Business to business marketing
Companies who sell products and services to other companies would implement a business to business marketing strategy.
A B2B marketing plan include how to reach and communicate with buyers and decisions makers in companies using multiple business to business channels.
How are B2B and B2C marketing different?
Business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing are different from each other in how product purchases are made.
A business-to-business campaign is what it sounds like. It involves a business whose main customer is another business, rather than the general public.
As B2B marketers sell exclusively to other businesses, they target people or teams who make purchasing decisions on behalf of those businesses.
B2C refers to businesses that sell products and services directly to consumers.
As a result, business to business marketing focuses more on the buyer journey – a more complex and lengthy process that involves multiple parties.
B2B marketing has a number of unique issues that don’t affect B2C, such as:
- number of decision-makers – the average B2B buying decision involves around seven people.
- length of sales cycles – on average, the B2B sales cycle takes four to eight months.
- channels – B2B marketing mostly makes use of SEO, content marketing, email, and telemarketing. Companies selling to consumers have more ways to engage, including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Although some of those platforms can be employed for B2B, they tend to perform better in consumer markets.
Developing a business to business marketing plan
Step 1: Identify your market position
If you want to set achievable goals and plan out how to accomplish them, you need to understand your market.
- your competitors – their market positioning and their assets and vulnerabilities
- your unique value proposition – what sets you apart? Do you have better customer service, more transparent pricing, or accurate data? How would that help your target customer?
- your industry – what place does your company occupy within your specific niche?
You can identify a particular opportunity in the business market (price, for instance) that only your company can fill.
This is your selling point, or Unique Selling Proposition (USP).
Step 2: Identifying your target customers
Decide who your audience is.
Research demographics and narrow them down so you can clearly figure out who your target audience is.
Consider their buying habits, the channels they use the most often, and how and where they search for information.
Here are some questions to ask yourself when defining your buyer persona:
- Who will buy your products/services?
- What challenges are they facing and how can your company provide a solution?
- How can they be categorised? Do they fit into smaller target segments?
- Do they differ from the businesses your competitors are targeting? If yes, in what ways?
- How can you locate them?
Step 3: Define the customer journey
Business to business marketing touchpoints
Touchpoints occur before, during, and after the sale in the customer journey. Due to the longer sales cycles associated with B2B sales, B2B customer journey maps contain more points of contact in the awareness and consideration phases.
- Digital marketing (emails)
- Online advertisements (search ads)
- Social media
- Phone calls
- Company website
- Case studies
- Peer referral
- Product/service reviews
- Customer onboarding
- Print advertising
In B2B relationships, certain touchpoints are vital – such as testimonials, invoicing and payment. Making these touchpoints easy to access and use enhance the customer experience and help keep prospects and customers loyal.
The customer journey is formed of these touchpoints.
Customers often experience varying levels of brand engagement over time, influenced by different factors.
Throughout their customer journey, a client may:
- research your business or product,
- receive a marketing email,
- make a purchase,
- use your product/service,
- connect with your telemarketing team,
- interact on social media,
- leave a review/testimonial,
- upgrade their current product/service, and so on
Any large or small business should reflect the same values and personality at every step of the journey.
Every interaction a B2B buyer has with your business should be seamless.
Step 4: Make the most of your data
Good quality GDPR compliant data will make all the difference to your campaigns.
Your B2B marketing campaigns will be more personal and effective since you’ll have access to the correct contact information.
An effective data-driven marketing campaign reduces lost customers and helps you make more informed decisions.
Business to business marketing databases that are GDPR compliant
More Than Words’ marketing databases contain direct contact information for millions of business and public sector decision makers in the UK.
Using More Than Words’ business database, you will be able to access:
- decision makers at B2B organisations most likely to need your products and services,
- detailed information about the responsibilities and the size of the organisation of decision makers, and
- pro-rata refunds and replacement records if accuracy targets aren’t met.
Data is licensed to you for twelve months use. This means that, over the course of a year, you can establish your credibility and demonstrate your products and services’ effectiveness to your target audiences.
In addition, you will receive complete support on how to use the database. Our marketing team will provide feedback and suggestions on any marketing material you design and send to your target clients.
Step 5. Stand out from the crowd with creative, engaging campaigns
B2B purchases tend to be for business-related products and services, but that doesn’t mean your campaigns have to be boring, bland, and uninspiring.
In B2B, your customers are still people and they like to be entertained and informed.
Lead generation using cold emails
The research stage is a good time for reps to speak with buyers. 71% of buyers want to hear from sellers when considering a new product or service.
Moreover, eight out of ten prospects prefer email as a means of first contact.
Even in an overcrowded market, cold emailing is still effective.
Our managed email marketing service
When you choose our managed email marketing service, our experienced marketing team design and send targeted marketing messages to your chosen B2B database.
Regardless of the company, product, or service, we excel at warming up cold leads via email and building long-term relationships with leads.
Don’t let your cold emails feel anonymous – some level of personalisation can be helpful. Don’t make your recipient feel like just another contact.
Be sure to explain why you’re reaching out to their B2B company specifically.
Describe what brought you to them. Demonstrate to them why they are so valuable to you.
Emails that are backed by research and are crafted with a personal touch are the most effective for driving conversions. Do your research and convey that clearly.
Benefits-driven sales pitch
It is not necessary to list product features. Avoid talking about how valuable your product is. Instead, describe how your prospects can benefit from it. Be specific. If you are too general, your message will be lost.
You can get a lot of traction with credible social proof – a trusted source backing up your outreach may be the difference between getting responses or not.
A few statistics about how effective your product or service is can also be a valuable tool.
No matter how impressive your email copy, some prospects will only be interested in the results you can offer them.
End your cold email with a call-to-action
You should end your email with a call to action (CTA) to persuade your prospects to take the action you want them to take.
It could be scheduling a meeting, giving feedback, or replying to you. Just pick what works for you.
Make warm calls to qualify B2B prospects
The right use of cold calling generates quality B2B leads – but warm calls are even more effective.
The term warm lead refers to someone who has purchased from you before, or whose profile you feel is a good fit for your product or service.
Warming up new leads is key to selling.
More Than Words offers telemarketing services to businesses targeting other businesses in the B2B, schools and public sectors.
Our telemarketing team are skilled in:
- setting appointments,
- generating leads,
- market research,
- validating information such as email addresses, contact names etc, and
- event promotion
More Than Words note – do you need to reach your target audience directly, but lack the staff or infrastructure to do so? Managed B2B email campaigns and managed B2B telemarketing campaignsare handled by our direct marketing teams. Let us know how we can help.
Step 6. Analyse and evaluate your results from business to business marketing
B2B marketing strategies shouldn’t remain static. On the contrary, they should change over time.
It’s always best to focus on the details to get a true understanding of how a campaign performed in the context of its main goal.
Campaign analysis has the following advantages:
- find out what worked/didn’t work in the campaign,
- find out how the target audience responded,
- evaluate the campaign’s success compared to its objectives,
- identify key stakeholders, and
- make future campaigns more effective.
It’s important to consistently find new tactics, new ways to do things, and new channels.
By doing so, you can continually improve your marketing plan and see better results over time.
More Than Words Note: Read our recent case studies from a vending machine business, company checking service and typing & translation company to find out how we created and implemented a business to business marketing campaign.
Marketing specialists More Than Words are available to help you to locate your business customers, generate brand awareness and build long-term relationships with B2B clients.