In this era of digital marketing, the importance of B2B marketing cannot be underestimated. However, B2B companies are faced with many challenges and are not able to get the proper guidance and support to stand out from the competition. This is why companies like yours need to have a strong B2B marketing strategy. This guide will show you how to create one, and how to develop it.
Marketing is a complex task that requires a deep understanding of the industry you’re operating in and the strategy that will bring you the most success. The B2B industry is no different.
B2B marketers face a unique set of challenges when it comes to marketing their products and services, and as a result, they have the opportunity to be discovered by large, influential groups of people. But, how can you be sure you’re doing the best job possible at being discovered? What are the traits that differentiate your business from your competitors? What are the key factors that make you stand out from the rest?
I’ve never met a B2B business that believes they have a badly designed B2B marketing strategy in my 13 years in marketing.
However, 6200+ B2B marketers believe that generating traffic and leads, as well as demonstrating the ROI of marketing efforts, are their greatest difficulties.
In plain English, this means: “We just don’t know what to do next, and we’re not sure whether what we’re doing now is a smart plan.”
What Is a Business-to-Business Marketing Strategy?
A marketing strategy outlines how you want to increase brand recognition among prospective customers for your goods and services. It entails determining the routes and tools you’ll need to go from one to the other, as well as the resources you’ll need to get there.
In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to use a tried-and-true B2B marketing strategy framework to discover the most profitable market categories, your ideal customer profile, and the most effective lead generation methods.
What Are the Most Common Business-to-Business Marketing Channels?
Let’s start with a look at some of those marketing channels and tactics, and then go on to how to properly construct your plan.
1. Go to the website
To be effective in marketing, you must first get your website correct. More than half of all buyers will go to your website and form an opinion about your business based on what they see. As a result, your website must be quick, safe, and attractive to the eye. It must work well on mobile devices, since mobile devices currently account for more than half of all visitors (and even B2B companies still get a significant proportion of traffic that way). Finally, your website should serve as more than a business brochure. It should lead to the top of your marketing funnel, collecting user data and directing users to goods they may be interested in purchasing.
2. Content marketing for business-to-business
High-quality material is increasingly becoming a key means of demonstrating competence. On their own websites and elsewhere, businesses create white papers, original research, blogs, and a variety of other types of writing. Many of the other kinds of marketing listed on this list rely on it, and it’s becoming more important to execute it effectively as search engines improve their ability to recognize high-quality material that people want to read.
3. Email marketing for businesses to businesses
Email marketing seemed to be on its way out in the face of newer, sexier technology, but that hasn’t been the case so far. Instead, other marketing platforms are increasingly relying on email addresses to create regular newsletters and send alerts. For marketers, having a strong email list is as essential as it has ever been.
4. Optimization for search engines (SEO)
The significance of organic search is another item that isn’t going away. This will almost always be the route that brings the most people to your goods – but the quality of the traffic cannot always be assured. You’re losing a lot of revenue if you’re not placing yourself to take advantage of your potential clients’ searches.
5. Use of social media for marketing
More and more marketing is taking place on social media, and it’s a unique kind of traffic – people who are both more likely to be interacting with you for the first time and eager to do so. Social media is also a fantastic way to obtain third-party validation while also strengthening and extending the brand. LinkedIn is the social media platform that B2B marketers must utilize. Others may or may not satisfy your requirements, depending on your industry, but LinkedIn is a must-have.
6. Business-to-business (B2B) pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
It’s becoming more important to target your consumers with a combination of organic and sponsored traffic on both search and social media. The more information you have about your consumers, the simpler it will be to spot individuals who are on the verge of interacting and utilize particular words to push them over the line with suggestive advertising.
7. Make use of video marketing
Video content is exploding in popularity, and professional, targeted B2B video is becoming more important. In the same way that they have for written material, more and more of the other channels listed above have become outlets for video, and it is becoming an increasingly important element of the mix.
8. On-the-ground marketing
Prior to the pandemic, there was no reason to believe that speaking and taking positions at conferences had lost any of their effectiveness as a marketing tool. It’s unclear how people’s behavior will alter as a result of repeated lockdowns, but it’s probable that the events will maintain a lot of their potency.
What Is the Best Way to Write a B2B Marketing Strategy?
Let’s take a closer look at how to find out what you really want to accomplish now that we’ve looked at various methods for getting your marketing message through. This method is something I recommend.
- Segment your market and concentrate on a certain segment.
- For each market sector, create an ICP.
- Analyze your competitors.
- Create a unique selling proposition (USP) for each market you wish to enter.
- Take your customers on a buyer’s journey.
- Determine which channels and resources to use.
1. Segment your market and concentrate on a certain target group.
Consider this scenario: you’re growing a software company and you’ve chosen to invest in CRM. You’ve read a lot of material and have come to a decision between two options.
One of them is a customer relationship management system (CRM), which helps you arrange your sales.
Another option is to use a specialist CRM to keep track of your sales, recurring income, and churn rate. Which one are you going to pick? The solution is self-evident!
That’s when marketing segmentation comes in handy.
When we concentrate on a particular market segment, we can customize our offer based on the requirements and difficulties of the businesses in that area, not only by *NAME*, *ROLE*, and *INDUSTRY*.
This always leads to increased conversions, return on investment, and income.
Begin by answering these two basic questions to determine your segments:
- Who could be a prospective customer of my goods (your target market)?
- Why do people purchase my goods or services? What kind of issues or tasks do they wish to address?
Use the following criteria to evaluate these segments:
- the level of competition
- The market’s size and scope
- Value for money over time
- Segment expansion
- Your previous work experience
- Getting through gatekeepers is simple.
You’ll notice two things after completing this exercise:
- All market sectors are not created equal. Some sectors have a greater return on investment, but they demand more resources. Some, on the other hand, have less promise yet may readily produce money.
- Every market sector is distinct and has its own set of requirements. That is, for each market group you wish to prospect, you would develop a unique proposition and strategy.
2. For each market group you wish to target, create an ICP.
What’s the difference between a basic consumer profile and an ideal customer profile (ICP)?
This is an excellent question, because it highlights a frequent marketing blunder.
So many businesses, in my experience, just look at all of their customers from all categories and attempt to build an average persona from the data they have.
As a consequence, rather of tailoring their product, proposals, and lead generation marketing efforts to this, they attempt to come up with a general product pitch.
The most significant distinction between an ICP and a “basic” customer profile is that an ICP focuses on obtaining high-quality leads who are comparable to your core customers rather than prospecting everyone who may purchase your product.
There are three advantages to using this approach:
- You’ll be able to really customize all of your marketing materials, including sales pages, proposals, advertisements, and lead nurturing emails.
- Instead of guessing what works, you can find out the most successful lead generating methods.
- You’ll be able to choose the most appropriate marketing qualifying criteria for assessing the effectiveness of each marketing campaign.
Steps to take next:
Here’s how to make an ICP step by step:
- Select a market segment.
- Choose the top ten consumers from this group.
- Gather all of the information you can about them.
- Use social media to get more information about these consumers.
- Customers should be polled
- Create an ideal client profile using the information you’ve gathered.
Collecting data such as gender, age, location, employment position, and industry is the simplest part. You may just open a LinkedIn profile and scrape the information.
When conducting a customer survey, consider the following questions:
- What motivates you to purchase goods similar to ours?
- Can you describe your present difficulties?
- What issues does our product address for you?
- What will happen if these issues are not resolved?
- How did you find out about us?
- What features of our product do you find most appealing?
- Is everything satisfactory (quality, service, support, results, etc.) or is there anything that might be improved?
- What features do you want us to include in our product?
- Do you feel confident in recommending our firm to others?
- Which social networking platform do you like to use?
- What blogs, websites, or influencers in the business do you read?
- Who are your company’s most important stakeholders?
I also strongly advise gathering information such as:
- Websites from where your consumers are posting information on their social media accounts. This will give you an indication of where you may be able to submit a guest article or collaborate.
- Experts whose material they are interested in. This will help you figure out with whom you should start building connections.
- They contribute to the communities where they live. These communities may be used for co-marketing, contributing, and distributing material.
3. Conduct a competitor assessment.
Prior to executing any marketing strategy, it’s a good idea to focus on your foundation.
You may use a variety of marketing channels, tools, and growth hacks to help your business expand. We looked at a few of the more important ones above. The reality is that they all work on certain marketplaces at the same time and don’t work on others.
How do you decide which marketing channels to concentrate on?
- Take a poll of your most loyal consumers (what we covered in the previous step)
- Investigate your rivals.
Steps to take next:
To figure out where your rivals’ traffic originates from, I suggest utilizing tools like SimilarWeb, Ahrefs, and BuzzSumo.
Instead of diluting your efforts, this data will offer you a better sense of which channels you should actually concentrate on.
The second phase of the competition study focuses on knowing more about the sales process, strengths and limitations, USP (unique selling proposition), pricing strategy, and other factors.
The list of items you look at depends a lot on the industry, but there are a few things you should always look at.
Examine the TOFU and MOFU actions of your competitors:
- What sort of lead generation tools do they employ? Webinars? What are white papers? Demos?
- How did they obtain your contact information? Do they make use of pop-up windows?
- Do they make an effort to nurture you after they have your contact information? Is it possible for them to overcome your concerns and provide answers to your questions? Are they able to articulate the advantages of their strategy?
- Is it true that they utilize case studies? What about ROI calculators?
- Do they segment you and give you information that is relevant to you?
- Do they attempt to develop relationships and learn more about you from the start, or do they try to sell you right away?
- Do they use social media to retarget you?
Analyze their BOFU actions next:
You must do two things: speak with the sales staff and request a proposal.
Pay attention to the following questions during the sales call:
- Is the sales staff knowledgeable about the product? Are they able to respond to particular questions?
- Are they ready for the discussion? Do they make an effort to comprehend your problems or are they only concerned about the product’s advantages?
- Can they explain how they differ from their rivals and why you should purchase from them?
- What methods did they use to attempt to shut you down?
4. Create a unique selling proposition (USP) for each market you wish to target.
Many businesses mistakenly believe that positioning and unique selling proposition (USP) are the same thing.
This isn’t the case.
The customer’s perception of your business, brand, or product is referred to as positioning. Simply put, it’s what you do, how you vary from your rivals, and how you can assist a potential client.
Steps to take next:
Here’s a five-step method I utilize to come up with a unique selling proposition:
- Make contact with your most loyal clients. Inquire about their favorite aspects.
- Choose the top ten characteristics and rank them in order of significance.
- Compare and contrast your product/features with those of your top three rivals.
- Select the criterion by which you will outperform your rivals.
- Focus on some of these elements while creating your USP: impact, feature, need, target audience, and so on.
How do you come up with your unique selling proposition (USP)?
Result + significant feature + assurance
SMM agency example: We promise that during the first month, we’ll bring 1,000 new members to your community that match your Ideal Customer Profile, or we’ll refund your money.
A need plus an essential feature
Example of translation services: We’ll pick up your documents from your workplace the same day you place an order and bring them back to you for free once the translation is complete.
Result + target market + assurance
For instance, I assist B2B businesses in using system marketing, which guarantees increased pipeline, increased revenue, and increased client growth.
Feature that is unique
Ice cream made from natural olives without sugar or milk, as an example from an ice cream company.
5. Take your prospects on a trip through the buying process.
According to Hubspot, just 3% of your market is actively purchasing at any one moment. Sixty-six percent are not prepared, whereas forty percent are ready to begin.
Another fact: 63 percent of individuals who seek information about your business today will not make a purchase for at least three months – and 20% will take more than a year.
If you just concentrate on bottom-of-the-funnel (BoFu) activities, you’ll be missing out on 97 percent of your audience.
What do these figures imply?
Your market is at the awareness stage for 56% of the time.
You should understand the precise process of how the issue that your solution addresses arises and how your prospects become aware of it in order to capture their attention.
For example, prospects for a B2B marketing consultant firm would never search for “B2B marketing consultancy” at this point. They look for things like “how to create leads for…” and “how to enhance my campaigns.”
Answer these questions to assist your prospects in identifying the issue and beginning to explore various solutions.
40% are still pondering their options.
For example, prospects may look for “how inbound marketing works” or “how to create leads using inbound marketing” during the contemplation stage.
3% are in the process of making a choice.
You’d qualify and assist your prospects in selecting the best solution at this point.
Prospects may look for case studies regarding your solution as “Company X cases” at this point.
When a lead has been qualified, he must be nurtured so that he is aware of all the advantages he will get if he chooses your product.
Recognize that the sales funnel is only one aspect of the customer experience.
You must first attract (ToFu activities), qualify (MoFu activities), then nurture sales qualified prospects before working with them (BoFu activities).
In addition to the marketing funnel, the buyer journey includes:
- The sales funnel is in charge of nurturing leads and completing transactions.
- The post-sales funnel is in charge of training purchasers while also keeping track of client happiness.
- Referrals funnel – here is where referrals, suggestions, and case studies come from.
6. Determine your B2B marketing strategy’s objectives, channels, and resources.
After going through the research process, you now know what you have to sell and where you may get an advantage over your rivals.
So, what’s next?
Make a list of specific objectives that you wish to accomplish.
Because of the previous research, you know which market segments to target and what you need to say to them. You must now determine where you believe you can realistically get to based on your study of yourself and your competition. What do you believe is a realistic staging post, given that everyone else is aiming to increase their market share as well?
Set success goals for yourself. What are the phases you must achieve at each step of your marketing strategy in order to be successful?
Determine the resources you’ll need to make a commitment.
The resources you devote to your marketing strategy should be determined by how successful you believe you can be in practice. As you determine the ROI you intend to accomplish, there will likely be a lot of back and forth in the process. Obviously, you should prioritize the marketing activities with the greatest ROI until the expense of obtaining the next client becomes prohibitive.
In reality, current investment is more likely to drive these expenditures than anything else. Fast scaling up or scaling down is unlikely to result in success, simply because rapid change comes with substantial costs.
Determine your marketing channels.
We’ve now gone full circle and are back to the ideas we covered at the beginning of the article. It’s at this stage, after determining which media your ideal customer profile is active on and which tools would be most effective in reaching out to your ICP, that you choose the channels you’ll employ. You’ll almost certainly wish to utilize all of them to some degree. Different channels are useful for various purposes. A plan, on the other hand, entails deciding which tasks will be prioritized and which will be avoided. A wish list is a technique that does not need making decisions.
So one of the most important things is to figure out which channels you believe would be the most successful. And it’s not just about the channels you’ll use; it’s also about how you’ll utilize them.
Your overall plan, as well as each sub-element of your marketing strategy, should include the following:
- DRI (Department of Research and Innovation) (Directly Responsible Individual)
- Expected result
- Analysis and execution
Finally, it’s time to go out there and produce…
Get Your B2B Marketing Strategy Framework Started
What makes a marketing strategy successful?
When you include marketing focus zones into your strategy and assign tasks to each zone, you may be able to accomplish your objectives.
What does it mean to be in a “marketing focus zone”?
Here are a few instances.
- Lead generation: You’d arrange actions for various marketing segments based on the phases of the buyer’s journey.
- Activities that assist improve the transaction closure ratio are known as lead nurturing (e.g. case studies, educational videos).
- Trade marketing include activities that encourage current consumers to buy more.
- PR: Activities aimed at obtaining press and influencer attention.
- Analysis of current products is an example of a product (ABC, XYZ, etc.)
- Partnerships: Activities aimed towards strengthening partnerships.
Are you ready to take the next step and develop a revenue-generating Sales Plan based on your marketing strategy?
Max Altschuler, the creator of Sales Hacker, has created a sales strategy template.
Also available on Medium.
If you’re just getting started in the B2B marketing industry, and you have no idea how to begin a B2B marketing strategy, this blog post is for YOU. In it, you’ll learn the 8 B2B marketing strategies that will help you develop a framework for your B2B marketing strategy. You’ll also learn how to use each B2B marketing strategy to develop your B2B marketing strategy, including how your audience will be measured, what tools you’ll use to measure your audience engagement and how to measure the ROI of your efforts.. Read more about innovative b2b marketing strategies and let us know what you think.
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- b2b marketing
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