Like any other type of buyer, 90% of B2B customers also begin their buying journey with an online search. But that might be where the similarities stop. B2B buyers are attempting to solve a business problem or achieve a company goal. This means that their decisions are not just driven by logic but also by the value add they expect to receive. It also makes the sales cycle much longer.
On the other hand, unlike most B2C purchases, B2B buyers most often seek long-term solutions and the individual you interact with is unlikely to be sole decision maker. All this makes B2B marketing challenging. But if done right, the rewards are well worth all the effort.
Challenge 1: Adopting the Latest Tech Solutions
Just because you’re a marketing geek doesn’t make you a tech nerd as well. But being on top of the latest technology tools can mean the difference between success and failure. For instance, 92% B2B marketers had an Accounts-Based Marketing (ABM) program in 2020, with 68% using automation. The right tools and software can help these marketers target each account much more effectively, basing their decisions on data analytics.
However, the challenge isn’t just understanding which tools you require, it is also about training people to use them efficiently, while ensuring that all the tools are part of a technology stack, such as a CRM, so that communications are integrated, and things don’t fall through the cracks.
Challenge 2: Keeping Prospects Engaged at Each Stage of Buying Journey
Getting prospects to engage can turn cold leads into interested buyers. The most powerful tool in your armory for this is content marketing. But for it to be successful, you need a strategy that addresses every step of the buyer’s journey through customized content.
For instance, you could start out with personalized emails that highlight your understanding of their pain points, with a clear call to action to learn about the solution you are offering. For someone who has shown an initial interest, consider sending then a brochure, eBook or infographic that answers key questions they would have about your product. The key is to tailor the content both for the target customer and the stage of the sales funnel they are at.
Challenge 3: Aligning Sales and Marketing
Supporting the buyer through the entire journey requires the sales and marketing teams to work together like a single, well-oiled machine. With effective collaboration and communication, not only can lead generation be improved, but revenue as well. When both teams understand that they are working towards shared goals, this becomes easier. The marketing team focuses better on handing off leads to the sales team, while the sales team provides valuable feedback on which stage of the sales funnel requires effective content and a greater push.
The need for greater focus on overcoming these and other challenges is crucial, given that B2B leads tend to be expensive. Research shows that the cost per lead in the B2B segment is often more than $100. Therefore, start with using content to generate MQLs, and continue to nurture them with customized content to turn them into SQLs and then actual buyers.