When it comes to business-to-business (B2B) marketing, anyone who has been operating in the space understands it comes with a particular set of challenges.
Unlike marketing to consumers, B2B companies often have to deal with longer sales cycles, smaller audience markets, and higher ticket prices. In addition, they must first generate leads to follow up on as opposed to selling a product directly.
This makes B2B marketing challenging. While I can’t cover every challenge you may face in your B2B marketing efforts, let’s look at some common obstacles you may be facing and how you can overcome them to grow your business.
Embrace digital marketing
If you’re reading this article, you may have already embraced digital marketing as part of your business growth efforts.
Or maybe you’re still trying to understand if digital marketing is right for you. After all, business has always been good and you have plenty of new and existing customers to keep you busy. So why go all-in on digital marketing?
Truth be told, the old way of face-to-face marketing and sales is quickly becoming obsolete.
According to a 2014 Accenture study, only 12.4% of buyers want to meet with a sales representative in person or even over the phone. A significant majority (71%) prefer to perform online research, with or without the help of a salesperson.
A handful of questions for B2Bs looking to maintain or earn their digital authority might be:
Are you going to become a destination for research or let searchers land on your competitors’ websites?
Are you going to let someone else educate the buyers, thereby earning their trust, or
Will you be the one at the forefront of answering questions and providing value that walks researchers into a sale?
Digital marketing is cutting down a lot of the lead time it takes to close the deal. It may not eliminate it completely, but it is helping buyers become more informed than ever. Becoming an online authority in your niche opens up new opportunities for branding and, ultimately, proving your value long before buyers are ready to reach out.
In the digital age, we are all publishers. I often make this point when speaking to other businesses about digital marketing.Not until the last few years were any of the companies above known as content producers.
Netflix and American Movie Classics (AMC) started by broadcasting shows and movies from other studios, now they’re both powerhouses in their prospective areas. And even though no one really thinks of Red Bull or Chipotle as content producers, they have both been active in creating entertaining content.
You don’t have to try to compete with any of these companies when it comes to content, but you do need to get into the content-creation mindset which is not easy.