Welcome to the future of B2B marketing, you are officially a part of what many have deemed the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Advanced technology has changed the way that people think, act, and shop. This includes the B2B sector! Welcome to the only guide to forming a successful B2B marketing strategy that you will need. This comprehensive but easy guide can be taken in just three steps. By the time you get to the end, you will have earned yourself a solid basis for understanding the modern B2B sector and how to work it to your advantage.

Step 1: Prepare

Think of it this way, if you consider jumping off a bridge, it may sound insane but if you’ve decided to do it in a controlled setting with a bungee cord and safety measures in place, it sounds significantly less crazy. If you have not taken the time to gather insights about your audience, are without a marketing framework, or are lacking an understanding of a sales-driven plan, it will be like you’re leaping without a cord.

Today’s B2B Buyer Journey

Thanks to the changes that modern tech has brought to commercial processes, there are different ways buyers look for and locate B2B vendors. To summarise the changes, the B2B buyers’ journey is no longer a straight line, it’s a looping multi-person digital journey.

The B2B experience has become similar to the B2C experience and the same level of service has come to be expected. Nowadays, 80% of the purchase decision will be decided according to the customer’s experience and just 20% has to do with the price and offer.

This has made fanfare and loyalty a focus more than the technical aspects of the offer. It’s time to step out of the traditional B2B mindset and look at your target audience as customers that live in the modern world as well.

The Marketing Framework to Lead Your B2B Strategy

The framework that your marketing strategy should work within is Avinash Kaushik’s See-Think-Do-Care model. Based on consumer intent, this model divides each phase into audience groups.

See: Biggest qualified audience that can be addressed with no commercial intent.

Think: Biggest qualified audience that can be addressed with partial commercial intent.

Do: Biggest qualified audience that can be addressed with full-on commercial intent.

Care: Verified customers that take part in two or more business transactions.

Kaushik’s framework can be built into the modern buyer’s journey model:

“See” – Awareness

“Think” – Consideration

“Do” – Purchase

“Care” – Post-Purchase Experience

The first two points form the research and discovery loop and the last two form the loyalty loop.

This audience guide can be used when you’re forming marketing decisions. Just doing this will make a major improvement in your strategy.

Vital Parts Of A B2B Marketing Plan

Before moving on to the vital elements, there are six tasks that B2B consumers go through each purchase:

  1. Identify the problem
  2. Look for a solution
  3. Build the requirements
  4. Find a supplier
  5. Validate the choice
  6. Consensus creation

The idea is to create a consumer experience that takes care of each task while guiding your target through the buyer’s journey. Here are the three elements your plan will need:

  • Demand generation – This takes care of the first 3 buyer tasks: identify the problem, look for a solution and requirements building.
  • Lead generation – This takes care of the last 3 buyer tasks: find a supplier, validate the choice and consensus creation.
  • Retention and recovery – all loyalty loop strategies come in and change one-time purchases into repeat buyers, bringing consumers back to the start of the buyer’s journey.

Any hope of achieving these three phases will need to implement these top B2B marketing strategies:

  • A quality business site
  • Marketing automation (including email marketing)
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Content marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • Video marketing
  • Event marketing
  • Remarketing
  • Affiliates and partnerships
  • Pay per click advertising (PPC)

Some can be used for multiple stages in the consumer cycle.

Step 2: Plan

After you have a better understanding of your audience and their journey as buyers, you will have a framework that you can work within, as well as, the important parts that your strategy will need to work. Now it’s time to work on your plan of action. This section is focused on finding the most effective channels for lead generation, demand generation, and retention.

The Top Marketing Strategy – Sales Funnel: A Professional B2B Website

Your business webpage is kind of a big deal, it may even be your most valuable marketing asset. If yours is not designed professionally, stop what you’re doing and get it done!

The role that your website plays in each phase of the marketing strategy is big enough to earn its own section here.

Beware, one negative experience on a site will make consumers 88% less likely to revisit. As well as, being filled with helpful content, the site will need these 5 things if you want to boost leads and sales:

  • Fast – 40% of visitors will exit if the site takes more than three seconds to load.
  • Secure – 85% of users won’t enter an unsecured domain. The ‘s’ in HTTPs costs an SSL certificate and it’s worth it.
  • Mobile-friendly – more than 60% of online traffic will originate from a hand-held device.
  • Actionable – Your site isn’t a brochure; it’s a 24-hour sales representative.
  • Professionally designed – 37% of potential consumers will leave a domain if it’s badly designed or difficult to navigate, and 46% will backtrack if it’s unclear what the business does.

Strategies For Demand Generation

It’s guaranteed that there are more businesses than you may think that need you. These businesses though, don’t know that they need you or they haven’t yet identified the problem, this is where demand generation comes in.

During the buyer process, more than 80% of B2B buyers look through 5 content pieces. Half of them view over 8.

Basically, B2B demand generation marketing brings awareness to consumers. It helps them to identify the problem, find that there is a solution, and curious to learn more. Here are digital plans that best assist in demand generation:

  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Social media marketing (and advertising)
  • Display advertising
  • Content marketing
  • Video marketing

Strategies for Lead Generation

Once awareness has been brought to the buyer, it’s time to move on to the “think” and “do” phases. These are the top marketing strategies for lead generation:

  • Pay Per Click search ads
  • SEO
  • Content marketing
  • Affiliates, testimonials, partnerships
  • Events
  • Remarketing

Content Marketing

Webinars and blogs are two of the best demand generators. Here, however, there is a different problem that needs to be solved when it comes to lead generation content marketing. This is where the last three tasks (supplier selection, validation, and consensus creation) of the purchase process are dealt with here. The best content is pieces that show off your expertise, authority, and evidence of your results. Here are the kinds of content that you should be generating:

  • Blogs displaying your expertise in the industry
  • White papers
  • Case studies
  • Anecdotes about your business’s values, history, and culture
  • Awards and partnerships
  • News releases
  • Press coverage
  • Videos that explain how your products/services benefit your target consumers
  • Reviews and testimonials
  • Content pieces that help create buy-in from stakeholders in the purchase process

Be careful here, almost 60% of consumers find most B2B content unhelpful and unreliable.

This is what consumers don’t want: long content, unseasoned pros generating the content, and sales talk. Versus what they want: short, digestible content, credibly sourced content, peer/customer examples.

Marketing Strategies for Buyer Retention and Recovery

Great, you’ve managed to make the sale, now what?

An integral part of this journey is the loyalty loop because it’s way more profitable and realistic to sell to someone that you’ve sold to before. The aim here is to get your consumers to start the purchase process again, this time with a new item or additional service. The best possible result here is if your customer becomes a brand advocate.

Here are the strategies below to help score customer retention and recovery:

Content Marketing

This is one of the top ways to keep existing customers interested. Not only do you stay in their minds, but you can also promote better decisions using your goods. Here are 5 forms of content marketing that help in this stage:

  • Blogs – knowledgeable, quality blogs promote respect among clients.
  • E-books and whitepapers – empower clients by providing educating resources.
  • Social media – Promote your content on social media. Try spark your clients’ interest.
  • Videos – This can be an innovative strategy combined with the latest tech. Create short ads, explainer videos, and video versions of your blogs.
  • Webinars – Show customers how to use your product or hold Q&As, interviews, and educational webinars.

Marketing Automation (And Email Marketing)

Email has become one of the more traditional marketing strategies. This is how to stay on your client’s mind and keep them updated on your movements.

Here are examples of good email marketing:

  • Blog newsletters
  • Staff introduction emails
  • New service offering notifications
  • Monthly newsletters
  • Thank-you and culture-building emails
  • Webinar notifications
  • New e-book announcements

Step 3: Execute

After your plans are in place, it’s time to execute. This needs to be done carefully as a misstep can be damaging. Get ready to walk through the steps of successfully executing your well thought out marketing plan.

Executing Your Plan: Five Steps

Knowing the best strategies and channels for B2B marketing won’t mean anything if you cannot execute your plan.

  1. Identify Your Target Audience And Study Them

Who are you trying to market to? Do not list titles or roles here, what you should be interested in is their behaviour characteristics. For instance, what inspires a purchase or what are the reactions to different marketing content pieces. People are motivated and interested in different things and modern marketing is focused on more than one buyer. Here’s how you can get started; list the following data about your target audience:

  • General demographics
  • Common interests
  • Motivations for the potential purchase
  • Pain-points that your sale will solve
  • Preferred communication methods

This can be done using your own Google Analytics data or Facebook’s audience insights.

When you’ve discovered more about your target audience, you can move to the next step.

  • Identify Your Weaknesses Using Digital Competitive Data

Your digital competitor analysis will reveal how best to improve and compete in your industry. What needs to be included in this analysis is:

  • An evaluation of your website.
  • An evaluation of your search engine real estate.
  • A marketing content evaluation.
  • What you’re selling and a value proposition evaluation. Include the sales funnel you and your competitors encourage potential consumers down.
  • An online advertising evaluation.
  • An employee and client satisfaction evaluation.

With the help of a thorough competitive analysis, you will be able to name opportunities and threats, as well as, your strengths and weaknesses from a digital marketing perspective. There are also other insights that can identify gaps and aid in pulling ahead of your competition.

  • Identify Your Goals

Refer back to your competitive data. What can you do to improve your stats? List your goals and review them often.

  • Link Your Goals To The Best Marketing Strategies

When you’ve identified your goals, next you can link each one to the B2B digital marketing strategies. For instance, if your goal is to increase your sales leads by 10%, lead generation will be the channel to use. Keep track and test whatever you do here!

  • Record, Review, Regulate, Repeat

For this step, dip your toe into data and analytics. Record marketing campaigns, review and try out new strategies, regulate the campaigns according to your results, and repeat the process.

Be sure to identify which metrics matter so you avoid drowning in data. To do this, understand what a KPI is and how it’s different from metrics:

Key Performance Indicators (KPI) are metrics that show how successfully a business is reaching key business objectives that are essential for growth.

Then, metrics assist in forming specific campaigns, of which only certain kinds can help you refine and tweak your strategy. Here are examples of metrics:

  • Search rankings
  • New Visitors
  • Time on page
  • Page views
  • Bounce rates

Here are KPIs that truly count in relation to your marketing strategy:

  • Leads
  • Cost per lead (CPL)
  • Booking rate (from calls)
  • Lead-to-sale conversion rate
  • Revenue
  • Total sales
  • Return on marketing investment (ROMI)

That sums up the ultimate B2B marketing strategy. Alternatively, you could leave the heavy lifting to Digital Access Marketing, experts in this area and you will have a guaranteed success on your hands, not to mention loads of helpful data for the ultimate marketing campaigns.

About the author 

Francis Rodino

Francis is a Business Growth Consultant helping tech companies generate direct sales. We provide business development strategy, coaching and marketing programs for the creative technology sector. With over 20 years in media and digital industries, Francis has held senior leadership positions at the BBC, Omnicom Media Group, and most recently, led the global digital marketing team for the $3 Billion Thomson Reuter's spin-off, Clarivate Analytics. In the past 2 years, Direct Access has helped Clients generate over $11M in sales.

February 17, 2020

March 17, 2020

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