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8 B2B Marketing Strategies That You Should Definitely Apply In 2020 [With Examples]

A position of a b2b marketer means following trends, testing hypotheses, always being one step ahead of the competition, and using advanced marketing tools. The most important task, though, is continuously working on highly competitive b2b marketing strategies.

Marketing strategies for the business-to-business market is about applying a unique set of methods and tools which leads to increased sales and total profit. But how do you define the approaches which will work for any concrete business case?

Well, we’ll find the answer together by learning about b2b in detail, namely:

  • What is b2b marketing on the whole and how does it differ from b2c?
  • A typical b2b sales funnel scheme that you should follow when generating b2b marketing strategies.в
  • B2b marketing examples that have proved their effectiveness.
  • The major mistakes that marketers make when implementing the b2b plan.

Let’s jump on the topic right now.

What is b2b marketing? The differences between b2b and b2c

In its essence, b2b marketing covers the methods and practices that one business applies to sell its products to other businesses. This means that b2b marketing strategies are focused on building relationships with other businesses so that its customers are business entities.

On the contrary, the b2c organization is aimed at the production of goods or providing services directly to the final consumers. Thus, b2c companies’ clients are individual people. Consequently, b2c marketing is based on completely different principles and approaches.=

These differences imply some significant b2b features, such as:

  • Since the cooperation with a b2b company assumes the involvement of several high-level decision-makers, a project marketer should consider the interests of several target groups and prepare different b2b marketing strategies for each client.
  • The price of the deal is higher as the sales proposal is directed to companies, not to individuals.
  • The b2b sales funnel is longer. It takes time to lead a potential client through warming stages up to negotiations and approval.

b2b vs b2c

This is how the typical b2b sales funnel looks like (keep it in mind when forming your b2b marketing strategies to ensure that you catch a client at the right time, at the right place):

  • Problem indication

Some business problems (eg. low productivity, a lot of manual work, etc) can exist for years and your task is to indicate those “pain points” via competent and nonaggressive awareness methods.

The b2b marketing examples for this stage are blog posts, cold emails, social media, webinars, search results and so on.

  • Search for a solution

The company understands that it’s time to solve the problem and it starts to seek contractors (in Linkedin, Google, business platforms or asks for recommendations).

At this stage, you need to demonstrate your company/service/project as a solution in all its glory to grab the interest of the client, via catchy b2b advertising, b2b email marketing campaigns, video overviews, impressive presentations and brochures, and other promotional materials.

  • Decision-making process

Always remember that you’re not the only candidate who applied for cooperation. To be chosen in the final round, you should offer something unique that distinguishes you from the competition and proves that you possess expertise and skills required to fulfill the project at the highest level.

Such convincing b2b marketing examples as customer testimonials, white papers, case studies, and free trials will work in your favor.

  • Conversion

In case of successful negotiations, you get a client which means that the applied marketing solutions have worked. However, don’t rush to breathe with relief once the contract is signed. You approached the most responsible stage – project implementation. So do your best to meet client expectations and try to retain him/her for future orders.

  • Loyalty

Make the client eager to refer to you with the next project requests and advocate your company again and again.

For this, use motivational promotions, helpful blog posts and tutorials, and exclusive cooperation terms for regular customers.

b2b sales funnel

Such a complex sales cycle shows that b2b marketing is a fast-changing and intellectually sophisticated area. Although, you’re still able to work in the b2b sector with pleasure, getting great results and incomes. The only thing you need to do to succeed is to compose the right b2b marketing strategies for every stage of the customer journey.

Luckily, there are some universal channels and methods that will work great in any case.

The most universal b2b marketing strategies

On your way to choosing and implementing b2b marketing strategies, you have to do some significant preparatory work. It includes the following steps:

1. Market research

What is the point?

  • Gives an objective basis for marketing, by showing the actual customer needs that should be measured first off;
  • Provides an understanding of how processes are organized within your company and what workflows should be optimized to work more effectively.
  • Investigates the strengths and weaknesses of competitors which helps form a unique commercial proposal.
  • Helps to define the most efficient promotional channels.

Companies conducting research before launching advertising campaigns are able to double profits.

2. Strategy & Planning

In continuation of the market research, at this stage, you conduct a deep SWOT analysis. This approach will reveal market gaps that your brand can fill with its offer and values.

3. Marketing budget

It’s necessary to have one common budget that will be distributed to specific marketing channels and goals. It’s recommended to allocate at least 10% of the company’s annual revenue for marketing tasks.

4. Setting goals with time frames

Start with quarterly goals, being guided by the OKR goal-setting system so that your goals are achievable and relevant at a concrete stage of the company’s development.

Use these analytics tools to define your current marketing state:
  • Google Analytics – to analyze traffic and other metrics on your site;
  • MOZ – for analyzing SEO performance;
  • Hootsuite – to measure the effectiveness of social networks.

b2b marketing strategy preparation

Don’t neglect the opportunity to hire a digital marketing agency to get qualified marketing support in case you don’t know where to start and how it generally works.

According to statistics, only 37% of b2b marketers use an internal marketing department to implement b2b advertising, b2b email marketing and other b2b marketing strategies. The remaining 63% work with specialized agencies.

Why so:

  • mostly, only certified experts work in outsourcing marketing agencies;
  • they use advanced advertising tools and know how to do relevant and scalable market research;
  • they have rich experience and successfully completed projects within various fields. The years of practice will be applied to reach great results for you, too.

By signing an agreement with external executors, you pick up long-term, mutually beneficial cooperation which allows you to concentrate on more important, strategic tasks.

What strategy to choose

It’s crucial to use profitable marketing strategies for the business-to-business market to remain competitive in the b2b field. How many strategies should you include? Which of them are the most effective?

We suggest mixing and experimenting. And these are our must-have solutions that you should definitely apply in 2020 and the years to come:

universal b2b marketing strategies

1. SEO in conjunction with content marketing

SEO isn’t dead, it’s a fact. Almost 90% of b2b representatives do the organic search through Google to find contractors for their projects. 57% of B2B marketers say that SEO brings more customers than any other type of b2b advertising.

By doing SEO, including keyword selection, on-page optimization, link building with grey hat SEO hacks and mobile-first indexing, you have an excellent chance to be noticed by the incredibly wide range of Google users with minimum financial investments.

Add SEO power to your content – create unique SEO texts, graphics, videos, and actively distribute them. The content becomes outdated slowly and works longer for your reputation in comparison with direct advertising.

2. Social networks

The oft-expressed view that social networks are for b2c only is unforgivably outdated. Look at LinkedIn. Company pages work here as prestigious business cards with the possibility to display vacancies, the latest updates and blog posts. A lot of C-level executives prefer Twitter. Why not target them?

Here is one of the b2b marketing examples that deserve your attention. Amazon impresses the audience with nontrivial customer feedback:

amazon marketing

3. Influencer marketing

Opinion leaders, represented by bloggers and niche leaders, nowadays have a powerful voice in favor of brands. It will be beneficial for you to make some reputable influencers loyal to your company, thus, they can recommend you to an extremely large audience.

Think about what you have in common and how you can be useful to each other. For example, if you’re a software development firm, you can suggest free development of some helpful app in exchange for the advertising. Believe me, the payoff for such an investment of your time and resources will not keep you waiting.

By the way, influencers aren’t just individuals, but entire business entities, startups, event groups, etc.

That’s how Tyler Garcia Posey, a famous American actor, advertised H&M: Tyler Posey H&M Christmas Ad.

4. B2B email marketing

The same as SEO, do you think email marketing is dead? No. It just has changed. Keep in mind the fact that company employees spend 13 hours in their mailboxes. Can you ignore this factor? A few years ago, $1 spent on newsletters generated almost $40.

Today successful marketing email campaigns look like personal letters and have these important features:

  • come less often;
  • don’t sell upfront;
  • are aimed at making the reader accustomed to the sender and gain confidence.

Don’t know what types of letters to include in your b2b email marketing strategy? Think about sending promotions, discounts, life stories of your customers or company founders, company updates and news, and educational blog posts.

By the way, we’ve recently listed some immortal newsletter types in our article 8 Must-Have Company Newsletter Types Suitable For Any Business [With Examples and Tips For Creation].

Lumi email examples

5. B2B advertising

To place paid advertising, you are provided with numerous platforms:

  • Social networks (Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Quora, etc);
  • Sponsored publications in related niche blogs;
  • Contextual advertising in SERP (Google, Bing, Yahoo);
  • Retargeting. These are ad blocks that are formed on the basis of cookies and catch up users with a relevant advertisement based on their actions on your website. The conversion rate of retargeting can reach 70%.

A good idea is to start by looking at Native advertising which appears less annoying and obvious.

native ads example

6. Chatbots
Chatbots are virtual assistants which perform the role of a company manager. By adding the chatbot to your website or Facebook page, you will collect valuable data about your customers for future sales and increase the conversion rate by 3 times85% of all customer interactions will be handled without a human agent by 2020.

Luckily, you don’t need to be a technician to develop your own chatbot. You can easily implement it with no code and technical skills using such tools as ManyChatAirChat, or ChatFuel. To get more ideas for chatbot conversational flows, you can use the ready-made templates from Botmakers.net designed for various industries.

botmakers templates

7. Account-based marketing

This approach implies adapting your strategy and sales mechanics to the particularities of the accounts you are interested in (your ideal customers). Today, it’s not the number of subscribers that matters, but their quality. It’s necessary to focus on the interests, geography, involvement, and other parameters of the target audience, which can increase sales an average of 35%.

That’s where you can’t go far without big data. Applying big data in your advertising campaign means constantly collecting and analyzing information about each user so that you can use it for successful targeting and personalized sales.

According to McKinsey’s report, 75% of what users watched on Netflix, and 35% of what they bought on Amazon, was done thanks to recommendations based on the results of smart algorithms.

Grammarly are obviously using the Big Data to make their marketing campaigns more personalized, too.

Grammarly email marketing

8. Mobile-first strategy

More than half of global traffic is mobile. This fact cannot be ignored. Without the mobile-first strategy, you lose almost half of your customers. We described how to adapt your site to the needs of mobile users and to boost sales in our article Mobile Optimization Strategy And Best Practices That Will Get Your Site On Top Of The SERPs.

The major mistakes that marketers make when implementing the b2b plan

Here are some bonus tips which will help you avoid failure with your b2b marketing strategies.

Don’t:

  • Ignore the audience. By defining your audience incorrectly or ignoring its diversity, you can generate irrelevant content or spend money on attracting the wrong traffic.
  • Neglect the necessity of a mobile-first strategy. Mobile traffic prevails today so the mobile-first strategy is a “must-have” component.
  • Lack of communication between the marketing and sales departments. Marketers can spend a lot of effort and money on lead generation while sales managers process the client’s request incompetently.
  • The dominance of tactics over strategy. Chaotic actions towards increasing sales only impede the implementation of the strategy. All marketing activities must be structured, consistent, and pursue the overall goals of the company.

We’re here to help you

What do you do if you’re afraid of wasting money on implementing ineffective b2b marketing strategies by yourself? The ReVerb team will gladly support you by forming an actionable plan based on your business specifics, goals and requirements.

Contact us now to find details on how we collaborate with companies and the results you can achieve by working with us. We are here to make your b2b marketing strategies even more effective and profitable.

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