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The Most Comprehensive Guide to Mastering B2B Marketing

B2B marketing requires specific strategies, tools, and influencer tactics to work. See what’s driving sales in the hyper-competitive B2B marketplace.

B2B marketing, as with other traditional marketing strategies, requires proper research and planning to craft a marketing strategy that will work to attract the right prospects, and create loyal customer evangelists. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the key components to incorporate in a B2B marketing plan that will help you generate measurable ROI and establish your brand as the one to trust for the B2B buyer.

What Is B2B Marketing?

Simply put, B2B marketing is marketing to businesses that sell to other businesses. Oftentimes there can be multiple stakeholders you have to get onboard before a purchase can be made.

This inevitably can complicate the B2B marketing process and may make the sale cycle even longer. In some instances, when more than one decision maker is involved, sales reps should use highly personalized sales messaging that speaks to that specific persona’s pain points.

For example, within the same B2B company, the pain points of the CEO may be very different than for the IT Manager – even though a sales rep may have to interact with both parties to close a deal. The key here is to understand your prospect(s) and leverage B2B marketing as a way to meet them where they are by addressing their most pressing needs and helping them see your product as the solution they’ve been looking for.

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What is the Main Difference Between B2B and B2C Marketing?

The main difference between B2B and B2C marketing, as mentioned above, is the customers they serve. B2C marketing strategies are geared toward pitching or advertising products to the individual consumer or the general public. As mentioned, B2B marketing is selling products or services to a business audience. 

In addition, the platforms used to reach potential customers also differ. Where B2C customers are often easier to find using social media platforms, advertisement online in consumer channels like Hulu or radio, B2B customers are often found or engaged with on professional online platforms such as LinkedIn, through trade shows, via outbound sales calls, marketing automation, webinars or email marketing.

In both cases, you might also see advertisements for B2C or B2B through mediums like billboards, strategic product or brand placement in large venues like a stadium.

With B2B customers there may be multiple key decision makers for sales teams to meet with before a purchase is made. This can add more complexity to the process making the sales cycle possibly even longer than in B2C. 

Naturally the question emerges: What can a B2B marketer learn from B2C marketers?

The answer: how to master personalization. A B2C marketer must personalize touch points in the prospect’s journey to move them to want to buy. This same strategy can be used for B2B marketers as well as they try to engage multiple stakeholders who may have slightly varying motivations, needs, and interests.

7 Quintessential B2B Marketing Strategies

When it comes to a B2B marketing strategy, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach that works. Instead, it is important to tailor both your global marketing & B2B product marketing strategy to fit your ideal B2B buyer, their pain points, their needs, and other ways that will enable you to personalize your marketing outreach. 

Although a custom marketing plan is essential, there are some specific ways that you can create and execute a winning marketing channel strategy. 

  • Research

The first step is to get clear on where the pain points are of your ideal prospect. What keeps them up at night? What have they struggled to solve? What gaps are they trying to fill in their organization?

These are questions to consider so you have a solid understanding of where your prospect is in their problem before they connect with you (or any other solution provider). From there, sales leaders want to map out the type of businesses that would benefit from their services or products that are currently experiencing the pain points or challenges outlined.

The more research a B2B marketer does, the more successful he or she will be at creating the correct campaigns to target the right buyers, driving home the right value statements that mean something to the prospect. A very common mistake B2B marketers make is not addressing the pain points of their prospects which makes them less likely to see the urgency in getting on a sales call.

  • Make your business easier to find online

Search engine research has found that 97% of people will look a business up online first, before deciding to reach out or to buy a B2B product. This is why having an online presence is key in being able to attract, retain, and engage with your ideal B2B company. Additionally, it’s a good idea to include geographically specific search terms in your website copy and in ads, if you serve B2B companies within a localized area or region.

Online marketers have also discovered that 46% of people search for local business information, further proving that having a website, or at a minimum a Google business profile, is an important digital marketing tool.

The power of the internet can help B2B companies target their ideal customers and increase both inbound web traffic to their site as well as increase the number of inbound leads in their sales pipeline. 

  • SEO

As mentioned above, search engine optimization is a crucial player in many B2B marketing strategies. Search engines use keywords to help consumers find solutions to what they are looking for on the internet. 

If you want your clients to find your website with ease, Google keyword SEO management is a must. The more relevant keywords you have, the easier it becomes for your brand to be found with a  search engine.

It’s important to think about how potential businesses may search for your B2B offering – both on traditional search engines and through voice-activated searches. In some cases, the keywords a business may use could be slightly different if they are typing into a Google browser, versus using a voice-activated assistant like Siri. 

According to Google, the average B2B customer conducts at least 12 searches online before engaging with a B2B brand to make a purchase. The higher you can continue to rank on search engines, the higher the likelihood that your brand will be continually positioned in front of ready-to-buy B2B customers.

Also, keep in mind that 50% of the content you create and post online helps to generate B2B brand awareness and highlights your credibility or thought leadership within the larger marketplace, and this could help you to increase your B2B sales.

For SEO we recommend you focus on a pillar-cluster SEO model.

Think of it as creating expertise around a main topic which generally has a large keyword search volume. Then you research to determine all of the associated phrases, questions, smaller keywords that could “roll-up” to it. As you build the search out, make sure to interlink your clusters to your pillar article. This tells Google how to properly associate your blog articles to your pillar blog page and begins to give “weight” to the pillar keyword.

In the image below, you can see our pillar topic is “Sales Manager” which has a Google KW search volume of over 8,100 users. Al of the important clusters topics that are related surround the pillar topic. The green lines mean that somewhere in that article there is an interlink made from the cluster article to the pillar page. Avoid the red lines when creating your clusters as they might confuse your audience and draw traffic away from your site.

However, it’s important to note that SEO, when used as an online marketing strategy, must go well beyond just keywords. B2B marketers will want to also take advantage of other SEO aspects such as:

  • User Experience

Core Web Vitals have three key metrics that help score the user experience when interacting with a website. Components such as page loading speed, mobile usability as well as a secured url (using https) are all important factors that search engines consider when ranking a website. Generally, the higher the score assigned to your web vitals, the faster the website is likely to load and, generally, the better the user experience. 

This also influences the ranking on search engines, because  browser platforms (like Google) give preference to websites that are easy for people to navigate when searching for the information they’re looking for. You can check your Core Web Vitals on Google Search Console.

  • Website Architecture

How your website is structured and how pages are linked to one another is an often overlooked component that influences a website ranking. 

It is preferred to have a website architecture that makes it seamless for search engine crawlers to find the content on your website to be able to rank it high for B2B businesses that may be searching for your information.

The goal with your website arrangement is to enable easy navigation for both web visitors and for search engines to find the information they’re looking for.

This can be achieved by taking a highly-intentional and strategic approach to how you structure the hierarchy of your website. This is an important component as it will let search engines know what type of content you are featuring, how your pages are connected, and how to rank your website for various keyword queries. In addition, these ‘hierarchical signals’ give web visitors a roadmap to navigate through your website and it enables search engines to find, index, and display your web content correctly and prominently on search engine results pages. 

To effectively plan your website structure, it’s essential to consider:  

  1. How URLs are created
  2. How navigation menus are designed
  3. How content is categorized
  4. How internal links are used
  • Backlinks

As you can imagine, credibility is an essential criteria for a B2B audience to feel comfortable buying online or engaging with a brand. As such, backlinks from reputable websites that link to your content can help to drive higher brand awareness and engagement. The key is to have quality backlinks that can send traffic to your website and that search engines like Google or Bing will be able to use to improve your search engine query rankings.

These are just a few SEO-specific B2B marketing strategies that can be used to help businesses increase their website traffic and grab larger market share in the online B2B marketplace.

Within Vengreso we have created a minimum criteria when looking for sites that could backlink to us. We recommend you set your minimum criteria as well. We have categorized links in two buckets when we are searching for sties that we would want to backlink to us. Here are our two buckets and the minimum criteria:

Premium Backlinks Must Have: Platinum Backlinks Must Have:
Domain Authority – 40-50 Domain Authority – 50+
Trust Ratio – 0.40+ Trust Ratio – 0.50+
External Backlinks – 500 External Backlnks – 650
Referring Domains – 100 Referring Domains – 125
Organic Traffic – 4,000+ Organic Traffic – 6,000+
  • Social media 

Your social media presence is essential. In a recent survey carried out by SproutSocial, online marketers found that 83% of B2B marketers have used social media to promote their products and services successfully. 

B2B social media marketing requires the B2B marketer to be as social media savvy as possible. According to Sproutsocial, an estimated 3.6 billion people are on social media, a number projected to grow to 4.41 billion in the next four years.

Social media grants businesses access to the entire world. Research has proven that after following a brand’s social media page, 91% of consumers will click to visit the company’s website. As a B2B marketer, having an online presence is absolutely necessary. Whether it is a well-maintained website, an active LinkedIn company page or a social media page that has a lot of interaction – if you’re not online, you’re invisible to the B2B customer. 

This is where having a Social Media Manager and an online Community Manager could be key. These two roles can dedicate their time to overseeing everything you post online and actively engage with both potential and current customers to nurture the business relationship. 

In some cases, B2B companies offer social media groups or build public or private communities that provide additional benefits to their online customers, such as tutorials, webinars, special presentations, etc.

By having an active social media presence, B2B businesses are able to stay tuned into what their B2B customers want.  They provide a platform where buyers and prospects can engage with the company and get vital information about  their products or services, and potentially can ask for or even find options not currently available in the market publicly. 

On average, it is highly recommended that businesses post at least three times a week and seek out ways to actively respond to comments or otherwise acknowledge their customer base. But that’s just a baseline. 

At Vengreso, we grew our LinkedIn company page from 0 followers to over 11K in four and a half years. We didn’t do this by only posting three times a week! We have been extremely intentional about our posting strategy which includes auto-posting from tools like eClincher or social selling tools for employee distribution like EveryoneSocial, and organic native posts directly to our channels. We call it “hand to hand combat.”

For B2B marketers, using more professional social networks such as LinkedIn (and leveraging their employees’ LinkedIn profiles and advocacy) are often better for  integrating your  B2B content marketing strategy with your social media strategy. It is designed as a professional space for key decision makers, so leveraging the search tools and advertising options on LinkedIn can be an effective way for B2B marketers to get and stay in front of the key decision makers that may already be looking for their business’ products and services.

B2B marketing requires specific strategies, tools, and influencer tactics to work. See what's driving sales in the hyper-competitive B2B marketplace.@LinkedInExpert Click To Tweet

B2B Influencer Marketing Strategy

B2B influencer marketing utilizes Influencers, thought experts and subject matter experts within your business, industry or market.  Their expertise, as authors, speakers, analysts lends credibility when promoting your business or product. 

B2B influencer marketing is becoming increasingly common in the B2B market. Influencers use their connections and active networks within the market to promote your business and achieve your business goals. 74% of B2B marketers have found that working with B2B market influencers has vastly increased their client base.

To find an influencer within your domain or industry you might consider leverating Onalytica

B2B Digital Marketing Funnel

A B2B marketing funnel is a way of showing your strategy and how you plan to execute your idea(s). The B2B marketing funnel is another way used to give you and possible clients a visual aid to what you plan on doing. 

The marketing funnel is often split into these parts:

  • Top of the funnel or TOFU: the stage where clients are found and you begin to nurture them.
  • Middle of the funnel or MOFU: the stage where leads are marketing qualified as buyers which meet your ICP and who must be cultivated as there is a possible interest that could warrant a sales engagement.
  • Bottom of the funnel: the stage at which an expressed interest has been demonstrated and it must be cultivated and turned into a sale 
  • Customer evangelists: the point where clients are persuaded to do business with you again and are willing to refer you to their peers.

To be a marketing leader, an action plan must be developed around each stage in order to generate revenue and draw clients new and old.

What is a B2B Sales Funnel?

Very similar to the B2C sales funnel where you reach out directly to consumers to buy, the B2B sales funnel has multiple steps that take the B2B prospect through several stages to move them toward making a purchase.

Awareness

B2B prospects may be aware of their problem and may be actively looking for solutions online. In this way, you can attract them to your website by highlighting the pain points your company solves as well as the types of organizations that you work with. You can leverage paid ads, social media posting, or through email marketing to gain stay in front of your ideal prospect so that they can become aware that you are a potential solution in the market. Your ultimate goal? To convert web visitors into a qualified sales lead!

Interest

Once the B2B prospect has established that your product may solve their problem, they’re more likely to reach out either through email or phone. From there, it is important to provide detailed information that has a call to action (CTA) to move them along the B2B buyer’s journey. Once sales is involved we teach these sales messages to leverage the PVC Sales Methodology to construct the framework of each message. 

By giving your potential customers the opportunity to download an e-book or sign up for a webinar, you can encourage them to engage directly with your company. This is a highly effective way to establish a funnel for lead generation.

When you have generated interest, leveraging the contact information provided is a great way to start to nurture the relationship. For B2B prospects, this may require multiple follow-ups or touch points to get the prospect to take the next step toward either scheduling a sales meeting or to make the final purchase decision. In fact, here at Vengreso we use a 12-step nurturer process. By the time we are done they should be sales qualified and ready to at least take a call from a seller.  

Evaluation

Now, with the prospect aware and interested in your product or service, it’s important to give them the information they may need to consider moving forward with buying your product or service. This could be achieved by providing live demos of your product or service or through the use of webinars or virtual training. In this way, B2B prospects can get a feel for what you offer before they make the final decision.

During this phase however, most forget the most important thing… It’s not what your product does or does not do, it’s how you make the buyer feel when it comes to solving their need or pain. 

Purchase

At this stage, the B2B prospect is ready to commit. As we would expect, today’s modern buyer would have likely engaged and received approval from other decision makers, if applicable. They may need some additional reassurances that they’re making the right decision, so check-in points or reiterating key benefits of your product can be helpful to provide this peace of mind. 

Additionally, providing specification sheets and relating those specs to their stated requirements and providing client testimonials can also add more credibility to their decision.

Find out the quintessential strategies you need for successful B2B marketing with @LinkedInExpert Viveka von Rosen Click To Tweet

B2B Marketing Channels

B2B marketing channels are used to generate leads for your product or service. These leads attract new clients. It’s also important to note that not all of these channels work for every company, such as conversion rates. 

Some of the standard channels you as a B2B marketer could use in your strategy are:

  1. Making use of B2B content marketing
  2. Sending direct mail to prospective clients
  3. Advertising your product or service at trade shows
  4. Utilizing the power of email marketing
  5. B2B video marketing
  6. Account Based Marketing
  7. Account Based Podcasting

B2B Video Marketing Simplified

One area I like to highlight is our B2B video marketing. You don’t have to be huge or mighty to be effective in this area. In fact, our YouTube following has grown from zero to 5,000 followers in just 4.5 years because we’ve been dedicated to making videos!

Take a look at this video here which advertises FlyMSG, our newest sales messaging and productivity tool. You’ll get the idea of what we’ve done with video to make a giant impact: 

Account Based Podcasting a Form of Account Based Marketing

One of the areas of B2B Marketing that Vengreso has excelled at is Account Based Podcasting.  What do I mean by that?  We very strategically target the accounts we wish to engage with, and key sales and marketing leadership within those accounts, to be guests on our Modern Selling podcast and Modern Sales Mastery show. Using this marketing strategy we’ve closed millions of dollars in service contracts with companies ranging from the Fortune 200 to companies with as few as 15 sales people.  

It’s a win/win situation as our guests get exposure to our global audience and mega reach of approximately 50M sales and marketers each year, they get to share their expertise and thought leadership within their peer community, they get to know us better and we get to know them better. This is the first step in the trust building process.   

Inevitably, this makes the end of the conversation a very easy one to transition into which is a sales conversation.  In fact, they will often proactively ask us how we can help them and/or what we do!  

What Is Target Market Identification?

Now that we have covered the general ideas and concepts you may deal with in crafting your B2B marketing tactics, it’s time to discuss how to make a viable B2B marketing plan.

First, it’s essential to note that a strategy is not the same as listing out possible action plans. The process should be simple but effective, and consider all of the possibilities and obstacles that may occur. 

For the strategy, some important points to keep in mind are:

  1. An understanding of where your business stands in the market 
  2. Your target audience – who they are and what they want
  3. Gaps in meeting the target market’s needs
  4. Setting clear B2B sales goals and metrics
  5. The tactics you plan on using to implement your B2B marketing strategy

As a B2B marketer and B2B market influencer, you must carefully plan out your strategy and tailor it to fit your B2B marketing funnel and give it the ability to be as versatile as possible. 

Without careful consideration and proper organization, your marketing plan will not generate the ROI you need to be successful.

What Are the Elements of a Good Marketing Mix?

Having a multi-channel approach to your B2B marketing campaign is vital if you want to have a winning B2B business marketing strategy that will help you make a B2B sale. The campaign acts as a systematic approach to help get to the end goal.

The campaign could include your business being promoted on social media and being plugged into specific advertising campaigns. You could also use it to create a buzz around an existing or new product or even used to rebrand an older product.

A leader in this market should consider the following: 

  1. A straightforward design and description of your selling points will help your business and product stand out as it helps clients see what you have to offer instead of a vague description of what is being offered. 
  2. Research is an important part of the plan. You need to understand the marketplace so you know how your product can fill any gaps in the market.
  3.  A B2B marketer generally has much to offer, and as a marketing leader, your niche has already been found. What’s needed now is to properly execute your plan to make good use of what you’ve found.
  4. Is there a rebrand in the books? You may find that the current version of your product may be a bit outdated. Find a way around this by considering a rebranding or relaunch of products, new or old.
  5. Create a cohesive workflow. The B2B marketing funnel is essential in this aspect of the campaign. Make sure you understand where the campaign is going.
  6. Finally, set realistic and achievable goals. Understandably, you as a market leader have all the resources to make any plan go as smoothly as planned, but consider smaller goals to make sure that every planned and unplanned detail is brought to fruition correctly.

B2B Content Marketing

B2B content marketing uses your business content to grow the brand and expand your business to those who have yet to hear about it. 

This process uses content or services such as stories in the news, blogs that are well known, trade shows, influencer advertising, etc., to promote your business. For a B2B market leader, having a well-executed B2B marketing campaign makes for a successful end. 

The best way to market content towards another business instead of a target audience or consumer is usually what’s easily accessible to potential clients, such as products being promoted, making use of promotion at trade shows, or on a well-known business blog. 

In addition, B2B market researchers found that 80% of consumers are more likely to buy from a B2B business that provides live video demos or other information-based content about how the product works before having to make the final purchasing decision. 

B2B Marketing KPIs

B2B marketing key performance indicators or B2B marketing KPIs are used to review the performance of your current strategy, and to know whether or not it’s being successful. This includes the effectiveness of your B2B marketing campaign and should show how the B2B marketing funnel works in terms of executing the process. Some common KPIs are:

  1. Revenue closed-won is at the top
  2. Daily or monthly website traffic coming from your potential buyers
  3. The products click-through-rate
  4. Lead-to-customer conversion rate
  5. Clients that have risen due to marketing 
  6. Clients that have been around for a while 
  7. How long the product or service will last 
  8. How well the product is performing on the open market

In a recent Vengreso poll, 78% of marketing’s counterparts in sales agree that marketing teams should be held to achieving specific sales quotas to quantify their success.

Often quotas are not associated with marketing and instead are assigned to sales teams. However, the effectiveness of marketing has to be tied back to specific data to determine if marketing teams are hitting the mark to move the company forward toward their B2B sales goals. 

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Are you hitting your Marketing Goals?

A successful B2B marketing strategy must be well-researched and executed with precision in order to achieve the ROI you need to fuel the sales engine. As you can see, there are a number of unique strategies you can use and several considerations to take into account to create a B2B marketing plan that works for your target market.

The goal is to be open-minded to pivot as you get more market insights, so that you can rest assured that the B2B marketing strategies you’re using are optimized and generating the level of results you want for your business.

At Vengreso, we have helped thousands of sellers to level up their digital selling skills and become masters at B2B prospecting.

If you find that it is hard to identify, engage, or close B2B buyers, we can help!

Our innovative, virtual sales training programs will give you the proven sales strategies and tools you need to increase your B2B outreach effectiveness. 

Tired of taking a “pray and spray” approach to your B2B marketing strategy? 

Then the Modern Sales Mastery can give you incredible insights into what to do to get better results.

 

By Viveka von Rosen

Viveka von Rosen is a co-founder and the CVO (Chief Visibility Officer) of Vengreso. Known internationally as the “LinkedIn Expert”, she is the author of the best-selling “LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour a Day” and “LinkedIn: 101 Ways to Rock Your Personal Brand!” As a contributing “expert” to LinkedIn’s official Sales and Marketing blogs and their “Sophisticated Marketer’s” Guides, she is often called on to contribute to publications like Fast Company, Forbes, Money, Entrepreneur, The Social Media Examiner, etc. Viveka takes the LinkedIn experience she has perfected over the past 10+ years and transforms it into engaging and informational training (having provided over 100K+ people) with the tools and strategies they need to succeed on LinkedIn.

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