Many of our clients some to us when their B2B campaigns have stalled, or never got off the ground in the firsts place. It’s easy for B2B marketing to go askew as traditionally there have always been quite a few differences between B2B and B2C audiences and strategies.
For starters, the B2B buying cycles are typically longer, purchasing motivation different, and the cost of a sale is higher. So while you could have an $8 CPS (cost per sale) in the B2C space, you may have to spend four times that to make a sale in the B2B space.
Having said this, we have noticed a trend over the last five years or so, and that is the lines between B2B and B2C marketing are starting to blur. B2B buyers are becoming emboldened and many expect the same experiences and benefits from their B2B brands as they receive from consumer brands.
Because of this, B2B marketers have been forced to recognize that traditional marketing efforts are no longer enough to stay competitive. It’s time for CMOs in the B2B space to expand their existing models and copy strategies from counterparts in the B2C space.
This means incorporating data-driven decision-making, focusing on individualized communications that build relationships instead of just pushing a product or service. Today’s CMOS in the B2B space definitely have their work cut out for them, but doing the necessary work will be well worth it.
To help you get started, here are the new golden rules of B2B marketing success.
Understand Your Customer
All sales must begin and end with what the customer wants and needs. Selling in the 21st century can no longer be about announcing your product or service. Today’s B2B marketers must truly engage customers, and to do this, they’ve got to understand who their customers are on a deeper level.
The first step to making this mental shift is to change how you think of marketing. Instead of using terms like capture and convert, start thinking more along the lines of engage and add value. Customers are people, and they all want to be seen as individuals.
The more you know about your customers, what they want and need, and what keeps them up at night, the better able you’ll be to engage and help them. If you get this right even slightly more than your competitors, then you’ll capture that much more of your market.
Focus on Building Relationships
Your goal is to build trust with your audience. In reality, you don’t want to make one sale and call it a day; you want to make a customer for life. Focus less on short-term wins and more on long-term benefits.
What’s the #1 way B2B marketers can build relationships? Stop thinking about the number of leads you generate each month and instead focus on nurturing quality leads over time. Stop thinking in terms of one-off sales and put your resources into creating quality interactions with each prospect. This will show your audience you are in it to help them instead of just making a sale off of them.
Leverage Your Data
We talk about the importance of using the data at your disposal a lot because we see firsthand, and on a daily basis, the benefits of mining for insights. Data lets you establish a new level of relevance in your campaigns.
When you know, truly know, your customer’s intent and behaviors, you ultimately know what they want in the moment. And when you are able to give them exactly what they want in the moment through targeted messaging, you ultimately create long-term loyalty. Why would a customer go elsewhere when you are treating them as an individual with individual needs and then on top of it, addressing those needs at just the right time?
While B2B marketing has become more complex, at the end of the day, it’s really just using common sense and treating people the way they want to be treated. If you follow these new golden rules, you will outperform your competition and drive revenue growth for your organization.