According to a recent study, 38% of the b2b buyers visit at least four websites before making their first purchase. More than 50% would spend a week or more before selecting any brand. In consumer marketing space, do we linger on with a product for so long? No. It is apparent the buying behavior of a B2B customer is not sane as a B2C customer.
Buying behavior is a combination of rational and emotional factors. Although both the elements are present in both, B2B, as well as B2C buying, the proportion varies. That is what makes selling to businesses different from selling to consumers. While consumer targeting companies touch the emotional part of the consumer, B2B create selling processes that satiate the rationality need of their business customer.
The underlying cause for different buying behavior of b2b customers is the fact that the ticket size is high, products are complex, and the number of suppliers is increasing in every niche. A wrong decision can cost them an arm and a leg and sometimes a fortune when they are selling the product to the end user.
Therefore, it has become quite challenging for the b2b suppliers to attract worthy customers and retain them. Capturing new leads is not as significant a milestone as engaging them and nurturing them. Smart marketers understand that it costs five times to win a new lead as much as to retain an existing customer. Therefore, they focus more on strategies to engage their current customers than fiddling around to attract more leads. In this article, we will see how smart b2b brands engage their customers and prospects.
Competition in B2B is increasing each day. The apparent result of high competition is the price war. To escape from the price war and charge what you deserve, smart b2b suppliers position themselves as a brand and authority and soar above the rest.
Branding does not stop at having a logo. It is a perception you build in the minds of your customer that you are professional and the best. From visuals to style guide you choose the different elements of branding to create a personality of your brand.
Visuals are an essential element of branding. Carefully select the color pallet of your brand (colors have their own language), the tone of your voice, style of writing, graphics, fonts, user experience and the layout of your site.
Online Is the New Thing
Although digital e-commerce is a popular channel amongst b2c customers, the shift is moving toward b2b as well. Smart b2b suppliers are moving every stone possible to engage with their customers be it offline or online.
With the habit of finding products to reviewing and closing the deals online in the consumer space, people expect the same buying experience from the b2b suppliers. Marketers do what their customers want, right? So, in this era, you simply cannot ignore your online and social media presence. In fact, that’s the key how you can engage your customers the most.
Be present on the social media channels that are relevant to your niche. Engage them with helpful and educative content. Videos and infographics are consumed like hot cakes. Although, find out where your target audience hangs out and what type of content works for that channel.
Helping vs Selling
Teaching is the new marketing!
Smart b2b sellers have descriptive blogs on their websites.
Blogs are a double-sided sword. It does not just help you improve the SEO of your website but also educates the customers.
Having video tutorials or blogs is not a ‘good to have’ option for a b2b company rather a necessity. B2B products are complex. A first time customer may not be comfortable with jargons of your industry, what purpose does your product solve and why he should buy it.
Step into the shoes of your customers and dig out what they want at first glance.
Intelligent b2b suppliers have content for all the stages of a buyer’s journey. If you do not have a brand name, create ample content for the top of the funnel and attract first-timers and catch them young!
Often, different departments of the organization work in silos. Smart marketers share the customer data collected at various touch points across the departments. This leads to a better understanding of customers requirements and a great user experience.
Some organizations employ project managers for big clients. The project manager hand holds the client throughout his buying journey supplementing them with all the information and assistance required at every step. This leads to better engagement and retention of the client.
Targeting & Segmenting Your Customers/Prospects
This is when you are planning your email marketing or social media marketing strategy. Not all customers would be on the same stage of the funnel. Some of your customers must be the loyal ones, some would be prospects evaluating different options, some might have seen you for the first time.
How do you make sure that you send them the relevant information that is required by them to nudge them down the funnel further? Many companies employ marketing automation for this.
A marketing automation tool gathers data from various touch points and segments your customers/prospects. This way you can send them highly relevant content that leads to a higher engagement rate.
With the above strategies mentioned I hope you must have got an idea of how smart businesses are engaging their b2b clients more effectively.
Almost all the strategies are easy to implement and does not cost you pretty penny. Digital presence and content marketing are changing the way businesses are done. Let us know in the comments your views on engaging b2b customers/prospects, what has worked well for you and which strategies should be avoided.