If there’s one thing to know about B2B marketing, it’s that meeting the needs of working professionals requires a unique approach.
The modern workplace is more complex and interdependent than ever before, and this presents its own challenges:
- The days of simply winning over a senior decision-maker are long gone.
- B2B buying groups are becoming increasingly diverse.
- Every additional stakeholder brings a different set of concerns, priorities and opinions to the table.
B2B buyers have the responsibility of making the right decision when purchasing a product or service on behalf of their companies.
If the stakes are high, so are buyers’ expectations.
Here are four tactics that will help strengthen your strategy.
1. Identify the business challenges your B2B buyers face.
If you don’t truly understand your audience, your B2B marketing strategy is as good as guessing.
Our newly-launched Work data set surveys over 17,000 business professionals, from organizations large and small, with B2B buyers comprising a huge number of them.
What has emerged so far are the following business challenges and initiatives, common to modern working professionals today.
Above all, competition in the market is perceived as the biggest business challenge, followed by effective use of technology, and hiring new staff.
- Concerns over effective use of technology are most pronounced among senior management and project managers, and concern becomes more prominent as the size of the company increases.
- The more emails that someone gets per day, the more likely they are to cite effective use of technology as a challenge.
- Improving efficiency and productivity is the top initiative, followed by finding cost-savings and improving innovation.
- There’s a high cross-over between those wanting to find efficiencies and those looking for cost-savings.
- The need to find efficiencies increases in line with company size, and is felt most acutely in companies with a hierarchical structure.
2. Don’t treat your B2B audience the same as a B2C audience.
B2B buyers are multifaceted, highly knowledgeable and scrupulous. They have to be. They have a different agenda compared to consumers.
Rather than fulfilling their needs as an individual, professional buyers are looked upon to make calculated business decisions for the benefit of their company.
What else can we assume about B2B buyers?
- B2B buyers need time to consider their options. Products and services they acquire on behalf of their organization are meant to solve problems, create efficiencies and reduce risk – critical to their company’s bottom line.
- B2B buyers need extra support. Most often, B2B products and solutions are needed for not one, but many end users. To commit to a purchase of this scale, buyers typically require a solid rapport and more in-person support from the vendor.
- Today’s B2B buyers think long term. B2B buyers recognise a bad offering from the outset. Beyond making a purchase or entering into a contractual agreement, they want assurance that your business will be there for them in the long run – after the sale.
3. Nurture relationships with your prospects and clients.
B2B marketing is far from a one-time thing – it’s a long-term value exchange.
B2B buyers are constrained by accountability. When entering into a deal, they need reasons to trust, especially if the product or solution is of a complex and technical nature.
What this means is that marketers – through building strong relationships – have to demonstrate their readiness to go the extra mile for their professional customers.
No B2B buyer wants to risk their reputation by buying an unreliable product and service.
Once you understand what matters to audience and why, you’ll know how to communicate with them – instilling complete confidence in your organization’s ability to deliver.
Case Study: How Flipboard used better insight to strengthen client relationships
According to Demand Gen Report’s 2018 B2B Buyers Survey, nearly two-thirds (64%) of B2B buyers seek out vendors who demonstrate knowledge of their company and offer insight into their problems specifically.
Flipboard’s platform helps millions of people every day navigate and discover amazing content.
Due to its global reach and diverse audiences situated around the world, shaping a distinct brand personality as well as messaging that would resonate across borders was an obvious priority.
“We need to understand our audience in order to best position ourselves in-market today as well as define new segments to attract as our product evolves,” says Amie Green, Head of B2B Marketing at Flipboard.
Using a combination of global and local data readily available through GlobalWebIndex, the team uncovered crucial insight about the ins and outs of their core audiences – profiling who they were and what they stood for.
It was the missing piece of the puzzle they needed to position themselves in a unique and unforgettable way, which ultimately, drove revenue.
The ability to deep-dive into any audience was viewed favorably among Flipboard’s clients, enabling them to be seen as an authority on consumer insight.
The result was a new consumer-centric strategy which expanded partnerships and secured new business.
4. Invest in the channels that work.
Expanding your reach and influence doesn’t happen by accident.
It’s not just what your company is prepared to offer that will make you stand out – you have to shape your message to fit your prospects and place it on the right marketing channels.
That requires knowledge about where your customers spend their time.
If we use our Work data set to investigate research professionals¹ for example, we can see that this is an audience that derives value from the opinion of their peers: 60% research products through consumer reviews and 53% discover brands through word-of-mouth recommendations.And, if we widen this group to include research professionals and
data decision-makers² we can see them divide their time online, on television, listening to the radio, on social media, and streaming music and TV.
Key social media channels for B2B marketers are YouTube and Facebook, with over 70% of research professionals and data decision-makers visiting these networks in the past month.
As well as the right placement, you should also aim to customize your products and services based on what the customer wants and needs, as this relates back to satisfaction and long-term relationship building.
According to recent Epsilon research, 80% of consumers are more likely to do business with a company if it offers a personalized experience.
Personalization can go a long way in giving your organization something positive to be remembered for – a competitive advantage, if it results in repeat business. If you’ve analyzed the needs of the very audience you want to target, you can take your personalization strategy to the next level, like these brands have.
B2B marketing is a discipline in its own right
B2B buyers have a lot of information at their disposal. They can spend a lot of time researching and weighing up options, before they even speak to a salesperson.
Effective B2B marketing is a balance: you need to address buyers’ needs, in a way that captures their attention, and in whichever setting they’re most likely to be in.
It’s hard to do this – and even harder to personalize your content – without access to data that goes deeper.
Analytics won’t reveal how workers feel about their company’s strategy, which tools they use, what their B2B purchase journey looks like, or what their outlook on growth is, and that explains why attitudinal data is key.
If you want to attract, nurture, and retain B2B customers, our world-first B2B data set gives you the facts you need to get more targeted.
¹A research professional is someone responsible for research, data analysis or analytics, who mostly, sometimes, or has no involvement in decision making.
²A data decision-maker is someone responsible for research, data analysis or analytics, who is the ultimate decision maker for their company, sole decision maker for their department, or has equal share in decision making with others in their company.