Ultimate Guide to B2B Marketing
usiness to Business Marketing, or B2B Marketing as it is popularly known, is very different than marketing to individual consumers.
It is a clear contrast with B2C marketing, where the consumer or the buyer is often an individual and the purchase decision is faster.
What is B2B marketing?
B2B Marketing refers to all marketing efforts, tactics, and strategies directed at other businesses or organizations to create awareness of your business brand.
If your company sells products or services to other businesses or organizations and does not direct consumers, you must use B2B marketing strategies.
In B2B marketing, you will target the needs, interests, and challenges of individuals making purchases on behalf of their organization rather than for themselves. In this case, the organization is the customer and the individual is the point of contact.
As a B2B marketer, your target audience typically includes business executives, procurement officers, and others who make purchasing decisions for their businesses or organizations.
Like everything else in the business world, B2B marketing has gone digital. In fact, according to Accenture’s recent report, more than 67 percent of B2B transactions have already started to begin online.
Digital disruption has become a blessing for B2B marketing, but it’s not without challenges.
Businesses that have yet to shift online find it even more challenging than ever to do online B2B Marketing.
Even otherwise, effective online B2B marketing is challenging to get right for many businesses.
Businesses have a lot to juggle between budget limits, growth demands, and channel decisions when developing their online B2B marketing strategy.
In this ultimate guide, I’ll explain everything you need to know to take your B2B marketing to the next level.
Understanding B2B Marketing will help you to generate more leads, improve lead quality and bring in new business.
Before you learn online B2B marketing, it is pertinent to understand two essential aspects:
- Buyer Persona or Target Customer
- Buyer’s journey.
This is because, For a B2B marketing strategy to be successful, you must know and target the right audience. A solid B2B digital marketing strategy starts with defining your target audience or buyer persona.
Secondly, understanding the B2B buyer’s journey is one of the most critical elements in marketing strategy. If you understand what your buyers are doing in the buying journey, you will help them move from one stage of the B2B buyer’s journey to the next.
1. Identify Your Target Customer
The most significant determinant of effective online marketing is your target audience or buyer persona.
B2B marketing usually focuses on a small audience of groups composed of one or more decision-makers.
You need to define this target audience or group and create your buyer persona.
How to define the Target Audience or Buyer Persona?
To find the Target Audience, you need to develop a Customer Avatar.
Two important aspects for developing a Customer Avatar are Demographics and Psycho-graphics information.
Learn their Demo-graphics information like:
- Education level
Demographics is defined as statistical data about the characteristics of a person.
Learn their Psycho-graphics information like:
- Personality characteristics
- Social class
- Spending Habits
- Principles & beliefs
- Activities & Interests
- Likes & Dislikes
Often buyers are guided by their attitudes and subjective perceptions when making purchase decisions, and psycho-graphics covers such aspects of the buying process.
Demographics explain “who” your buyer is, while psychographics explains “why” they buy.
You can only effectively reach your target audience when you understand their demographics and psychographics. The combination of both sets of data starts to form your buyer persona.
With these details, narrow down the customers to one person.
Learn the art of communicating with that person better. It is now a one-on-one conversation with that person.
All your marketing activity will utilize this demographic and psychographic information after that, ensuring your content and digital material are absorbed by the right eyes and ears.
2. Understanding the Buyers Journey
A B2B buyer’s journey is buying a new product or service from a business. It is the “path” that the buyer takes before making a purchase decision. A B2B buyer’s journey is unique in that a B2B customer is often more than a single customer.
In B2B, you are selling to an entire team or group of people, all of whom might have input in the purchase decision. Hence, the decision-making process is longer and more tedious.
B2B customers usually identify pain points, investigate, and gain approval from upper management before purchasing.
This results in a longer buying cycle and as a B2B customer is not prone to buying on impulse.
The average B2B buying cycle is 6-12 months.
Marketers, therefore, have to adjust their B2B marketing strategy.
There are 3 Core Stages of B2B Buyer’s Journey.
Stage 1: Awareness
In this stage, you pull all your potential customers into the funnel by creating awareness about your company’s business brand, product, and solutions. In this stage, you meet potential customers researching products and services or looking for options that could solve their problems or meet their needs.
In the awareness stage of the B2B buyer’s journey, your potential customer acknowledges a problem or challenge they face that must be solved. However, they may not know of the existence of your company. Your marketing strategy is to create awareness for your product or service.
Your potential customer researches to find a solution to their problem. 72% of B2B buyers will turn to Google or LinkedIn at the research stage.
Businesses are more aware of their problems and are, therefore, more specific in their search.
Companies that know their buyers’ persona present their information at this B2B buyer’s journey stage.
Though B2B customers want to know your product’s or service’s value, they are more interested in facts and stats, customer reviews, etc.
Your presentation and content should concentrate on their pain point.
The B2B awareness stage is a good time to build customer trust in your brand and products.
To create awareness, your online marketing strategy should include anything that enables you to reach new prospects on relevant platforms.
Here you have two choices.
- Leverage paid promotions on LinkedIn & Google for quick results
- Grow organically on LinkedIn and Google.
I always recommend the organic option for better results, but you may also try paid promotion.
Why? Because PPC ads on Google will give you instant leads, the quality of leads may be low. On the other hand, an influential google ranking can help you not only drive traffic to your website but also build brand credibility.
Blogging on relevant topics your target audience spends time reading and staying updated is also a great idea to create awareness among an already established audience and prospective customers.
If your buyer is already a connection on LinkedIn, it will add a lot of weight, recall factor, and trust to your profile.
Stage 2: Consideration stage
This is the second stage of the B2B buyer’s journey, and it’s chiefly dedicated to considerations and comparisons between products and services. The B2B buyer’s journey moves from awareness to Consideration. This stage can be called the investigation stage.
During the consideration stage, the potential customer has narrowed their scope to one or two vendors. 70% of buyers return to your website at least 2-3 times during this research stage. The nature of the content presented on your website strongly affects whether the customer will pursue your company.
Here your B2B customers often require greater nurturing time.
“B2B marketers say they see at least a 30% increase in sales opportunities through lead nurturing.”
Your potential customer will compare your company and other competitors at a stage in their research. At this stage of the B2B buyer’s journey, they reach out to sales reps for further clarification, product demos, and personalized services.
Your customer conducts further research and eliminates vendors that need to meet their requirements. At this stage of the B2B buyer’s journey, you’ll need several conversations to “move” them to the next stage in the B2B buyer’s journey.
Stage 3: Decision Stage
In this final B2B buyer’s journey stage, the potential buyer decides to purchase the product or service.
At this stage, the lead has completed all research processes, gained upper management’s support and is ready to select a vendor and make a purchase.
Lead nurturing has finally translated to lead conversion.
As I mentioned, 67 % of the B2B buyer's journey is done digitally.
So how do you carry out your B2B Digital Marketing?
LinkedIn is one of the most powerful social media tools to carry out your B2B Marketing.