From time to time, it’s a good idea to check in on your B2B marketing plan and ensure you have considered or are using the top B2B marketing best practices.
In this post, we take a look at the eight top marketing practices for B2B firms.
Create a Specific Buyer Persona
Every successful B2B marketing strategy starts with a clear understanding of who is the target audience. Knowing what you have to say is only half of it, you also need to know who you are speaking to in your audience.
The best way to determine if you really know your audience is by creating a specific buyer persona(s). These should be as detailed as possible and include the buyer’s challenges and main concerns. Be as specific as possible in the persona by listing the companies they work for, leadership level, titles, departments they work in, etc. At the same time, also make sure you aren’t overcomplicating it. If you are speaking to project managers across three different industries and their roles are all fairly similar, you can create a buyer persona that includes all three industries.
Lastly, when building out your buyer personas, consider all those involved in a decision (even advisors or researchers). Decision-makers are rarely the only audience you need to speak to so consider those people who in one way or another influence the decision or advise the decision-maker.
Build a Clear, Professional B2B Web Presence
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – a polished, professional B2B website is absolutely crucial for the success of any marketing strategy. The majority of your target audience is doing online research when looking for the products and services you sell. Even if they know who you are or you meet them in person, they will always look for a website to determine the legitimacy of your firm.
Creating a branded, professional B2B website design ensures your brand is where your audience is (both current and future) and enables them to discover more about your products or services. A mistake we often see B2B firms make is not investing in a professional website. Either they don’t think they need to pay for a website or they aren’t willing to make the required investment to build a professional website.
Unfortunately, when firms choose to create free or cheap websites, prospects can tell. Do you really want prospects to think your company is cheap? Does that mean your products are cheap and flimsy too?
Read more: Design tips for B2B firms.
Put Digital Marketing First
If digital marketing isn’t at the very front of your B2B marketing strategy, it should be. To be successful in 2022 and beyond, you must prioritize your digital presence. Why? Because hybrid work and virtual conferences have proven to be immensely popular, especially with Millennials and Gen Z (aka the folks who are starting to make up the bulk of the active workforce). What they want drives businesses.
A robust digital presence and marketing strategy is crucial to ensuring your brand is visible and accessible to everyone in your target audience (see above regarding buyer personas).
Do the Research & Listen to the Results
Even if you feel like you know your audience and their needs, do research on your industry, your competitors, your existing clients, and your partners. I’ve never walked away from market research without picking up some new detail or nuance – even when my hypothesis ended up being true. Market research enables you to see what your target buyers are using to search for your products or services. You may think your buyers are using sophisticated terms like “experienced MSP solutions,” when in fact, they are searching terms like “IT services for manufacturing” or “IT company manufacturing.”
In addition to looking at your target market, see what competitors are doing. Even if other firms don’t do exactly what you do or aren’t in your league, it’s smart to see if there are any gaps or opportunities you are missing. Also, take a look at your past results for gaps and opportunities. If you have several years of data, look at trends. Is a particular service falling away or not desired as highly? While data can direct your marketing plan, it can also provide input on your business decisions.
Be Thoughtful & Customer-Centric
Always put your customer at the center of your marketing strategy. Don’t ask “what do we need,” ask “what do my customers want and need?” Design your marketing offers around them (not you).
Craft marketing offers that appeal to them – especially when you are asking for their contact information. The reward for your audience must match the ask. Be thoughtful about what you create and ask “Is this really valuable to a customer?” If not, it’s ok to scrap a campaign and move on to a new campaign.
Analyze the Data & Adapt
Track everything. Track campaigns, email sends, blog post activity, social activity, and buyers as they move through the buying process all the way to becoming a customer. Set aside time every month to review the data and see what it says. Yeah, traffic may be down, but what do the metrics actually tell you? Adapt your marketing strategy if necessary and double down on what works well.
Engage Your Audience
Be relatable and engage your audience. In today’s world, brands and companies are more accessible and have personalities. Gone are the days of stuffy IBM where people walk around in suits and customers can’t speak to the company. Today, all consumers, including B2B buyers want to work with brands that are engaging, responsive, and quick to get back to them if they have questions or concerns.
Work with Partners, Not Vendors
Partners help your business succeed, vendors sell you things.
Successful B2B brands don’t consider their vendors just suppliers, they consider them as true partners who they can turn to and hash out solutions together. Your partners work with a lot of clients just like you, if you aren’t treating them like a partner and tapping into their expertise, you are missing out on a lot of opportunities.
A true partner looks out for your best interest, not their own. A true partner will have an honest conversation with you and isn’t just a “yes-person” allowing you to call all the shots.
No Cookie-Cutter Strategies for B2B
There aren’t any cookie-cutter strategies that work for all B2B marketing plans. In fact, the most effective marketing strategies are customized to meet your business needs.
Read more: Key metrics to track in your B2B marketing.