Increasing B2B sales isn’t simply a matter of providing a product or service and hoping that customers will come your way. Businesses who purchase from you want to believe they have the right vendor at the right time for the right price. It can usually take months to close a B2B sale due to there being more people involved and higher price points than B2C. As a business who markets to other businesses, how can you tilt the playing field and make sure that when the customer is ready to buy, your company is the only one that comes to mind?
There is a breach between sales and marketing in the B2B world. Sales is authentic and marketing can often be just flat copy. Many B2B organizations miss the mark in aligning with what their buyers consider important. A McKinsey B2B branding survey of approximately 1,500 global executives showed there was a huge gap between what a company considers important for their brand imaging, as compared to what influenced a buyer’s perceptions of brand strength.
So what are the secrets of B2B marketing? Can you use them to unlock sales success? Yes, you can!
Know Your Audience
A B2B company that has missed the mark on messaging typically suffers from two oversights. One, they don’t have clarity as to who in the market is actually responsible for making or breaking their success. Two, they don’t take the time to truly understand buying agendas and triggers. In short, they don’t know their audience. Knowing your audience is key. Your customers have a myriad of things vying for their attention every day, in real life and online, and you need to know how to capture their attention. If you don’t know what their motives are, and what they’re looking for, you can’t resonate with them in a way that leads to a sale. Central to this is personalization. B2B deals are made one at a time, and your marketing message should mirror this level of personalization. According to an industry study, high performing companies are twice as likely to research what drives their buyers, rather than their competitors.
Messaging Is King
In today’s world of information overload, nothing gets the brain’s attention unless it is already perceived as important. People tune into messages that help them get what they want, or solve a problem. Anything else is just background noise. This is where great messaging can tell a transformational story. Messaging can paint of picture of the buyer’s present pain point and contrast it with where they desire to be, that is with a solution in hand.
Collect Honest Feedback
Why is feedback so important? In depth, honest, and useful feedback from clients is hard to come by. It is therefore important that a company takes steps to automate the process, via
surveys or email, and encourages its clients to provide them with their honest opinion on an ongoing basis. If you’re meeting with a customer, that’s a great time to get some in person feedback. It is vital to keep talking to your clients, find out what they liked and what they don’t. Talk about the process, the product. Ask them what caught their attention. The more knowledge you gain, the more valuable it is.
Be A Consultant
Gone are the days when customers relied on a seller to provide them with relevant information about the product. In those days a seller’s leverage was based on information that the customer didn’t have access to. Now, buyers are researching their purchases online. A buyer can read product reviews, get comparative pricing, read forums and even find out what the buying experience will be like. Studies show that B2B buyers are now 60% to 90% through their purchase before they even contact the seller for the first time. The seller’s information leverage has vanished. Buyers are more in control of the buying process, so exerting pressure on them is a failing tactic and can often backfire. A buyer wants to buy not to be sold to. This is where your company’s salespeople can take a consultative approach. Listen to the buyer and you will find opportunities to help them. You want to teach the buyer, not pitch to them. Teaching helps the buyer discover that what they want might not be what they need. When a customer learns something new that will help them, the psychological power of reciprocity helps build preference and loyalty. When teaching, avoid talking about your own product or services.
These marketing tactics to increase B2B sales are by no means the only way to capture the attention from customers and get more money from each of them. Each of them has their pros and cons, but all of them have the chance to increase your bottom line.