The current business landscape has changed drastically in recent years, causing a ripple effect in the way people go about purchasing products and services, especially B2B buyers. Reaching B2B buyers in a new way of doing things, with new expectations and experiences, is a challenge that all B2B organizations are facing. With countless brands competing for attention and customers, it is becoming increasingly difficult to make an impact on these buyers. But organizations that commit to long-term marketing strategies through the development of value-added messaging can yield the most success. What are some of the tactics that will best help organizations reach B2B buyers in the new B2B buying process and constantly changing environment? We provide a few strategies, actionable tips and questions to consider when planning marketing activities to reach the new demands of B2B buyers.
How the Market Typically Looks: The 95-5 Rule
You may or may not have heard of it before, but the 95-5 rule describes how the buying environment looks a majority of the time. It explains that 95% of those in the market are not looking to purchase anything while 5% are in the market actively looking to buy. But here is the problem; many companies treat the buying market as if 95% of people are looking to buy while 5% are not. While both of these segments matter, marketing activities should differ for each group. This is where short-term and long-term marketing strategies come into play. In the short-term, you want to reach the 5% that are in the buying process and ready to have sales conversations while you want to make a memorable impact on those that are in the 95% so when those individuals are ready to buy, they remember your brand, product, service or solution. Applying different short-term and long-term marketing strategies can help make sales in the near term and the future.
Getting Sales and Marketing Teams to Work Together
With the understanding of how a typical buying market looks, it’s time to turn the focus to sales and marketing teams. These are the two teams that make things happen by generating leads, opportunities and eventually converting leads to sales. You can think of sales and marketing in the same way you think about the 95-5 rule; sales individuals are more focused on the short-term while marketers tend to focus on the long-term. Sales teams are pressed to meet individual quotas, close deals and increase short-term cash flow while marketers are often focused on establishing brand recognition and an emotional connection with prospects and audiences. While neither of these are inherently negative, it takes these teams to work together to make the most impact. Plus, sales and marketing depend on each other for success. Without strong brand recognition or impactful content, sales teams wouldn’t have any prospects to have sales conversations with. On the other hand, without sales teams closing deals, marketers would not have any insight as to what works and what does not. Getting sales and marketing to work together to reach B2B buyers in a changing environment is instrumental in moving forward.
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Why Long-Term Marketing Strategies Matter
Despite the short-term impacts of closed sales deals and cash flow, utilizing long-term marketing strategies can bring many benefits. Here are a few reasons why long-term marketing strategies matter:
- Increases Brand Recognition: The more someone is exposed to your brand, the more they recognize it. So, when someone is in the buying process, your brand comes to mind because of the established recognition and relationship built over time. Even if your product, service or solution is not the one they ultimately end up selecting, you have still established your brand.
- Nurtures Relationships: As prospects move through the buyer’s journey, it’s important to nurture those leads. Delivering engaging, relevant content at the right times of their journey will help move them along and at the same time, build an emotional connection with your brand and personal connection with your team. Aside from nurturing prospects, it is also important to nurture current clients. As they develop new pain points or needs, it creates an opportunity for your team to capitalize on and help solve.
- Creates Value: Sticking with a few key influential strategies creates the most value. If your brand strategy is constantly changing, there will be no chance for audiences to establish brand recognition, which is key to building and effective lead nurturing. A brand refresh is not something that should be looked down upon, but if you decide to update or alter any brand elements, ensure they are consistent across all marketing content and distribution channels.
4. Think outside the box
Don’t be afraid to have some fun with your content creation. Social media is a place of personal connection, so be sure to strategize how you can make that happen. Whether you’re a B2B or B2C business, there is still a person on the other side of the screen receiving your message, viewing your content or interacting with your profile and posts. Put yourself in the audience’s shoes and think about what you would find interesting and how you can add in fun nuggets of information. This extra effort in making personal connections and fun twists on things can help the company stand out in comparison to your competitors’ social presence.
Overall, the B2B buying environment is constantly changing, especially with the many shifts in work styles and buyer expectations. It’s important to incorporate both short-term and long-term marketing strategies, but keeping a sharp focus on long-term relationship building and nurturing can prove to be a key to success.
Looking for more strategy assistance on how to reach your B2B buyers? Contact us today or request a free marketing consultation. As a full-service B2B marketing firm, we help companies reach their target audience through effective marketing tactics.