The way we buy and sell is changing dramatically. Buyers are now in control and traditional selling methods of years past just won’t cut it. This challenge for marketers is becoming even more apparent with the explosion of digital and social media. Messages that were once for the masses now need to be targeted and short-term sales cycles are no longer the norm. You have to build long-term relationships if you want to be successful.
At Pierpont, we see dozens of clients trying to break through the clutter while still relying on old B2B marketing tactics. And it often doesn’t work. Instead, the companies succeeding in B2B sales today are incorporating a fusion of B2B and B2C marketing and remembering it’s more about B2P – you are selling to people. We know some traditional B2B buying methods, such as RFPs, aren’t going anywhere. However, the key is to think more like a consumer company, even in these situations. Build a relationship with your target customer and then move in for the sell. When done correctly, you can change your customer’s buying behavior.
So given this information, let’s talk about the five B2B marketing mistakes:
1.) No Relationship: When selling anything, you must remember there is a person on the other end who is going to buy your product or service. People naturally do business with other people they trust and like. As a marketer, your goal is to build your customer’s trust in you and your brand. Like I said above, B2B marketing is still B2P marketing – selling and marketing to a person.
2.) Not Listening: To be an effective marketer, you need to understand what motivates your customer to buy and how to properly engage them in a conversation. By understanding their needs and what they are looking for, you can tailor your product or service accordingly. Also, don’t assume you know what your prospects and customers want and need. Ask a lot of questions and be open to what they say. It may be different than what you thought.
3.) Confused Brand Messaging: When you’re not actively listening, the message you’re communicating may not be one that resonates with your target market. By keeping your customer a part of the strategy development process, you ensure their needs stay top of mind and are fully integrated into your message. And make sure your message is consistent with execution – it has to be if you want your customers to connect with your brand and trust it.
4.) Value Not Quantified: When you are selling a product or service, the buyer always wants to know what’s in it for them – bottom line. All too often, companies focus on building a narrative about their business and who they are. The story is important for sure, but it’s irrelevant if your prospects and customers don’t know what they are getting out of the relationship. In each communicated piece, it is vital you provide a compelling offer and a call to action. Remember – marketing is still selling! If someone doesn’t understand the value and want to buy it, then your marketing didn’t work.
5.) Website Not Optimized: Today, a company’s website is the best and most efficient sales tool. It can create better leads, provide credibility and ultimately shorten the sales cycle. BUT it must be used correctly. By incorporating consistent brand messaging, compelling offers, top industry keywords and solid, frequently updated content, you can ensure that prospective buyers find your website and stick around long enough to make an informed decision.
The last and likely most important thing to consider when revamping your B2B marketing strategy is you must genuinely have confidence in its effectiveness. When you believe in a successful outcome, your team will too.
To read more about some of Pierpont’s successes in B2B marketing, click here.