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August 16, 2018

Business to Business Marketing Strategies That Work

Business to Business Marketing Strategies That Work

If your business model revolves around selling to other businesses rather than individual consumers, it’s important to understand the different approaches you’ll need to use to get the best results. Business buyers want to know what your product can do for them, and how cost-effective it will be. Then they need to be convinced that your terms and conditions, supply chain, and customer liaison services will be of a high enough standard. They won’t be impressed by clever marketing tactics that are designed to appeal to the man or woman on the street. Their motivation is to find the best product and service for the optimal price, thus fulfilling their role as a purchaser for their business.

What do B2B customers want?

Before you start planning any communications or advertising campaigns, you need to do your research and find out what your potential customers need the most. This could be anything from the right quality slewing ring bearings used when manufacturing equipment or simply a rapid turnaround. If you supply paper towel dispensers for instance, what is the industry standard for quality, price, and supply terms? You don’t necessarily have to undercut your rivals, providing you can deliver something that makes your whole offer more attractive, like longer payment terms, faster supply, a better replenishment service and so on. See if you can isolate a problem area or take advantage of a service element other companies aren’t supplying that your potential customers have a need for. It could be that you can offer a wider range of products, so they don’t have to use a lot of different suppliers. Or perhaps you have a particularly eco-friendly range that ticks the green boxes for purchasers. Just like having a USP in B2C sales, you need to find out what you can do for your customers that will set you apart and make you stand out from the crowd.

What information do your potential customers need?

Purchasers, whether they are the head of a department in a large organization, or an entrepreneur running their own small business, are all busy people who need information that helps them make a sound, cost-effective buying decisions without taking up any more time than is necessary. Therefore, they want to see communications that get to the point, telling them what they need to know about the product, and why they will benefit from buying it. You need to make sure that all your marketing materials and communications contain the essential information about the product to help them make decisions. For instance, they may need to know whether an item conforms to certain safety or quality standards, what the color options are, what it is made from and how the materials were sourced, and where the product was manufactured. The precise facts each buyer will need may vary according to the industry and an individual company’s priorities. For example, the ecological provenance may be more important to some businesses, whereas the safety testing may be more relevant in another.

Building up relationships with your customers

Selling to other businesses requires a close working relationship with their buyers. They need to know and trust you and your company and be confident you will always give them the best possible service. Your first steps in forging profitable relationships are to have the right offer and provide all the information a buyer would need, as described above. Your initial approaches could be via email, phone call, trade show, or industry publication, but whichever method you choose, you need to be able to gain their interest very quickly. With mere seconds to engage them after the first contact, you need to point out a benefit that will attract their attention immediately. That means no waffling, but getting straight down to business. How you achieve this depends on your method of communication and what you are selling, as well as your particular talents. Some people are better communicators in person than in print and vice versa. What you should be aiming for is getting to the heart of what your contact needs. For example, by using as a subject line in your email something that mentions what makes you stand apart, such as your product having undergone particularly demanding testing, your same day free delivery service, or your money back guarantee, whatever it is that you have identified as being the chief concern of your prospect.

Promotional giveaways

Giveaways that promote your business can be an effective way of raising your profile, particularly at trade shows and events. There is an extensive range of items that can be printed with your company information on, so try and select the products most appropriate to your industry. Popular choices in the health sector include items such as stress toys that look like brains for example. Products that customers will make use of are best, such as mugs, keyrings, coasters, stationery items, and lanyards. A giveaway that gets thrown in the trash or chucked in a drawer to lay forgotten is a waste of your marketing budget and a missed opportunity. It’s a good idea to learn more about the options available so you can select the most appropriate item for your business.

Incentives and loyalty rewards

These can work well if you have worthwhile gifts and schemes. For instance, offering lower prices and better terms to repeat customers or those spending over a certain amount are popular ways of rewarding loyalty. You can choose whether to reward the business with better terms, or cultivate your personal relationship with a buyer using quality gift items. Your approach may depend on the sector you work in and the types of businesses you deal with. Some will have policies in place prohibiting any kind of personal gift giving, but most places are more than happy to accept favourable terms. Keep your schemes simple and of real benefit – buyers will not be impressed with complicated schemes that require massive expenditure for little reward, and such schemes will be time-consuming to operate.

The advantages of having a readily defined target market in B2B sales is clear. Now you need to capitalize on your position by using the most effective sales techniques.

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