B2B marketing rules are hard to follow. I get it.
B2B marketing often involves an extended sales process, is more geared towards companies (and not individuals, and the inherent complexity of B2B products and services.
With B2B marketing, it’s also harder to identify the right buyers and create the complex pricing structures that it demands.
By the time you get around to the list of things that make B2B marketing fundamentally different from B2C marketing, you’d be forgiven to think that B2B marketing has to be “complex”, “serious”, and more “corporate-like”.
Get anywhere near “complex” and “Hello sir, to whomsoever it might concern”, and I’ll begin to trip, yell, and stomp my feet on the ground.
I don’t like that typical B2B approach, and you’ll do well not to like it either.
B2B marketing doesn’t have to be serious, boring, and “corporate-like”. You certainly won’t get results that way.
It doesn’t need the genius to come to that realization because even with B2B marketing, it’s still people on the other end of the table, call, or email.
If you are into B2B marketing, here are fundamental 17 rules you should follow like it’s religion:
You are not the only one
By the time you read this, there’s going to be another company (somewhere in the world) that’ll be born to give a run for your money. Today, customers have choices. Plus, they have information at their fingertips.
Your customers also get social inputs — and all that they have to do is to ask a question on Quora or on their Facebook group.
If you don’t deliver, customers have choices. You are not irreplacable. You are not invincible. You are not a monopoly.
Don’t be such a fusspot
Let’s admit it: if you are like most entrepreneurs today, you had it really easy (don’t single me out, I’ve had it easy too. It’s just that I choose to unlearn and relearn everything again the hard way).
Be it B2B marketing or B2C marketing, I see way too many entrepreneurs fussing, whining, crying, and dilly-dallying over every single detail.
- Is my logo looking good?
- Will this headline make an impact?
- Is it alright to use this sentence?
- Let’s replace this word with that word.
- I want my custom graphics for blog posts to be perfect.
- The blog posts should be exactly 1345 words long.
- Insert keyword on the first part of the title. The second line of the first paragraph. The 4th line of 6th paragraph.
I ask you just this: After all the fussing and wasting time, what’s your ROI?
The “You” In “Them” Lives On
Most business owners and the average marketers in the B2B space forget that it’s still one person — usually, the person who signed up for your newsletter, the one you are writing the blog post for, or the potential customer — you’ve just called up for a demo — that you are communicating with.
Forget that you are writing to Shell or Apple. It’s still someone out there who you are communicating with.
Write to that one person. The persona. The decision-maker. Or someone on that chain of command that’s a part of your complex sales process.
Let the sales process be what it is. You can always keep your communication light-hearted, personalized, and focused on a single individual.
Write for people. If possible, write for one specific person (who matches your customer persona).
Put that content machine to use
Steli Efti of Close.io believes in content marketing as much as he loves the hustle, cold email outreach, and tripping you on your feet sometimes.
Ask him about how much content marketing means for a business and he puts it this way:
“You don’t need a ten-person marketing team to generate mountains of great content. All you need is the right system.”
Even if you focus on B2B, content marketing works. See how many of these 22 Incredible companies are in Business to Business and they are still killing it
Publish, On Schedule
Talking about the content marketing machine, there’s no excuse to not publishing regularly (Either you do it yourself or hire us to do it for you – we are good at that sort of a thing too).
I have clients who purchase one blog post every 6 months. A few others do understand the importance of publishing on schedule but they don’t even have the time to buy blog posts.
You might have your reasons. I just happen to know how hard it is to publish like that, all the time.
It must be done, however. If you need help, place an order here and see how the first blog post turns out.
Since B2B sales processes are rather long, you’ll need systems to make sure there are no leaks in your own B2B sales process.
If a form is where your typical customer starts her journey (to get to you), use a series of tools and apps and then tie them all up together with the ever-incredible Zapier. There are instances of entire businesses running on nothing more than a bunch of apps. On that note, I believe it’s easier to build a specific system that just works for your business?
Stop being selfish, Honey
Businesses don’t like to give. They like hiding behind fortified glass walls and computers.
There’s no end to this selfishness as I see it. While the markets in the west are beginning to get to grips with the “put value upfront” and “give before you take” way of doing inbound marketing.
But that’s still a rarity.
Few businesses do it well. Most don’t give at all.
I am a real estate consultant. Come to me.
I sell socks. Buy now.
I am a bank. Open account.
I am a car dealer. Want car?
You forget that unless you make a good offer, your customers won’t come to you. If you are in B2B business, prepare to:
- Throw up value out there for your customers even before they ask you for it.
- Be willing to go the extra mile with demos, sales calls, and more demos.
- Answer questions they have.
- Suggest ideas, give them some food for thought.
- Wait while you nurture each potential customer.
How are you getting along with your B2B marketing? Tell me all about it.