Happy March to Marketers! As we close the 1st quarter of the business year, B2B sales targets would now be on your mind! B2B sales are picking up (if we look at the last three year trend), and as buyers are technology-driven or business-driven, B2B sales are quality-focused. This, in turn, means that B2B can give you a good profit margin.
However, there is no doubt that the Post Covid-19 B2B marketplace has changed. The traditional business is now coming to social media and trying to catch up. Also, corporates are now using digital platforms to conduct research before asking any vendor for quotations. In fact, 57% of research now happens before your potential customer lands on your website!
So, how do you (either as a business owner or as a marketer) create compelling sales strategies? How can you not only survive but actually thrive in the new age of B2B Marketing? Worry not; this blog is aimed at making the journey easier for you!
Prerequisites for high converting B2B sales strategies:
Before you look for any winning sales strategy, there are certain basic principles that still apply to B2B sales strategy. You need to do background preparation before you can formulate any strategy; this includes but is not limited to:
1. Ideal Consumer Profile (Target Market Profile).
- Understanding the emotional drivers
- Researching the trends
- Identifying the pain areas your target customers go through
2. Selecting the Marketing Channels
- Which social media platform gives you maximum reach?
- What behavior your potential customers show on these media?
- Which tools can you use along with social media platforms? (Email -drip marketing, WhatsApp messages, etc.)
Now each of the topics above demands a separate discussion. You may take a deeper look here!
Let us now look at what B2B strategies will make you win!
Wake up! B2C strategies and old ways won’t work anymore!
The B2B market is different from the B2C market, and there are different players involved. B2C (business to consumer) rules may not be effective when it comes to B2B (business to business).
While planning to win your B2B clients, you need to understand now that the typical marketing funnel has changed. Now, B2B customers have more people to do research, and as your client is also a business entity, they also have experience in sales.
Where do you go to find lots of trees? In the jungle! Where do you go to find lots of B2B customers? On social media platforms! Your B2B customers are now extensively using social media platforms, and you must create your brand awareness on those platforms!
Any typical B2B sales team needs to see things from the customer’s point of view. There are the following steps a B2B potential buyer goes through:
1. Identifying need/problem: What issue or problem is the organization currently facing? What are their challenges? Which department or which unit is experiencing a problem?
- How to respond? Create quality content or videos which offer insights for industries. The idea is not to make sales but to create brand awareness! Let your potential customers know that you are aware of their pain!
- Tools: Video platforms, Blogs, Social media – Linkedin, Facebook, etc.
Strategy: Partner with social media influencers, share genuine tips about problem-solving with your potential market.
The idea is to bolster your brand awareness. According to the Linkedin B2B market report, Brand awareness gives you long-term organic growth. This is not a sales strategy per se, but more of a marketing strategy. As we have always emphasized, the future belongs to smarketing! The more people are aware of your brand, the higher the chance that they will come to you when they see a problem.
2. Searching for a solution: Your potential B2B customer is also trying to see if the solution can be found internally – free of cost or at marginal cost. If not, then they will start searching for a solution outside the organization!
- How to respond? Share about various product /service offerings focusing on the problems you solve by using these offerings. Create a case study to show that you know what you are talking about. A case study also gives you credibility.
- Tools: Your website should be a primary tool when it comes to sharing product info. We will elaborate on this point further in the next paragraph. (You must also use earlier mentioned tools like Video platforms, Blogs, Social media – Linkedin, Facebook, etc.
3. Vendor selection/ identification: This is an important milestone in a buyer’s journey; they are now looking for a vendor. Which means they are open to your offerings. This is the time to engage with them using your sales team.
Website – your 24x 7 office that must reflect you:
Many B2B sales teams have very similar looking and mostly old website designs. Now, your B2B customers have moved on. Many of them are millennials. Also, coming from a business domain, they can recognize a great-looking website from a shabby one. We are not asking you to create entertainment websites; we are asking you to engage UX designers who can help you in making your website messaging clear. A good website with a clear message will encourage buyers; else, 46% of potential buyers will go away due to confusion.
Social media paid and organic marketing:
While a lot of people ignore facebook or think business is not generated on Facebook, this is simply false. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter all contribute to various aspects of Brand building and social marketing. With Email drip campaigns and building your tribe, you can generate a lot of traction with paid and organic social media marketing, even for B2B sales. Remember, word of mouth still counts when B2B sales are happening. So, your B2B decision-makers are already recommending you or, worse, complaining about you on Facebook, Instagram, etc. You better get out there and be visible.
You can relate to these 3 steps with following diagram:
While we have not covered the “care” aspect here, it is important for creating a great relationship. Without the “care” aspect, your customers will experience a lack of support, and soon the word will spread in the market.
Well, you have a great website, you have a great social media presence. Is that enough to win sales?
No, because this is the basics. Every smart marketer or business owner will do this. So what is the additional secret sauce? The answer is Account-Based marketing.
Account-Based Marketing (ABM):-
Account-Based Marketing is one of the sales strategies you must apply in your business. You can trust account-based marketing as a sales strategy if you are interested in generating long-term revenue.
In Account-Based marketing, you, as a buyer/marketer, focus on the target audience’s specific category. The team works on target accounts to convert the leads at a faster rate. As a result, you will be able to earn more profit in less span of time.
Instead of focusing on a general profile, you are taking pains to understand each potential account. You are creating a personalized offering, answering the needs of a particular account.
When your potential customers experience exclusivity, they see the effort you are taking for them. Once a relationship is established, sales become possible. With account-based marketing, you are treating them as market size of one. The way you create strategies for any potential market, in a similar manner, you create strategies for one potential customer. So, you need to have customized messaging for them, such as videos, blogs, etc.
Account-Based marketing gives you higher sales returns. Marketers prefer ABM as it gives a higher chance of a conversion.
While discussing a high conversion B2B sales strategy, websites and ABM are just directions to explore.
The traditional marketing funnel still exists, and you need to prepare for it.
Do you know that for every 1 content document you show to potential clients, there are 5 documents searched to compare it?
Please note display marketing, content marketing all make contributions to sales. More than 60% of clients say that they are willing to reach buying decisions based on digital content.
So, content distribution plan and content marketing still rule!
What is your experience? Do let us know how you plan to succeed in B2B sales?