Hackernoon logo4 Essential B2B Marketing Strategies in 2021 by@yuliaova

4 Essential B2B Marketing Strategies in 2021

Yulia Ogorodnikova Hacker Noon profile picture

@yuliaovaYulia Ogorodnikova

Head of Marketing at Tools for Brokers

B2B companies in particular used to rely on real-world networks of professionals to build customer relations offline. However, sales have moved completely online and C-suites are focused on became even less approachable.

Let's be honest — there is no way back to the prepandemic B2B marketing. Even when the world eventually gets back to normal, businesses will get used to the new reality. It's never later to be ready — below are some considerations on how to start your online marketing journey.

1. Digitalised offline. 

Many businesses have already gained a lot from shifting their offline conferences online or increased the number of webinars and webcasts to compensate for the lack of networking events. It is worth starting to do it even now — why not give a try to a new platform, Clubhouse? But be very careful — it is much easier to participate in an online event than ever before, and at the same time, much easier to leave it. On top of that, you will probably compete with several other conferences and webinars online. A participant may connect at any time, and several minutes are enough to form an opinion about what is going on — and whether to stay or leave. 

Pay attention to your program, timing, and general appearance of the event. Don’t sell your products unless an event is about the product, and don’t ignore the audience. Instead, try to communicate with your audience to increase involvement. Most importantly, don’t allow the event to be boring. And don’t give up — even if your first webinars are a disaster! 

2. Digital reputation management. 

Undoubtedly, face-to-face business and the role of sales representatives are still essential. Long-standing relationships allow B2B companies to stay in touch with potential clients throughout the long sales cycle, including several decision makers. However, the decision journey is already different.

Business buyers' behaviour has become more like the consumer. Thanks to social media and other digital platforms, customers may have already got an idea about the brand or products and services long before the initial contact with your company. 

Now, when all our clients moved online, paid more attention to your online reputation. In addition to digital PR and owned social media development, implement social selling. Choose several of your strongest sales representatives, along with top management staff, and start to create engaging content and blog posts. Let’s be honest, nobody starts a conversation online without checking a person’s social media.

And helping sales reps building their reputation online keeps customers interested because they don’t see a company as a separate entity, they perceive it and its employees as a whole. Now is the time when marketing should focus on the long and sophisticated path of building awareness and reputation online, as well as tailor their digital-strategy to the sales goals.

3. Account-based marketing. 

No more a buzz-word but a working strategy in marketing is an account-based marketing (ABM) program. At its core, it is very similar to a personalised approach by targeting the precise companies and delivering exclusively relevant content: IP address-targeted ads, personalised content or customised website experiences.

Sounds interesting! However, very often, startups and small businesses can’t afford such a narrow approach to lead generation. Although ABM won’t work for each company, there are still some working instruments that we used successfully.

  • Create customised marketing content. Keep an eye on what topics our current or potential clients are most interested in by collaborating with the sales and customer success teams. Sales are the first point of communication with customers, and the success team is the closest team to the clients — their insights are crucial. Take advantage of what they know — don’t only rely on your own research or hypotheses.
  • Use account-based digital ads. We all know there are never enough investments in digital advertising — paid search, retargeting, SEO, etc. — some companies are still burning all their cash on it. However, B2B startups and small businesses must do their digital ads strategy to a specific audience. Know exactly who your customer persona is — age, geography, interests, etc. — and test your hypotheses as often as possible. More iterations bring effectiveness.
  • Narrow your offer. Don’t promise to solve all of your customer’s problems — it’s impossible and doesn’t help you to find your client. Start with website, sales collateral, and digital ads and create a single valuable proposition. 

4. Analytics. 

The beauty of performance marketing is that you can measure the impact of your actions and, therefore, identify which activities are the most effective. However, analytics can sometimes be misleading. For instance, once you have implemented a digital strategy, you may see a substantial increase in leads, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that you have found a goldmine of marketing tools. 

Very often, after proper analysis, you realise that it simply means that you have a significant amount of untargeted leads. In comparison to more selective communications at expos, Google Ads or Facebook Ads may bring people who aren’t actually interested in the company or products.

Together with the sales and customer success teams, organise an analytical procedure that helps you to clearly understand which channels and campaigns gain targeted leads and which of them are burning money. Focus on quality, not quantity!

Conclusion

Challenging times force B2B businesses to review their best marketing practices. Thanks to the wide range of digital tools available, it is possible and sometimes even more efficient to maintain and develop the entire decision and customer journey online.

Once your digital strategy has been implemented successfully, the new approaches will help your business stand out from competitors.

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