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9 ways to improve your B2B marketing

There are three main factors that differentiate Business-to-Business (B2B) sales from Business-to-Consumer (B2C). Firstly, it’s typically a larger investment, anything from $5,000 up to $1,000,000 plus depending on the solution you’re buying. Secondly, the approval process is more complex as there are multiple stakeholders involved, some of who are influencers and others are decision makers. Thirdly, the lead time involved in making the decision can be protracted as a result of these first two factors, sometimes as long as 18-24 months. Generally the bigger the organisation, the longer the sales process takes.

These three factors combined make business-to-business marketing more difficult. Here are 9 ways to improve your business-to-business marketing effectiveness…

1. Plan your marketing to build ‘Know, Like and Trust’

People buy based on trust, and the level of trust required increases in direct proportion with the level of investment. You can’t send out an email or mailing tomorrow, and expect to have a flood of new sales coming through the door next week, particularly if you’ve never communicated with them before. Plan your marketing to be a sequence of events over a period of time, designed to build trust, rather than a ‘one-off’ communication.

2. Content builds Trust

In today’s world, the best way to build trust is by producing content that positions you as a subject matter expert. Content can be anything from reports, white papers, blog posts, videos, podcasts, presentations, webinars, etc. The important thing is to ensure it’s relevant, and valuable, and that you ‘show not tell’ – provide examples with explanations to demonstrate you are an expert.

3. An accurate database is critical

With multiple stakeholders involved in the decision process, you should be communicating with all of them, not just the ‘decision maker’. Plus, with protracted decision cycles, you need to maintain the database to ensure it’s accurate.

4. Referral marketing

Referrals can play a big part in lead generation as well as sales conversion. When someone is referred to you, you’re effectively borrowing trust from the person who referred you, which can lead to higher conversion and shortened sales cycle. Take advantage of this, and implement a specific Referral Marketing system.

5. Your website is important

Don’t think that because you don’t ‘sell’ online, that your website is not important. When people are researching any product or service, one of the first things they’ll do is visit your website, even for large-ticket items. People who are referred to you still want to do their own research, so make sure your website accurately reflects your brand and your business.

[Next: Blogs are important]

6. Blogs are important

Blogs are a great way for you to publish content that your customers and prospects find relevant and valuable, and help to position you as a subject matter expert. And in the process of making frequent posts, you’ll also increase your chances of ‘being found’ online by new prospects when they’re searching for information you’ve written about.

7. Social media helps increase the distribution of your content

If you’re providing great content that your customers and prospects find useful, they’ll retweet or post your information, helping to increase your distribution and awareness. In the process you will effectively start building trust with new prospects before you’ve even had contact with them, which will help to generate inbound leads.

8. Multi-channel

Everyone absorbs information differently, so make sure you use a mixture of media and channels including mail, email, phone, video, audio, meetings and events, as well as relevant social media.

9. Acquisition is Retention

This integrated approach to your marketing is highly effective for both acquisition but also retention of your existing customers. The content and communications will maintain your position as subject matter expert, and help to cross-sell or up-sell your customers into other solutions.

Have you had success with any of the above? It would be great to hear what’s worked for you.

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Joel Norton

Joel Norton

Joel is Chief Strategy Officer of <a href="http://Boosthq.com.au">Boost Marketing</a>, a specialist small business marketing consultancy. He is an accomplished marketing professional with 22 years experience, and is passionate about delivering strategic, practical marketing solutions that help small business to be more profitable. Joel is also a sought after speaker on the elements of small business marketing. You can follow Joel on twitter <a href="http://www.twitter.com/boosthq">@BoostHQ</a>

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