The B2B Marketing Process
How do your leads pass through the B2B marketing process? In this blog post, we reveal best practice strategies and techniques involved in B2B marketing.
What is B2B marketing?
Definitions of B2B marketing usually explain how this is the process of business to business marketing. Most definitions focus on how strategies for targeting businesses are vastly different from targeting consumers.
But consider this: picture yourself as a B2B buyer, would you behave differently to anyone else buying a product?
The truth is that 71% of B2B researchers start with a generic search (Google, 2015), and it’s a marketer's job to make sure your brand, whether B2B or not, appears in search engine results.
There are some differences in B2B vs B2C marketing. For example, B2B researches tend to take longer to research products/services before purchasing - on average it's 12 searches per brand.
With this in mind, it's important to ensure your B2B marketing strategies are well researched and cover a range of keywords and questions a potential buyer could search for.
What is the B2B marketing process?
To summarise the process buyers go through, we like to use the AIDA model - Attention, Interest, Desire, Action.
Not only does it represent the stages a customer goes through before purchasing, but it also helps to form a marketing strategy around the key phases of the buying process.
To attract attention, you need to be visible on popular search engines. In fact, it's estimated 71% of B2B research starts with a search on Google. So, it's safe to say search engine optimisation (SEO) is one of the most important aspects of your B2B marketing strategy.
To increase interest in your products and services, it's important your organisation is aligned to meet the needs of your customers.
You need to analyse what makes you different to your competitors. Once you've established your USP(s), it's all about reinforcing this positioning with strong and tailored messaging.
Demonstrating your product or service benefits your potential customers is crucial.
After establishing benefits for the buyer, the next step is to let your target audience know you're perfectly suited to meet their needs.
Testimonials, reviews and satisfaction surveys are all qualitative methods that effectively demonstrate your competitive advantage over your competitors.
The final (and most rewarding step) is to be clear about what action you want the buyer to take.
Clear call-to-actions are essential to a successful marketing strategy. Often, it's the difference maker when converting potential customers.
Start by analysing your content and defining the purpose of each piece. Let's use a case study as an example, do you want users to download the content, or do you want someone to make an enquiry?
Now that you know the desired outcome for each piece of content you can create a compelling call-to-action that is irresistible to potential customers.
Common B2B marketing strategies, techniques & tactics
Naturally, there are tons of B2B marketing strategies to choose from. But it's important to choose a range of techniques, tactics and channels that are suitable for your overall marketing strategy.
For example, businesses that are focused on direct sales would look into paid search and affiliate marketing, whereas organisations looking for traditional lead generation would use content marketing and branding.
Personal branding can be a little daunting for B2B organisations. It's likely the owners/directors of your business have been running the company for the entirety of its lifespan.
This means every customer, prospect, competitor and local cafe owner will know the managing director. And by extension, they'll have a strong grasp on the strength and limitations of your products.
To cut through the corporate waffle on social media it's time to show your personality. This can be as simple as sharing your team's content, offering opinions and even posting pictures of your dog.
Not only does this humanise your brand, but it also increases the potential touchpoints to engage with prospects.
Content marketing is one of the most effective B2B marketing techniques and is the foundation for any solid marketing strategy.
Start by analysing the stages your customer goes through before buying your products or services. You can use this information to ensure your business is visible on the marketing channels that your target audience use - for example, social media, organic search, trade publications etc.
The next step is to convert this insight into a comprehensive plan, including content types, objectives and channels.
It's crucial to define the purpose of each piece of content. This enables you to asses what resonates with your target audience.
Below are examples of some objectives for a blog post:
- shows your business is up-to-date with industry trends
- targets keywords to improve SEO
- can be distributed over social media
Our top tip for effective content marketing is to analyse how your marketing efforts contribute to your commercial objectives. With this insight, you can tweak your marketing activity to help achieve your overall business goals,
Website visits is a vanity metric. There is some value in generating a ton of sessions, but if you're not converting any prospects, what's the point?
Generally, a 2-3% conversion rate is viewed as a success, which means 97% of your website visitors are leaving without doing anything!
To help you convert more prospects, we recommend using a bespoke tool like Candii or Who Is Visiting. These platforms add a snippet of code to your website and in return offer detailed insights about your website visitors.
Knowing who is looking at your website and what they're looking at can significantly benefit your sales and business development teams. It provides enough information to build a targeted approach which can help to achieve commercial objectives.
Make your B2B marketing process work for your business
If you only take one piece of advice from this blog post make sure it's this: a standard B2B marketing process may not work for your business. You need to research your target audience and create a marketing strategy that not only reaches, but converts prospects.
If you need any advice or assistance in creating and executing your strategy, contact our marketing team and we'll be happy to help.