From Obsolete to Innovative: How B2B Sales and Marketing Are Changing
B2B sales and marketing have come a long way since the traditional methods of cold calling and door-to-door sales.
Today, the digital age has revolutionized the way businesses approach their B2B strategies.
With the rise of social media, email marketing, and other digital tools, businesses can reach their target audiences more efficiently and effectively. This shift towards digital marketing has led to a major transformation in the B2B sales process.
In this article, we’ll explore how B2B sales and marketing campaigns are changing, and how business owners can stay ahead of the curve by embracing new, innovative strategies.
So, if you’re looking to transform your B2B sales and marketing approach from obsolete to innovative, read on.
Understanding the New Customer Experience of the Modern Buyer
One of the primary drivers of this change is the shift in B2B buying behavior, with buyers increasingly turning to these channels to research and evaluate potential suppliers.
So one might ask, how has the buying journey changed for B2B buyers?
In the past, the B2B buying journey was relatively simple. A potential customer would reach out to a supplier’s sales team, and the sales rep would take them through the process of choosing and purchasing a product or service.
However, in today’s digital age, the buying journey has undergone a significant transformation.
How different is the modern B2B buyer?
1. More Informed Minus Your Sales Rep
The modern business landscape has shifted significantly with the rise of digital channels. One of the primary drivers of this change is the shift in B2B buying behavior, with buyers increasingly turning to these channels to research and evaluate potential suppliers. Recent studies suggest that up to 27% of a B2B buyer’s total buying time is now spent researching independently online.
This shift in buyer behavior makes a company’s online presence and content marketing efforts more critical than ever before. By creating high-quality, informative content that speaks to the needs and pain points of target decision-makers, businesses can establish themselves as thought leaders in their industries and build trust with prospective buyers.
This signifies the necessity for B2B companies to have a strong online presence and an effective content marketing strategy to reach and influence decision-makers.
As customer expectations change, so too must the way sales and marketing teams approach B2B buyers. Gone are the days when a single salesperson could handle the entire sales process from start to finish – today’s modern buyers expect a much more personalized experience throughout their purchase journey.
Sales and marketing teams need to understand that B2B buyers are looking for solutions that meet their individual needs, as opposed to a “one-size-fits-all” approach. In order to meet these changing expectations, businesses must re-evaluate how they approach B2B sales and marketing.
Having an online presence is not enough. B2B companies must create a meaningful digital experience that guides buyers through the entire buying journey. This includes using personalized content to engage them at each stage of the journey and providing them with the information they need to make informed decisions.
So, as a B2B company, businesses focus on creating people-first content that addresses the unique challenges of your target audience. Are the contents you are posting mostly about you – your product and service? I understand the need for B2B companies to do that, but if it’s all that you are doing, then you are missing the point about social selling and the entire digital experience. It is this: It is not about you.
It is not just about selling – it is about providing a meaningful digital experience that caters to individual buyers’ needs.
3. Multi-Channel Experience
Today, businesses must also think about how they’re delivering their content. In other words, a multi-channel experience is key in engaging B2B buyers.
In the past, B2B sales and marketing were mostly limited to traditional channels like cold calls, direct mail, or face-to-face meetings. However, in today’s digital age, companies must be aware of the fact that buyers are using multiple channels to research and evaluate suppliers.
This means that businesses need to create a multi-channel experience for their customers, in order to engage them throughout the entire buying process. This could include email campaigns, digital ads, social media outreach, and even webinars or virtual events – all of which should be tailored to meet customers’ individual needs.
This includes creating a meaningful digital experience that guides buyers through the buying journey, using personalized content to engage buyers at each stage of the journey, and providing them with the information they need to make informed decisions.
By being accessible through social media platforms and other channels, B2B companies can create a more personalized and convenient experience for their customers.
4. Data-Driven Decisions
In order to ensure that their sales and marketing strategies are effective, B2B companies must also embrace data. As the modern buyer continues to become more informed and digital channels become more prevalent, businesses must be able to use data to better understand their customers and make informed decisions.
Using data analytics, B2B companies can gain valuable insights into their customers, such as their buying behaviors and preferences. This can help them better target potential customers and tailor their sales strategies to meet the needs of individual buyers.
Businesses should also leverage data to gain a deeper understanding of their existing customers, in order to identify areas for improvement in terms of customer service. By utilizing data-driven insights, B2B companies can ensure that they’re providing the best possible customer experience.
What Digital Channels are Helping to Shape the Modern B2B Buying Journey?
The digital channels that are helping to shape the modern B2B buying journey include social media, email campaigns, webinars, virtual events, and digital ads. By taking advantage of these channels, B2B companies can create an engaging and personalized multi-channel experience for their customers that helps guide them through the buying journey.
1. Social Selling B2B
Social media is no longer just a tool for individuals to connect with friends and family, but for businesses to connect with their target audience and promote their products and services. For B2B companies, social media platforms are an invaluable tool for showcasing their products and services, while concurrently sharing relevant industry news and insights. By leveraging social media, they can also listen in on conversations, gain insights into customer needs, and engage with potential buyers to strengthen relationships.
To maximize the impact of their social media efforts, companies should have a well-defined strategy that focuses on content development, engagement, and measurement. Companies need to create a strong brand presence on social media by establishing a consistent tone and voice through the creation of quality content that applies to their target audience.
Social media platforms also offer sponsored posts, ads, and other features to increase visibility and reach their target customers. B2B companies can use these features in their social media strategy to create awareness and increase lead generation, ultimately improving their ROI.
When B2B companies create a social media strategy, they should identify the different types of customers and tailor their posts according to their specific needs. Yes, this is not a one-size-fits-all approach. By doing so, companies can connect with potential customers on a personal level, which is beneficial to driving engagement and reinforcing brand awareness.
Content marketing is one of the most powerful ways for B2B companies to engage with modern buyers and generate leads.
But what exactly is B2B content marketing?
At its core, content marketing involves creating and distributing valuable and educational resources such as blog posts, whitepapers, case studies, videos, and e-books that provide insights into the industry, the products or services being offered, and the pain points and challenges of potential buyers.
One of the key benefits of content marketing is that it allows sales teams to be more proactive in engaging with potential buyers. Instead of waiting for a potential customer to reach out, sales teams can take the initiative and provide educational resources that will help move the buyer closer to making a purchase decision.
By leveraging content marketing, sales teams distribute educational resources that can help nurture prospects and help them understand the value of the products or services being offered. They can then move them closer through the buying journey and eventually convert them into loyal customers.
3. Don’t Forget Your Website
A website is a crucial part of any B2B company’s sales and marketing strategy. It acts as the main hub for modern B2B customers to find more information about the company and the products/services it offers. As such, it should be optimized with an intuitive user experience that allows customers to easily navigate their offerings and provide detailed information on what each product or service can do for them.
In the past, B2B websites were often static portals with limited content and a basic design. Customers would come to the site to find out more information about the company and its offerings, but they wouldn’t be able to engage with the content or interact beyond a basic search. This type of website was often seen as an outdated sales tool, and companies began looking for more innovative ways to engage with their customers.
Today, modern B2B websites are designed to be highly interactive and engaging experiences that allow customers to explore the company’s offerings. They often feature interactive content such as videos, live chats, product demos, webinars, and more. By providing a more immersive experience on their website, businesses can build trust with customers and establish themselves as industry leaders.
Also, I could not stress this enough. Make sure you focus on articles regularly posted that are informative. This is not only for your users but also for search engines. Search engines like Google and Bing look for people-first content that is informative.
Make sure, too, that your content is optimized technically so you are seen on top of the search engine. We can help you with that. Just let me know.
Investing in an engaging website that educates, enlightens, and inspires customers is key to success.
4. B2B Online Events
The rise of online events has transformed the way B2B companies interact with their customers. Online events, such as webinars, live chats, and virtual conferences, provide an engaging and immersive way for businesses to connect with buyers.
Online events offer a variety of advantages for a B2B company over traditional in-person events.
Combine online events with your social media marketing efforts.
Live streaming video platforms, such as YouTube and Facebook Live, have become popular for webinars and other virtual events.
These platforms allow companies to create highly customized content that is tailored to their unique brand and message. Companies can also use these platforms to engage customers in real time, creating an interactive experience that more closely resembles an in-person event.
Social media platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Instagram also provide great opportunities for promoting and host online events.
5. Search Engine Optimization
As digital channels become more critical, they also require higher levels of technical prowess. Marketers must understand how to optimize for search engines and effectively execute digital advertising campaigns. This requires a combination of skills, from data analysis to copywriting and design.
One key to understanding the new customer experience is to focus on the customer’s search intent. Through semantic SEO, companies can connect topics, terms, and entities across their websites, creating an organized content structure that satisfies the search intent of the user. This approach ensures that businesses can answer all questions about different aspects of a topic and provide an excellent user journey experience that promotes customer brand loyalty.
Technically, I am not only talking about paying for ads but intentionally using keywords, long-tail phrases, and industry terminology not just on your blogs or articles but also for social media. Why is this so important? To capture the attention of the target decision-makers. When using a comprehensive range of industry terminology and common phrases, companies can communicate effectively with potential customers and win their loyalty.
For example, with the rise of voice search, businesses must now optimize their content for natural language queries besides traditional keyword optimization.
Remember the above, I mentioned people-first content? This is one way of doing this. Of course, your content should be unified and cohesively relevant if you want to reach your audience. Don’t just stuff your post with keywords just because you have to and you can. With the rise of too much content now, people-first and optimized content for your target audience has never been more critical.
How Are Sales Reps and B2B Marketers Adapting to Reach the Modern Buyers?
B2B sales reps and marketers are adapting to reach modern buyers by understanding customer expectations, using digital channels to engage customers, and implementing marketing automation solutions.
1. Get into the minds of your business customers.
They understand that today’s buyers are looking for a personalized experience throughout their buying journey. As a result, they focus on developing an understanding of customer needs and wants in order to create content that resonates with the target audience. Being obsessed and customer-focused is not a bad thing.
2. Use social media to your advantage.
Also, B2B sales reps and marketers are adapting to the digital landscape by using technology to their advantage. Platforms such as LinkedIn have become essential tools for sales reps and marketers, providing an opportunity to research potential clients’ backgrounds, connect with them, and send personalized messages aligned with their needs and interests.
3. Leverage content marketing to make a lasting impression.
Content marketing is key for B2B sales and marketing teams; not only does it provide an opportunity to educate potential buyers, but it also helps to nurture relationships over time. Companies are creating high-quality, relevant content that gives customers the information they seek and allows them to make informed decisions about their purchases. By investing in content marketing, businesses can build trust with customers and position themselves as experts in their field.
The ever-evolving landscape of technology has undoubtedly impacted the world of B2B sales and marketing. However, it’s important to acknowledge that the human element remains critical for success. Establishing and nurturing relationships based on trust and understanding is paramount in providing a personalized experience throughout a customer’s buying journey.
While technology can certainly play a role in identifying potential customers, streamlining processes, and providing valuable data insight, it can never fully replace the human interaction and connection necessary for B2B sales and marketing. Social media is an important tool that sales teams can use to engage with clients online, but ultimately, person-to-person sales interactions and emotional intelligence are key to building a lasting connection.
B2B purchases often involve significant investments, meaning clients require additional assurance and guidance. Sales reps who prioritize personal connection and show genuine care for the customer’s success can provide valuable guidance, fostering a stronger partnership and improving the likelihood of repeat business.
Ultimately, businesses can establish themselves as industry leaders by prioritizing human connections. By creating and nurturing trust-based relationships, they can develop loyal customers and succeed in the highly competitive world of B2B sales and marketing.
Outsourced Social Selling to Bridge Human Connection
As the digital landscape continually transforms, it’s crucial for B2B sales and marketing teams to keep pace with evolving customer expectations and effectively engage with them through online channels. While leveraging technology can be helpful, it’s the personal connection that can sway the decision-making process and ultimately drive conversions and closed deals.
At Social Success Marketing, we understand how labor and time intensive this can be. That’s why we offer specialized outsourced social selling services that cater to your unique needs.
Our team is well-versed in the language and requirements of your B2B audience, making it easier to establish significant connections with them. We customize our social media marketing tactics to suit the requirements of your industry, whether it be manufacturing, technology, or any other B2B sector.
Our approach combines the human touch with digital channels to create a personalized social selling experience that presents a consistent and engaging customer journey for your company. With our industry competence, you can allocate your resources more efficiently and concentrate on other crucial business activities while still gaining social media ROI.
Our extensive social media management ensures that your B2B brand remains relevant and memorable to your customers. Ultimately, our services strive to improve B2B relationships while fostering sustainable business growth.