wrong choice could have far-reaching repercussions for their company or their career.
That’s why certain emotional triggers, such as the trust factor and security when making a purchase, are essential.
So, brands that want to position themselves favorably in the eyes of B2B customers should spend a lot of time growing and protecting their reputation. If a company gets associated with poor experiences from other users, it can be challenging to re-establish trust.
What’s more, it’s essential that the core business values line up well with what the customers are looking for.
Finally, social proof such as case studies, testimonials, and reviews, must be present and made a prominent part of all B2B lead generation campaigns.
One positive when dealing with B2B clients is their loyalty – if you manage to provide a quality service and nurture a solid relationship with your customers, you can expect them to stick around for a very long time.
That’s why it’s essential to start building a relationship with prospective and new customers as soon as possible and offer a lot of value upfront. If the company decides that what you can offer benefits them, that can lead to a trust-based partnership that lasts for many years to come.
There’s no secret method that can help you quickly bring a flood of new B2B leads for your company. If you want your lead generation campaigns to be successful, you’ll need to craft a thorough and extensive lead generation strategy that utilizes methods that already work, tweaking them to work for you as well.
To get you started, here are three of the most common B2B lead generation strategies that you can build upon to fit your own unique goals.
If you want your B2B marketing campaigns to be successful, the first step is figuring out what others are doing because that can point you in the right direction.
And a good starting point is content marketing – in a survey by the Content Marketing Institute, 86% of B2B marketers said they use content marketing.
And there’s a good reason why.
Since trust and social proof are such vital factors for B2B prospects, high-quality content can serve as an incredibly useful tool for showcasing your knowledge and sharing your past successes.
If you can create content that’s not only engaging and informative, but also backed by data, facts, and specific case studies, you can quickly get through any barriers and trust issues that prospective customers may have.
Reports, white papers, and case studies all work great because they help potential clients see how companies similar to their own achieved the desired result using your product or service.
An important thing to consider when producing content for B2B audiences is that multiple people at the same company will likely consume it. That’s why you should make sure that all of your content is positioned to hit the main points for the decision-makers who will, in the end, determine if the company decides to work with you.
Having the right balance of technical features and the benefits that they can bring can work well to showcase your product from all sides and convert blog traffic into sales.
An effective email marketing strategy is a crucial aspect of any B2B lead generation campaign. Since developing a relationship with your audience is such an integral part of B2B marketing, email can be the perfect platform to engage your audience and guide them towards making a purchase.
In many regards, the focus of email marketing should be similar to that of content marketing. Both need to offer value through informative, engaging and relevant content.
But email provides the unique benefit of re-engaging the same prospect multiple times – while content marketing can be beneficial, it doesn’t have the potential to structure and drip-feed your content through a series of communications.
But that’s precisely what email marketing can offer.
You can engage the same prospects for weeks or even months, resolving their issues, answering questions, and educating them about the benefits of your product.
And when you do make an offer, you can have multiple opportunities for a call to action. If you regularly follow up on a proposal, you will significantly increase your chances of converting a prospect into a customer.
Finally, you can’t run a comprehensive B2B lead generation campaign without utilizing the power of search engine marketing.
Even though B2B customers tend to be much savvier and educated, they still use Google and other search engines to help them solve their problems. Therefore, if you can get in front of those queries and present yourself as the best solution, you can snatch up prospective customers before they have a chance to look at the competition.
Countless steps go into setting up a B2B search engine marketing campaign, but one of the first ones is finding the most important keywords for your company. Without knowing what your prospective customers search for, you won’t have any chance of getting in front of them.
You should try to find a balance between targeting keywords that are the most relevant to your company and those that are most likely to be searched by your ideal customers.
Make sure that you optimize your website to maximize your chances of ranking high for competitive keywords. This includes using a responsive WordPress theme, utilizing tags, having both inbound and outbound links, and producing quality content that gets read and shared by your target audience.
About the author:
Dave Schneider is the founder of LessChurn, churn reduction app. In 2012 he quit his job to travel the world, and has visited over 65 countries. In his spare time, he writes about SaaS and business at DaveSchneider.me.