- Posted by admin
- On June 14, 2016
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- B2B Lead Generation, B2B Marketing
B2B Marketing means selling of products or services by one company to another unlike the selling of products to customers directly. The principles of B2B and B2C marketing are the same but the execution is different. In B2C marketing, consumers consider factors like popularity, status, brand, emotions besides pricing. In B2B marketing, the only two important factors are price and profits. B2B and B2C both rely heavily on social media channels for marketing. Social media enable two-way communication between businesses. Tech- savvy companies continue to find innovative ways to use social media for generating business leads. However, whether B2B or B2C, marketing involves building strong relationships to ensure permanent customers, a valuable and important goal for any business. Today, the B2B market is the largest market and it exceeds the consumer market.
The nature of B2B marketing
Consumers purchase goods that can be used by them, like a toothbrush or toothpaste. However, nylon bristles used for manufacturing toothbrushes or chemicals and ingredients for making toothpaste are sold by one company to another.
Steel, glass, cement etc. are products in the construction business. Drugs used for making medicines in the pharmaceutical business are other examples. Services like electrification, packaging, transportation, fitting furnishing, phone and internet facilities are required by business organizations no matter what the size. All these form part of B2B marketing.
In short, these products are not directly useful to the consumers, yet they are essential. Hence, B2B marketing is indirect marketing. It consists of a series of buyers, sometimes more than two. One company purchases steel as raw material to make some parts of a vehicle. This part is further sent to another company for accurate shaping. The product is sold to a vehicle manufacturer. The vehicle is sold to a dealer, and then it goes to the customer. This chain of sellers and buyers can include any number of companies, depending on the product. It is a combination of manufactured goods and services because cutting, drilling are services.
Moreover the process of B2B marketing is complex. A vehicle manufacturer purchases a number of parts required for making the complete vehicle from numerous companies, some providing services or some goods. Thus, B2B is an indirect and complex process.
The completion of this complex and complicated process can take a long time. Deals are made from buyer to buyer, finally reaching the company that assembles all the parts. Hence, a B2B cycle is an extended process, often lasting for several months or even longer.
The complex nature of B2B marketing makes it sophisticated, and many benefits are not readily apparent. Hence, B2B marketing needs to take into account the technical, the subtle factors. The nature has to be persuasive. The values are different so marketing must be implemented through intelligent and compelling communication strategies.
Core factors in B2B marketing
- Number of buyers: There are few potential buyers for B2B products. There are millions of consumers in view for B2B products. For things like pens, combs etc. everyone is a buyer.
- Identification of buyers: It is difficult to identify buyers. For a product like hair dye, one knows who the consumers may be. For B2B products, you may feel that a company is likely to need it, so you spend valuable time communicating, investigating, following and pursuing, only to end up with disappointment.
- Pricing: Pricing for B2C products is more or less uniform because products are standardized. Pricing for B2B products depends upon the buyer, the quantity purchased, the possibility of retaining the customer in future and differing specifications and needs.
- Set of emotions: While B2C marketing involves brand name, impulse, status or individual emotional value, B2B marketing addresses a different set of emotions like apprehension, fear of making the wrong choice, uncertainty about future trends, predicted level of ROI and trust established between buyers and sellers.
- Branding: Brands are major motivating factors for buyers in B2C marketing. There is almost no branding for raw goods. Corporate branding matters in B2B marketing.
- Practical criteria: More than brands, practical criteria like quality of products, materials used, durability, reliability, competitive rates and product performance are criteria that result in creating leads.
- Risk factor: In B2B marketing, risk factor is greater. A slight error may prompt a buyer to change the supplier. Negligible difference in pricing can make vast difference if quantity is large. A little extra facility like free transport of goods can also influence the buyers.
- Market research: Market research is mandatory and must be taken seriously in B2B marketing to avoid frustration. Therefore, B2B prospects conduct more research, seek more information, evaluate references, and research alternative products, manufacturers, solutions, and providers.
- Product development: A lot of research and development goes into developing a finalizing a product that competes in price and quality with other manufacturers or service providers in B2B marketing.
- Decision maker: In B2C marketing, it is usually a single individual who takes the decision. Occasionally, more than one person is involved. The decision may be impulsive. In B2B marketing, a team of businessmen from various departments in a company take a decision after careful survey of the market, comparison of prices and quality and possible profits.
- Time factor: B2C is a quick process. On account of the number of people involved in taking the decision and the complex nature of the process, lead creation takes a long time.
- Personal relationships: Buyers for B2C products can be captured through advertisements on TV channels, newspapers, magazines or hoardings. A personal touch is not always there. For B2B marketing, lead generation depends a great deal on strong relationship of trust and loyalty.
- Trained staff: For generating leads for B2B marketing trained personnel must be appointed who are well-versed in technical details of the product, the market conditions, prospects; they must have excellent communication skills.
- Third party involvement: Before spending vast amount on purchases, companies follow the practice of verifying the credentials of suppliers from other clients and customers and their previous experiences.
From the typical characteristics of B2B marketing it is obvious that there is a clear difference between B2B and B2C marketing. Hence B2B marketing and creating sustaining leads for products and services need different strategies. Strategies must be innovative, result-oriented and constant.
- Companies that use products for further processing like sheets of steel, panels etc. in construction companies.
- Schools and hospitals.
- Companies that resell their goods to consumers like retailers, dealers, whole sellers.
- Government agencies, banks etc.
Lead generation strategies for B2B marketing
B2B marketing success doesn’t come from broadcasting a product over radio or television. B2B marketing success comes from embedding your company in the industry. B2B marketing must be focuses and planned. B2B must present itself as a brand to a specific customer. It is necessary to understand the exact needs of the customer. When you present a sample product and convey to the buyer that you can also alter it to suit the needs and specifications of the customer.
There is no single key solution for lead generation if you are looking for it. It must be understood that you don’t just generate a lead today; you guide it. There are 4 main online strategies for lead generation: email marketing, search marketing, social marketing and content marketing. At the same time, one must keep in mind that how you use a channel is as important as what channel you use. For example, a particular channel can be used for B2B lead generation as much as it can be used spam potential leads and tarnish a brand. No doubt the channel that you use for B2B lead generation will play a significant role but the nature of your campaign will play a greater role.
- Emails: Emails are being used successfully for the last 23 years. Email is the most popular means of online marketing. In B2B marketing, email enables marketing automation. Marketing automation tools support email marketing tools, which in turn connect with CRM to enable you to automatically send highly targeted emails to leads that are personalized specifically to them. Sending newsletters on emails is a traditional way of targeting customers. B2B companies are becoming smarter day-by-day in the way they target users in the inbox. Targeting a small number of leads brings better results. It is ideal to contact about 50 to 100 customers per month. Include a letter with a personal touch in each mail. It will fetch more leads than contacting thousands without a personal touch.
- Search marketing: Successful use of SEO is becoming more and more difficult. Yet, if you want to implement every marketing tool, SEO can be of help. Most companies manage blog and article content in such a way that they get SEO leads. SEO works best hand-in-hand with other issues like branding, design, quality, product development and so on. Be sure to identify apt key words and integrate them in the body of the content.
- Social marketing: Social media marketing is gaining a strong foothold as an effective B2B lead generation strategy in the marketing field. Creating a Facebook page along with a website and parallel connections with twitter and LinkedIn go a long way in generating leads, keeping you flashing before prospective buyers constantly. Focus on groups that are related to your job. Establish contacts in the group and you have sure chances of hooking a few leads. Ask and answer questions in these groups. Start making a list of prospective customers. Most company people are registered on social media and one way or another; they get linked to you either personally, as a representative of the company or both. Another consideration is that social media is an integral part of content marketing, and to some extent, search marketing. Your blogging or infographics cannot be very successful if no one is following your company’s updates on social media. While looking for a dozen or so clients care should be taken that you don’t get caught in the trap of friends, likes and followers. Start building trusted relationships based on your expertise and your network, start referring others and connecting these people to the tools, answers and resources they need and you’ll start to generation the right leads in social media.
- Webinars: Education through webinars also helps to generate leads. Prospective buyers often find that they are getting valuable information and advice through webinars. Perhaps, they may get a solution to the exact problem they are struggling with. They begin to look upon you as philosopher guides, and look forward to stay connected with you. They may even develop a respect and trust and may ask for your advice when they need it. Extending a little help will confirm a worthy relationship. This is the best opportunity for you to target them for lead generation. Prepare yourself thoroughly for conducting the webinar. Follow the timetable declared. Acquaint yourself with necessary technical knowledge and be professional and confident while you conduct the webinar. Follow-up is essential after the webinars. Remember that people who sign up for your webinars already have a potential interest in your products!
- Warm Calling: When people are engaged with Whatssapp and other similar apps on mobile phones, it may sound a little out-dated to use telephone calls for generating leads. Yet, it is an affordable technology. If you pick up the phone after thorough research and state that you are not selling anything, you can manage to get patient listeners. You can mention that you would like to drop by and discuss it in detail – a topic that you are both concerned with. It is possible to create valuable leads through warm calls if you pursue the matter.
- Networking: Reach out to your existing contacts first to find out if there are people interested in your products or services. If you succeed in generating even one lead, be sure to advertise it widely on all social media. One success may help to create more. Put up a photograph or two. Wide publicity of a success story on social media is like a certificate of trust, reliability, professionalism and serious business. In a short time you can hope to become a lead magnet.
- Paid ads: Advertising is the easiest tactic. Anyone with some cash can throw up ads and generate a few clicks and maybe even leads with very little effort. The way to create the highest quality leads is to invest in teaching them how to be ideal clients. You can use your advertising to drive prospects to any number of educational opportunities, such as video tips, webinars, eBooks, and your podcast, knowing that the traffic you send to these elements will do the proper job of educating and ultimately selling.
- Blogging: Blogging helps to create leads in B2B marketing if written carefully and managed in a proper way. Blogs can educate buyers, answer their queries help them solve problems, provide necessary information and prepare the ground for lead generation. Hence, blog topics must be selected on the basis of a careful study of customer needs, their weaknesses, dark spots and preferably, their suggestions and inclinations. Regular blogging serves as a communication platform where people with similar interests can interact or write comments.
- Whitepapers: A white paper is an informational document issued by a company to promote or highlight the features of a solution, product or service. White papers are sales and marketing documents used to entice or persuade potential customers to learn more about or purchase a particular product, service, technology or methodology.
Valuable content can be offered to prospective leads through whitepapers. Once you identify leads, you can nudge them and push them when you get an opportunity, proceeding towards the final deal. Remember to write your whitepapers after deep study and research. Include statistics and analytics.
- Content: Online content is published in various forms and text sizes. It ranges from one-liners to whitepapers. It is necessary to write content in different formats for B2B lead generation. Hard copies of pamphlets and brochures must be prepared as a support, although not very much used by companies nowadays. Most of it tends to be discarded without being read. The journey of buyers in B2B marketing can be of any length involving a chain of buyers. You must assume the buyer can be at any stage of the journey. Content must address each stage so that you can accelerate the process of lead generation. Create useful content that benefits your target personas and gate it for lead generation.
- Data base: Maintaining data base with complete details of previous and prospective buyers is very important. CRM databases are a rich resource of prospective buyers and going through details can help you to locate some valuable lead prospects. Use all available qualitative and quantitative data available to analyze the pitfalls in the buyer’s journey.
- Forms and landing pages: Including forms on the landing page of websites is indeed a quick and simple way of searching for interested customers. Even those with the slightest interest are tempted to fill the form with the hope of making a profitable deal. When they are confronted with a form, they decide to fill it hoping to get a call or mail in answer. These fish should not be let loose at any cost. However, they will escape your net if they find the forms too lengthy or demanding information for which they have to open files or consult others. Hence, forms must be simple and short. The most important information you need is their email id and contact numbers. Once you have these, you can procure any amount of information later. Craft beautiful forms and optimize them constantly.
- Websites: The moment one wishes for details about a company or product, one checks out whether the company has a website and visits it if there is one. You always know who and how many have visited the website. It is almost always linked with your Facebook page, Twitter account and LinkedIn. You can know who has visited these pages. Hence, although someone does not fill in your form, the list of visitors is enough for you to follow the visitor. A good-performing website converts between 7-14% of visitors and is optimized toward this goal. A lot of people think that beautiful websites are better, but studies show that even ugly, but functional websites can be just as successful, if not more successful at converting leads. B2B companies can increase the leads coming from their website by offering a demo or trial version of their service. The best way to set this up is with several calls to action throughout the site that lead to a landing page offering the free demo or trial.
- Trade fairs: Trade fairs are places where business people meet for sheer business purpose. Participating in trade fairs is like a get together of business people. Prospective buyers also make it a point to visit trade fairs as much as manufacturers or service providers. Book a stall in a trade fair. Distribute brochures and maintain a record of all visitors in a notebook although this may be cumbersome. Call back each visitor later on giving reference of the trade fair. This kind of activity is vital in generating B2B leads. The buyer company representatives directly come in contact. Sometimes, all the companies involved in the B2B marketing chain can meet during a trade fair. Business contacts can be developed through trade fairs.
B2B marketing is unique. There are many established strategies that work to a fair degree, yet there in no single strategy that is a golden wand. The nature of goods and services differ, the number of stages in the buyer chain differs and the size of companies differs, the same strategy cannot be successful in each case. The golden rule is to experiment with different strategies relentlessly. Patience and efforts are required. Old strategies lose effects with passing time. Innovation on the part of companies is the best way to survive in the B2B lead generation industry.
B2B marketing solutions are offered by a number of companies these days and it is worthwhile to assign the task to experts. The companies manage data, track customers and help to generate B2B leads successfully. iTivia Technologies offers B2B lead generation services along with a number of other outsourcing solutions for success and growth in business.