Business-to-business or B2B marketing involves the marketing of products and services to be sold to another business, rather than to general consumers. Some examples of B2B businesses include marketing agencies, business accountants, and property managers.
B2B marketing helps businesses succeed by boosting their opportunities for sales growth. The advantages include familiarizing your target business customers with your brand name, as well as adding value with the ultimate aim of attracting valuable leads who convert into repeat customers.
B2B sales processes are much longer than B2C
Unlike businesses that sell directly to consumers (B2C), B2B sales cycles can take much longer. Some reasons for the lengthy process include higher costs and more decision-makers involved in the sale approval. Variations due to different industry preferences and dynamics can also prolong B2B sales processes. In contrast, B2C sales often capitalize on sudden spikes of sales volume that mostly generate short-term customer interest, thanks to new ads, promotions, or special offers.
A report from CSO insights found that it takes around 4 months to close three-quarters of a B2B sale, and at least 7 months to complete purchases. Typically, the 4-month period entails these stages: preparation, prospecting, needs assessment, presentation or sales pitch, and negotiation. Don’t falter though. You can shorten the B2B sales cycle using these techniques:
Great customer experience
Your business should always strive to engage customers prudently and closely. Study industry and client data insights so you can recognize and solve customers’ problems. By consistently delivering as much value as possible, you’ll increase the odds of closing a sale. Your reputation is an invaluable asset. Investing in the right customer relationship management (CRM) software can help to effectively manage your customer relationships over time.
A typical B2B sales cycle involves numerous activities that can be downright overwhelming if you are managing multiple clients at once. Integrating marketing automation tools can make things much easier. Not only will these tools speed up the lead connection, but they’ll also enable you to easily manage your prospects.
Compelling sales presentations
During interactive sessions with your customers, identify their pain points and show them how your products or services will address the issues. It’s easier to close a deal faster if your potential customer is clear on how your solution best fits their problem.
The importance of brand awareness in the B2B sales cycle
Brand awareness is a stepping stone for building trust among your target customers. B2B marketing relies heavily on brand awareness because there are so many solutions out there competing with yours. Brand awareness leads to:
- Name recognition when you present your solution
- Increased opportunities for word-of-mouth referrals
- More affinity among prospects as a “recognized” brand
Let’s look at some useful tactics for conducting your B2B brand awareness strategy:
Influencer marketing accelerates your B2B marketing strategy by boosting brand credibility and authenticity. Influencers can advance content promotion and impact in big ways. More on this in a bit.
Search engine optimization
SEO-optimized web pages and content improve your positioning to rank higher in search engines. When your copy leads to increased visibility, more prospects will engage with your business website. Becoming a valued resource for information on your customers’ challenges is a low-cost way to build brand awareness.
Social media marketing
Social media platforms enable brands to easily identify, engage and maintain customer relationships. As you share your brand content, you increase the chances of being discovered by your targeted leads.
When you execute your brand awareness strategy, you’re helping customers develop a positive perception and attachment to your brand. You differentiate your brand from competitors, increase customer loyalty, and ultimately boost sales.
Influencer marketing for B2Bs
You might think influencer marketing is only for consumer brands, but B2Bs can benefit as well. Before selecting influencers as B2B marketers, it’s important to do your homework. Be sure to approach high-quality influencers with remarkable expertise, relevance, and alignment with your business. Also, remember that follower count is not a guarantee of high quality. There are awesome microinfluencers that can have dedicated audiences that can help you move the sales needle.
Some of the ways your B2B business can benefit from influencer marketing are:
- Increased brand credibility and authenticity
- Tremendous acceleration in content promotion and impact
- High-quality professional content that you can reuse
- Increased engagement and sales by extending your reach
Nurturing the relationship
Because of the extended sales cycle, it’s essential to start building relationships with your audience long before a sale is possible.
Lead nurturing is all about creating bonds with your leads and giving them value. A great way to build a lead nurturing process is by first attracting prospects with valuable content or digital ads. Blogs, white papers, newsletters, and informative landing pages all fit the bill.
For instance, blogging allows you to share content that showcases your company’s expertise, attracts readers, and keeps them engaged. White papers position your brand as an authority in your field, and you’ll gain trust and engagement from your leads.
Newsletters help to strengthen and humanize the connection with potential buyers by offering them regularly personalized content. However, one grave mistake most B2B marketers make is educating the prospects on their services and products instead of focusing on their problems and how they should be solved.
Remember that nurturing paves the way to a sale – it’s not the place for constant hard selling.
B2B marketing is crucial for B2B business visibility, growth and sales. Take the time to visualize your endgame and then devise a plan to achieve your marketing goals. Then, work on your brand awareness tactics as you move forward.