Too many B2B organizations believe they can get by without having a marketing strategy. Whether it’s because they work in a niche market, their growth is based on referrals or they only see marketing as an expense with an uncertain Return on Investment (ROI). These assumptions are moving farther and farther away from being true as B2B buyers, individuals or organizations, require much more information and product education before making a purchase.

The buying process has evolved

Before jumping into the main benefits B2B organizations can get from having a marketing presence, let’s look for a second at the complexity of the buying decision. B2B organizations are very pragmatic in their decision making due to the high stakes of their purchase. The overall decision process can take a long time and it usually requires a deep level of information. Often, a company will have to convince a panel of experts with different levels of expertise, different objectives or interests, who are also sensitive to different communication methods.

Furthermore, the demographics of B2B buyers is shifting. Over 80% of working individuals between the ages of 18 and 34 already have some sort of influence in the buying process of their organization. This new category of buyers spends a large portion of the buying process researching what they are looking for on their own using various channels, they are more sensitive to the experience your brand delivers and they are heavily influenced by other buyers’ opinions in their decision process. By the time the RFP is out or before they ever talk to your sales team, their decision will likely already be made.

If the evolving buying process is not enough to convince you, here are some key reasons why your organization should have and grow a marketing presence:

Increases your brand visibility and market recognition

With this generational shift in mind, it goes without saying that your brand needs to be visible and recognized in the market, and information about your solution should be easily searchable and accessible online. As pragmatic as the buying decision might be, it still comes down to building trust. Building a consistent and continuous brand in the market to position your company as the trusted partner goes a long way in the B2B industry.

This is where having a marketing presence really comes in handy. Marketing can help your organization build your brand as a thought leader in your industry by positioning the company as key player who understands current trends, anticipates future trends and recognizes prospective customers’ pain points and how to best address them. In fact, 55% of B2B decision makers say that thought leadership is an important way they vet potential businesses.

Differentiates you from your competition and helps you stand out from the crowd

How does your company stand out against its competitors? Even if you operate in a niche market where all the stakeholders are known, how do you differentiate yourself? Or more importantly, how do you prepare for market disruptions that are prone to leverage a strong marketing presence and divert your target audience’s attention to them?

The answer is simple: by having a marketing presence, your team can create a strategic marketing plan tailored to your organization’s needs that includes succinct messaging and branding that focuses on your unique value proposition and resonates with your audience.

If your business is based on referrals, that’s great too, but for how long? And why not leverage those referrals as strong brand advocates in your marketing plan to further your business and generate more qualified leads?

This brings us to our third benefit for B2B organizations to develop a smart marketing presence.

Generates qualified leads to boost your revenue

While your sales team is busy maintaining existing customer relationships and focusing their efforts on moving leads through the sales funnel, how much time do they actually spend on growing the business? Relying solely on the sales organization to grow the business is bound to clog up your funnel sooner or later.

A marketing presence can help B2B companies generate new qualified leads which marketing can nurture and warm up until they are ready to talk to your sales team. Hence optimizing the sales process and making the best use of your sales team’s time and efforts. According to Hubspot, in 2014, 67% of B2B marketers said they saw at least a 10% increase in sales opportunities through lead nurturing, with 15% seeing opportunities increase by 30% or more.

Marketing for B2B organizations is a crucial component of the company’s health and growth and its ROI is not just an abstract notion as the data in this blog suggests. With more and more sophisticated marketing tools, companies have been able to analyze the results of their marketing efforts and outline clear benefits.

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