Everything You Need to Know About B2B Marketing: A Complete Guide

B2B marketing strategies have been based on the same core concepts as consumer marketing for decades. However, during the last 20 years, B2B marketing has evolved into its own discipline, with its own set of tactics, methods, and success indicators.

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Photo by Eva Elijas from Pexels

There are two basic business models and are Business-to-consumers (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B). The B2C approach seems quite familiar to us because we engage in this process as a consumer on a day-to-day business.

To streamline business processes, B2B allows retailers to make high-value transactions to a smaller group of customers.

It’s important to assess the strengths, limitations of B2B marketing strategies, and their compatibility with your business goals before you start.

To guide you in making an informed choice, this article explains how B2B marketing works, the function of B2B marketers, B2B marketing channels and strategies along with the best practices to develop your own B2B marketing strategy.

Table of Contents

TL; DR

What Is B2B marketing?

Business-to-business marketing, as the name implies, is the selling of products or services to other businesses and organizations. It differs from B2C marketing, which is focused on customers, in numerous ways.

Let’s say you are a farmer who grows cantaloupe. This year’s crop has been harvested, and you have 1,000 cantaloupes to sell. Now you must determine which route you will follow B2B or B2C.

If you choose the B2B route, you'll need to find a store that will buy your cantaloupes in bulk. This might be a supermarket, a restaurant, or a farmer in need of more cantaloupes. You'll sell them wholesale at a discount to another party, who will subsequently offer them to customers in some way.

And if you choose the B2C model, you would instead set up a farm stand where you would sell cantaloupes directly to customers.

So which one is better?

The answer to this is neither the B2B nor the B2C business models are intrinsically superior - each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. The majority of businesses are better suited to one of the two models. Your goals, infrastructure, and industry decide which model is ideal for your business.

Differences between B2C and B2B Business Models

A business-to-business (B2B) company sells its products and services to other businesses. The business will either utilize the items in its operations or resell them to the end-user. B2B eCommerce platforms such as Alibaba and Thomasnet are two of the most well-known examples.

The differences between B2B and B2C aren’t always obvious. Sometimes, B2B eCommerce stores may sell to consumers.

For example, Amazon is both a business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) company. Of course, it is particularly known for its B2C capabilities. But, because of the wide range of items accessible on Amazon, a growing number of small companies are turning to the site for supplies.

We’ll try to highlight the key differences between B2B and B2C in short.

Buyer’s Purchase Intent

Consumers in the B2C sector frequently make purchase decisions based on their emotions. They may be influenced by advertising, may find discounts lucrative, or may even be looking for a way to relieve frustration.

B2B customers are considerably more planned and data-driven. As a result, B2B marketing is far more informative, whereas B2C marketing is far more fun.

Decision-Making Process

The B2C audience is often made up of an individual or a couple. Your marketing efforts can appeal directly to that person who can decide whether or not to buy from you with relative ease.

Depending on the pricing of your product or service, you may only require one or two client interactions to persuade them to purchase it.

B2B, on the other hand, is more difficult to understand. Rather than speaking to a single person, you appeal to a group of individuals. Impulsive purchases are rare in a rigid company structure.

The high-value B2B transactions are based on their return on investment (ROI), the urgency to make the purchase, evaluation of the solutions, and a set of rules.

Conversion Time

B2B buyers are more deliberate and well-informed about their purchases. This is due to the fact that their purchases are in considerably bigger quantities, and their purchases have a significant impact on their own business. B2C customers are more likely to convert fast and are typically unaware of product variations.

What B2B Marketers Do

Based on their industry expertise, market knowledge, and relationships with prospects and clients, B2B marketers assist in the development of new product concepts.

Market Research

Prior to developing a new product or feature, there are basic concerns of identifying the problems clients are facing and the requirements market has. B2B marketers conduct this research to find out potential customers and competitors in the market.

Set Up Market Position

Following the development of a product or feature, its market placement must be determined. Another function of B2B marketers is to translate product features into client advantages and to find a targeted audience.

Reach The Audience

B2b marketers have to reach all potential customers, inform them about the product or service, and convince them of its benefits. They also need to analyze the output to have details of the sales funnel.

How Do You Develop A B2B Marketing Strategy?

Start With Market Segmentation

A study of B2B international reveals after experimenting with 2000 B2B companies, that B2B markets typically have far fewer behavioral or needs-based segments in comparison with consumer markets.

While a B2C market might have 10-12 or more segments, the average B2B market has only three or four. The major reason for the fewer segments is that the behavior or demands of a professional audience deviate less from those of a (less rational) consumer audience.

The fact the B2b markets have proportionately fewer segments makes the job of the B2B marketers reduced to essentials. Nonetheless, knowing which consumers fit into which segments and how to appeal to each of these groups is a difficult skill to master.

B2B market segmentation focuses on finding prospects who fit your target customer profile. For extremely impactful segmentation, one needs to understand the types of B2B prospecting.

Build Effective Lead Generation Campaigns

Lead generation, or the process of discovering and developing new potential consumers, is a top priority for businesses and marketers, but it's becoming more difficult. According to Hubspot research, getting traffic and leads is the biggest challenge for 61 percent of marketers.

top marketing challenges chart
Source: Hubspot

So, where do you start from in building effective lead generation campaigns?

Often marketers start with paid campaigns and hard to achieve content marketing goals. One of the main reasons behind not being able to meet content marketing goals is they ignore the landing pages.

Landing pages are not only a means of collecting information. Landing pages may be used as a springboard to guide users further into your site and to more valuable information. With marketing automation technologies at your disposal, you can design landing pages, forms, content, and calls-to-action that are geared for that goal: keeping people engaged on your site after they've already converted.

Start with your value proposition, create points of engagement, limit scrolling, use strong calls-to-action, and attach social proof, leverage images, and video. Using landing page videos can boost conversions by 86%.

Keep your CTA’s short and obvious, convey value, and indicate urgency through them.

The most important thing is to continuously test the elements mentioned above and optimize each of them for greater success. Former US President Barack Obama used A/B testing to raise an additional $60 million.

Qualify Leads

Sorting through incoming leads may be an extremely time-consuming procedure for the marketing department. Passing on the improper leads to sales wastes your sales representatives' time and strains the connection between sales and marketing.

Blended lead scoring and grading is a solution to the lead quality conflicts that frequently align these two teams with reality. According to a recent report of APSIS, 80% of marketers use automation software to drive leads as much as 451% and convert more leads than those that don’t use automation.

Automated lead scoring and grading may remove the guesswork out of lead qualifying and assignment, speeding up your sales cycle and ensuring that your leads are better qualified and nurtured before they reach the sales department.

Enrich Your Database

Big firms like Netflix, Amazon, and Facebook all have large datasets. A comprehensive database is, without a doubt, a highly valuable asset, even in terms of the total value of your company.

To sum up “big data” in a single sentence - it allows creating a powerful impact and highly personalized marketing campaigns by providing deep insights into both the market and the customer.

B2B Lead database

The online retail giant has access to a vast quantity of data about its consumers, including names, addresses, payment histories, and search histories. While this data is obviously used in advertising algorithms, Amazon also utilizes it to improve customer interactions, which is something that many big data users underestimate.

As much as a strong database brings opportunities for B2B companies, it is equally challenging to build one. Though the number of customers is not large, they require highly customizable services with a different pricing plan.

B2B marketing has an interesting approach named Account-Based marketing (ABM). The availability of reliable, high-quality data is a key requirement for ABM.

Identify Marketing Channels

In most cases, you'll need to promote through a variety of channels. However, this does not imply that you should market through every available channel. For example, direct mail marketing may or may not be a good fit for your target audience.

That's why it's crucial to figure out which marketing channels your customers use the most, and then create marketing content that will help to solve their problems to run effective campaigns in those channels.

For B2B marketers LinkedIn is the hotbed of generating leads. 89% of the B2B marketers prefer LinkedIn the most as the digital marketing channel.

Create And Send Email Marketing Campaigns

Email opens up a world of possibilities for your company. For years, email marketing has been a rock star for both B2C and B2B marketers. For a variety of reasons, it shows no indications of slowing down.

With so many emails bombarding our inboxes these days, it's more essential than ever to create and send efficient marketing emails. To help you cut through the noise OneMoreLead can help you to verify the email addresses, automate your emails and send them timely.

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Invest In Content Marketing

We've discussed how B2B clients are motivated by knowledge, rationality, and a desire to learn. What better marketing technique than B2B content marketing to meet these requirements?

Content marketing boosts SEO efforts by predicting what your audience is looking for and assisting them in finding your website and content, as well as the possibility of converting them into customers.

Jonathan Franchell, CEO and Founder of Ironpaper points out, "A frequent mistake B2B organizations make is educating the buyer on their own company, product, or service. The buyer isn't ready for that; they are just beginning to understand their problem."

It's worth noting that content marketing is most effective when it's catered to different stages of the buyer's journey.

Track And Analyze The Success Of Marketing Campaigns

How will you know whether your B2B marketing campaigns are successful? Develop a mechanism for tracking the effectiveness of any plan before implementing it.

Keep track of how much money you spend on each campaign and how many qualified leads it generates. Keep track of how long it takes to close deals and which marketing strategies help to speed up the process.

In order to have clear visibility into what’s working and what’s not and to avoid implementing marketing strategies haphazardly, you should have a plan in place from the start to track and analyze marketing data.

Final Word

Even though B2B Marketing caters to a more informed audience, it’s an audience nonetheless. As you already know, no marketing campaign can be truly successful without putting the audience at the core of it.

Want to optimize your B2B marketing efforts? Get Started with OneMoreLead today to get access to a database of millions of verified B2B prospects!

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