A knack, a feeling, a finger on the pulse of the market? Call it what you will, B2B marketing experts know how to blend perfect proportions of promotion and information into their communications.
Many B2B strategies necessarily target buying committees with several key stakeholders, each with their own specific interests. Although these complex contexts often raise communications challenges, B2B marketers are dogged researchers, finding robust data sources that help them sway decision-makers with personalized information.
Defining a Top B2B Marketer
If there’s one characteristic defining the best B2B marketers, it’s flexibility. With enough imagination to walk in their customers’ shoes, these experts are sensitive to the needs (particularly unspoken and possibly unrealized) of prospective buyers.
While remaining constantly alert to customer needs and preferences, effective B2B marketing also means keeping a sharp eye on the competition. Are any opportunity gaps being left open? Responding quickly to unexpected openings through well-placed B2B campaigns is another characteristic of a top B2B marketer.
Effective B2B Marketing Mindsets
Targeting the needs, interests, and challenges of decision-makers who control purchases for a producer, reseller, government, or institution, B2B marketing focuses on the organization as the customer.
That’s why successful B2B marketers focus on nurturing their customers, rather than just pumping up sales curves or measuring ROI. They showcase qualities such as durability and reliability because there are always competitors out there who are cheaper, faster, or flashier.
Instead, they take a longer-term view, pursuing long-lasting relationships with corporate customers as a whole, especially as decision-makers come and go. This is why two of their main goals – brand recognition and customer engagement – are largely invisible, intangible, and immeasurable.
What’s Different About Top B2B Marketers?
Instead of focusing only on selling goods or services, top B2B marketers devote time and effort to pinpointing prospects and customers, exploring the best ways of reaching out to them as a brand. Here’s a quick checklist that successful B2B marketers complete before drawing up their strategies:
- Who takes decisions along the sales funnel: costs analyst, procurement manager, C-suite?
- Where does each of them spend time online, and when?
- What are their preferred social media networks, and why?
- What questions do they ask search engines, and how often?
- What industry events do they attend, both remote and in-person?
One of the main priorities for effective B2B marketing is to establish thought leadership, often by engaging digital content disseminated through social media networks. This is why top B2B marketers focus on five key aspects in their B2B marketing efforts:
- Brand trust: corporate buyers feel confident that get they always get good value for money, with top quality goods delivered in good condition and on time, every time;
- Brand awareness: when procurement staffers see a familiar logo or brand name, they instinctively relax, knowing that their needs will be met as effectively and efficiently as possible.
- Brand education: often using fuzzy keywords in messages (ethics, outreach, and fairness are good choices);
- Brand credibility: exploring new channels is an effective way of reaching out to top-tier decision-makers;
- Brand authority: through a steady stream of well-researched advice that establishes the brand as a go-to source of dependable information in its field.
Top B2B Marketers Retain Customers
This is where B2B marketing really pays off. Every business knows that bringing in a new customer can cost five times more than keeping its existing customers happy. As a rule of thumb, profits can almost double through stepping up customer retention by less than 10%. The chances of subsequent sales can reach 70%, compared to under 20% for first sales to new customers.
In competitive markets, price, quality, and delivery schedules can always be tweaked (although often at hidden cost) to close a deal. However, the best B2B marketers know that these quick wins are best pursued through more direct channels with clear metrics.
Top B2B Marketer Tips
Some people believe high-performing B2B marketers are just naturally talented. But that’s not true – instead, they’ve learned to make smart choices that keep them right in step with market trends and customer preferences.
Like so many other things in life, there’s not just one thing that makes B2B marketers great, rather than just good. Instead, it’s a matter of attitude, doing things the right way, with the right mindset, acting consistently over time to build up confidence.
Here are some of the ways B2B marketing stars stay at the top of their profession, whether interfacing with the outside world or networking at the office.
With customers, outstanding B2B marketers assign high priority to building up long-term relationships with everyone along corporate procurement chains by:
- Ensuring positive customer experiences (often data-driven);
- Responding rapidly to customer expectations (especially with support tickets);
- Ranking information and assistance as more valuable than promoting sales;
- Sharing experience and expertise;
- Personalizing messages and content wherever and whenever possible.
- Offering an authoritative stream of engaging content that translates seamlessly into brand enhancement.
With colleagues, notable B2B marketers focus on strengthening their industry-wide connections while spotlighting corporate strengths. To do so, top B2B marketers are often:
- Trendsetters and early adopters of innovations, actively seeking new angles;
- Eager to work with IT, human resources, product development, and other departments;
- Willing to automate routines, leaving time for creative thinking.
- Flexible enough to pivot on a dime when situations change unexpectedly – as they often do!
Top B2B Marketers Build Trust Before Profits
However, skilled B2B marketers know that building up a reputation as a reputable authority in a specific industry may well be the best way for a company to pump up its profits.
Above all, a top B2B marketer makes a real difference to those crucial bottom lines, particularly in industries where marketing techniques have remained unchanged for decades. Dynamic and even disruptive, creative B2B marketing is a great way for any business to boost sales while spotlighting its brand.
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