B-to-B: Focus on Quality
Long sales cycles. Complex products and services. Limited brand recognition. These are a few of the top challenges B-to-B marketers face that B-to-C marketers usually aren't saddled with on a daily basis while trying to fill the proverbial lead funnel. But that doesn't mean B-to-B marketers have to throw in the towel. Here are a few sensible tips for B-to-B marketers to follow to improve lead quality, while growing their company's digital footprints.
1. Date Before You Propose
B-to-B sales cycles are extended and complicated. Often, especially for small and mid-sized enterprises, recipients don't know a company or its products. Or, at least they aren't as intimately familiar with a company or its products as the marketing team would hope. Yet, far too often B-to-B companies drive their entire communications campaigns around a series of disjointed, tactical and singular communications taking a specific transactional approach.
Marketing communications should be orchestrated like a courtship, not a one-night stand. Most people usually don't propose to someone after a first date. Similarly, prospects aren't going to make large, complex purchases based on a single "special offer" e-mail or outreach. Prospects need to warm up to a company over time, feel comfortable and get to know the company before engaging in a buying cycle.
2. Give, Don't Take
Instead of asking a lead for an order in a series of tactical outreaches, give him something of value—educational content to help get him up to speed on the market, your company, products and specific solutions. Give third-party validation of the solution via customer case studies that demonstrate why and how peers have used the solution or industry reports that illustrate how the product compares with competitive offerings.
Also use content-based marketing to educate prospects about general market trends; which may, of course, lead the prospect to the conclusion that your product is the right solution for her needs. In other words, take prospects by the hand and lead them down a decision path.