B2B commerce can be appealing: Not only could you potentially keep B2B clients for the long haul—you could also tap into a potentially huge network of new business. Targeting companies to transform them into clients makes perfect sense. But B2B marketing strategies aren't always intuitive.
In fact, there are some common mistakes that keep B2B marketing efforts from converting prospects.
1. Your B2B marketing strategies are too impersonal.
There's a widespread temptation to choose B2B marketing strategies that sound like they're created and delivered by robots, rather than human beings. We tend to think that since we're pitching to a company that we must be buttoned down and focus solely on facts and figures.
The problem: Companies don't make decisions; people do.
Yes, I always include facts and figures when I'm trying to land a B2B client, but I don't scrub my personality from the pitch, and I certainly don't scrub anything that might elicit an emotional response.
I've found that we all make decisions based on our emotions, even if we take the time to research costs and benefits. If you take the time to research your prospects' pain points and demonstrate how your company can alleviate them, you're making the smart transition to pitching to a person, rather than a company. Make your marketing personal.
2. Your B2B marketing is untested.
With all of the points at which we can collect data and with all the agile, powerful tools we have to analyze that data, there's really no excuse for failing to evaluate the success (or failure) of your B2B marketing strategies.
Think about it: If there were such a thing as sure-fire B2B marketing strategies, we could all be millionaires. But even the most rigorous, inspired approaches to capturing new business can fail. And that's why we must test them. We have to know if the money we're spending on marketing is delivering a satisfactory return on investment.
Try launching a campaign and then seeing how it did, instead of continuing to throw money into a venture that you're not certain is worth it.
3. Your CTA isn't clear and/or explicitly tied to benefits.
If consumers are busy, businesses are busier. Practically no one has the time to listen to a long-winded pitch and muddle through a garbled call to action (CTA).
Try telling your audience exactly what you want them to do and what they can expect to gain from it. In the ABC (Always Be Closing) spirit, make sure you ask for exactly what you want:
“Enter this code to unlock your savings."
“Make an appointment today to experience the best customer service in the industry."
Great B2B marketing strategies deserve great CTAs.
4. Your marketing is all or nothing, rather than incremental.
Marketing gurus know just how effective an incremental conversion process can be for consumers, but I see lots of B2B marketing strategies that fail here. We ask for the sale, rather than asking for a step.
Just like consumers, we can ask a B2B prospect to sign up for our email list. We can invite them to visit our facility or store for a tour. We can offer a free trial.
Once I realized that conversion is just as much a process for companies as it is for consumers, I found ways to put lots more business prospects in my funnel.
5. Your marketing doesn't target the real decision maker.
When you're talking about targeting small businesses, this point tends to be less of a problem.
But when you get to medium-sized companies—the ones that can deliver more revenue—it can be hard to parse a company's layers and make sure your message arrives and is targeted at the right person.
When you're planning your B2B marketing strategies, try to figure out who's most likely to be the decision maker, and make sure your marketing accurately addresses their concerns. For example, the bottom line may be of more interest to the CFO, while the HR manager may care more about easy record-keeping and day-to-day performance. I tailor my pitches to appeal to my prospects.
Does targeting B2B clients make sense for your business? Doing a little homework and keeping these tips in mind can help ensure your B2B marketing strategies are finely tuned.
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