Are your business-to-business marketing plans keeping your promotional efforts aligned with your goals and objectives? Furthermore, are your marketing efforts proactive?
In a crowded marketplace, where your potential clients have lots of choices, they don’t “need” to use or stay with you! This means that your business-to-business marketing MUST be tight and stand out as the very best option available.
As such, your business success is the bottom line of this article. You must be proactive and intentional with every promotional effort — equip your firm with good automation. Technology is constantly moving and improving; to thrive, you must implement all available marketing automation software available.
Also, you must target your market and develop a reputation as “the best” resource available – trustworthy, knowledgeable, and close at hand.
Without exception, every business professional we have ever worked with has had the desire to be as successful as possible! Well, isn’t that the entire point of starting your own firm? Think about it; when you started your business, was it your desire to be mediocre or “just-get-bye?” Of course not; but, to stand out and succeed you need to embrace proven strategies to reach your goals.
Again, this article is written precisely with this concept in mind. However, there is one small but vital caveat; we’ve been discussing how you can enhance your business-to-business relationships (B2B) to increase your client connections and credibility.
Whether you’ve been in the B2B market since your inception or this is a new venture for you, there’s always room for improvement. If this market is new to you, you may be thinking, “OMG, I’ve never worked with other businesses before; how do I do that, how would I even get started?” Don’t worry; this article will help you with that step.
To begin with, we must define key terms. You advertise to attract new clients; you market to keep and grow your client-base. Therefore, whether you are working with businesses that serve other businesses, or working with consumers, it’s all about relationships. You must speak to your client’s self interests; deliver information and services they want. Provide your clients with things that benefit them.
As you can see, B2B marketing techniques rely on the same basic principles as consumer marketing. However, they are executed in unique ways. Allow me to illustrate, consumers (as in business-to-consumer [B2C] marketing) choose products based not only on price but on popularity, status, and various other emotional triggers. By contrast, B2B buyers make decisions on price and profit potential alone.
Again, whether you have been working in the B2B business for years or this is new to you, think bigger. Allow yourself to embrace the magnitude of the possibilities. For instance, if you are principally a B2C provider, consider doing business with those companies that service your professional needs.
You may be thinking, “How does this apply to me; I only work with one private/corporate client at a time.” The point is, by opening yourself up to other businesses, you open yourself up to business opportunities on a larger-scale. You will still be working with clients one-on-one; you will just have access to significantly more clients.
Consider this example, according to marketingschools.org, the B2B market is the largest of all the markets and exceeds consumer markets in dollar value. Companies like GE and IBM spend an estimated $60 million a day on goods that support the operation of their business.
BUSINESS BEYOND THE OBVIOUS –
If you already work with businesses, this may appear apparent. Your business transaction(s) can go a whole lot deeper. There are opportunities that you may be leaving on the table.
We are discussing the concept of cross-pollination. For example, websites today work entirely different than they did a mere few years ago. Back then, company websites were little more than static, four-color, brochures. At the time, no one was taking advantage of the sharing/referral possibilities. Fast forward to 2019; the ability to share information you like has become standard operating procedure.
Consider a company like BDO; they provide accounting, tax, audits and consulting services throughout the United States and abroad. More than accountants and advisors, they embrace their consultancy; they drill down to their clients’ needs and life-cycles.
In a lot of ways, BDO is the poster-child for B2B business. Like many accounting firms, they provide asset management; but they have also branched out into working with financial institutions and specialty finance, gaming, hospitality, and leisure.
This is not meant to be a commercial for BDO, but an important point needs to be stressed. BDO creates relationships; which in turn drives their referral business.
APPROACHING BUSINESSES –
When company owners think about approaching other businesses in their marketing effort, the first contact is generally a combination of direct and outbound techniques. In other words, messages might be sent straight to clients or prospective buyers, whomever you have identified as a prospective target. If this is the approach that you will be taking, you need to make sure that your message is compelling and persuasive enough that your audience responds and engages with your services.
Your message (a.k.a. your content) is precisely what we are going to be discussing in this section. We live in the cyber world; your prospective clients [other businesses] have many more options today than in the past.
Your clients will undoubtedly have access to things like Google; they will buy you and evaluate your references. Like it or not, we live in a hyper-competitive environment. You will be compared against every other company in your niche available on the Internet.
In fact, success does not happen by accident! You must make sure that no matter who looks for you, you will shine.
First, you need to do your homework. You need to figure out what your prospective client wants. Once you know what your client-base wants, align your services to meet those needs. According to hingermarketing.com, “firms that conduct systematic research on their prospects and clients grow 3 to 10 times faster, and are up to two times more profitable than years that don’t pursue research.”
To piggyback on the previous paragraph, you need to find what you do and who you are doing it for. But if you don’t know your clientele, you’re going to be lost. Once you figure out what your clients want, speak directly to that. Tailor your website, your promotional messages, your “why” to your clients’ specific wants.
In many ways, specialization makes all of your marketing effort easier. Your niche defines exactly what you do and immediately distinguishes you from your competition.
Remember what we said previously; your clients have more options and resources than ever before. When clients go to your website you have to speak clearly to them (specifically their needs and wants), your message(s) has to be persuasive and alluring, and you need to be seen as the expert in the discipline you are promoting.
NEVER NEGLECT YOUR CLIENT-BASE
We speak with a lot of professionals, and this is the number one sin. Company owners and their representatives spend a lot of time, effort, and money attracting potential clients; only to ignore them.
You devoted the time to go after these highly profitable is clients. Now invest business-to-business marketing in a good customer relationship management system (CRM) to keep and nurture those relationships. A good CRM allows you to track and organize opportunities and client information. In short, a CRM will help you stay organized and connected.
A good CRM is useless if your messaging is not on point. To illustrate, let’s assume you sell cars; you meet a “hot” prospect who wants more information before buying. You use your CRM and send prospect lots of material for compact cars. The CRM did its job; except you missed the mark, the prospect was looking for a truck.
Further, a CRM is not the end of the story. Lead nurturing is an essential element to your business growth. Create a variety of touch-points (a.k.a. integrated channels). These channels include…
- Content marketing
- Email marketing
- Social media marketing
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Paid ads
Your website is one critical piece of that puzzle, and targeted email marketing is another. Targeted, analytics-driven email marketing campaigns allow you to deliver offers for specific buyer roles. Tailor your message to your buyers’ particular place in their buying process.
Never neglect the potential of a good email campaign in your B2B market. According to b2bproblog.marxcommunication.com, email marketing is one of the best B2B strategies for business. They state that 41% of companies still send out newsletters. In fact, 86% of professionals prefer to use email when communicating about business. Plus, 75% of companies agreed it that email offers “excellent” to “good” return on investment (ROI).
Well written, need-centric, emails enable you to be a lot more interactive with your clients. Your emails allow you to send a variety of important content to these valued clients, for example:
- Video downloads
- Feedback requests
- Links to in-depth content on your website
- White paper downloads, etc.
Create niche podcasts and videos. Invite your key contacts to participate. By doing so, you are telling them that you consider their experience and expertise valuable. Then, get your esteemed guest to send a link to their friends and business contacts. This strategy allows you to spread your knowledge and skill beyond your current reach.
If you focus on your clients’ needs, these touch-points build closer engagement and educate through successive, relevant content and offers.
These efforts will take many different forms, but underlying and guiding them are just six fundamental principles:
Strong follow up with your current and past patients (to continue doing business with them).
- Targeting the best prospective patients.
- Developing a unique market niche.
- Positioning your practice as the best solution.
- Maintaining your visibility.
- Enhancing your credibility.
- Establishing your brand and reputation.
Finally, when you improve your engagement with your client base, you open up tremendous business opportunities. Also, these prospects help you build your brand.
* Your brand is how the public perceives you. It is a culmination of your reputation, industry expertise, and personality.
There are a number of ways to define, and even refine, your brand. You can showcase your industry expertise through your blog posts and social media. You need to look for opportunities to showcase your knowledge; consider speaking engagements at industry events (for example).
As you can see, the entire point of this article is to open you up to cross-selling or up-selling openings. As mentioned earlier, when you do business with someone that should be the end of the line. Your client has already done their research and decided to work with you. Build that relationship; understand that client’s needs, buying process and cycles. This knowledge allows you to show that prospect or client compatible products or services; maybe even an upgrade. The point is, you make yourself available to fit their needs better.
We know there’s a lot to learn and absorb in this piece. We also understand that learning and applying these essential techniques for the growth of your practice takes time. As a busy professional, you may not have the necessary time to spare.
However, if you can get away from the frenzy of your practice for just a few minutes, we may have an excellent solution for you!
Let’s speak for about 20-minute; no pressure, no hassles, just dialogue. We will evaluate what you have already done, its effectiveness, and possible better strategies. If everything is copacetic, we will move towards developing “field-tested” tactics for increasing your client traffic.
I invite you to learn how we can help you immediately increase the success of your practice, give us a call at 951.294.2274.
From the desk of Claudio Gormaz of Summit Marketing Strategies