There’s a simple B2B marketing definition: the marketing of products and services directly from one business to another, rather than trying to reach the broader consumer market. Dive deeper, however, and you’ll quickly discover that B2B marketing requires a very different set of strategies and skills compared to retail sales.
What are some of the critical aspects of the B2B process? Here are three core components of business-to-business marketing that will help you understand how to plot a successful course for your efforts.
Know who you’re selling to
Although it might seem as though you’re dealing with a single point of contact when fielding B2B marketing inquiries, chances are the person on the other side of that email or telephone call only represents the tip of the decision-making iceberg.
Companies often call on a group of employees and managers to make purchasing decisions linked to a given organization’s broader plans. The team involved in making a yes or no decision on the product or service you’re offering could also tap outside consultants or incorporate fresh faces as employees move from one part of a company to another over time. Each of these individuals has their perspective on how your prospective sale affects their part of the project in question. Smart brands prepare by answering a wide range of questions and satisfy numerous requirements when securing a deal.
Understand the business, understand the customer
B2B marketing customers tend to be extremely well-informed about their industry, and as a result, they expect anyone trying to sell to them to be on their same level when it comes to expertise. Understanding the business model and needs of a B2B customer requires extensive research about their business and how they market their product or service.
Becoming a product and an industry expert makes for a much more effective B2B sales pitch. It also helps identify potential customers and determine where to direct advertising and outreach efforts.
Long-term relationships are key
If the above sounds like a time-intensive process, that’s because it is. There’s a significant investment required when approaching B2B marketing, making customer retention much more important than when dealing with consumers. The costs associated with landing a meaningful contract and the financial rewards of doing so are higher, as there are far fewer businesses to court than the billions of retail customers that B2C efforts aim to reach.
An essential aspect of B2B marketing is growing alongside each client and building a long-term relationship to recoup the effort invested. B2B marketing includes offering a higher standard of service than is typically found in a consumer-facing operation and the ability to continuously analyze customer data and provide a high standard of support that stays one step ahead of their changing needs.
B2B marketing success relies on a combination of industry expertise, analytics skill, and supporting high-service levels that make you an important partner in your customer’s business’s success. The rational, data-driven world of business-to-business sales offers substantial opportunities for teams prepared with the latest technologies to stay on top of their client needs.