I’ve been thinking lately about why B2B marketing seems to be so difficult for people to understand. After looking at several articles & tips, fielding different questions, and being faced with several different objections, I’ve decided that, for some reason, we treat it different than B2C, which makes it unnecessarily difficult. We don’t treat our business clients the same way consumer companies treat consumers. I understand that the sales process can often be different when selling to a company than it is when selling to a consumer, but there are a lot of things that we do that aren’t conducive to successful marketing. We need to take some of the practices of B2C and learn to treat our business clients like people. In that spirit, here are 4 things you should do in your B2B marketing process.
1. Stop the standard sales process
What do I mean by that? We hide behind salespeople as a point of contact for our B2B process. If someone wants our product or service, we shouldn’t force them to deal with a traditional sales process. Sometimes, the client is already sold and just wants to write the check. When that’s the case, we really need to enable them to do so if it’s possible. If your product can be sold that way, you need to make it possible.
Sometimes, the client is already sold and just wants to write the check.
2. Stop hiding prices (where possible)
Some products and services can’t have a fixed or scaled model to their pricing. They take so much customization, which varies the price, that it would be impossible to simply offer that price up front. For example, when we create a website, we have to listen to the client’s needs, then help them make sure they have all the proper components. If I instead allowed them to customize from a menu, they may miss an important component out of cost. We take our knowledge and customize the site to their needs. That makes every project a different price, and posting prices isn’t an option. However, we have still done our best to inform the public of our prices here.
However, a close friend of mine runs a business that does guided hikes and outdoor skills classes. Each hike and class has tickets that are at set prices. For someone like that, posting those prices in plain view of the public is the best choice. There is no need to keep the amount from the client. Just because you post a fixed price doesn’t mean you can’t offer a discount. It just means that the process is streamlined for those who don’t want to negotiate.
3. Don’t forget that you’re still dealing with people
Your client may be a some mega corporation, but it’s not an entity you’re personally dealing with. You’re dealing with the head of a department within that mega corp, and you need to remember that. So my advice for when you speak to these people, which I personally do, is that you don’t talk to them about the two businesses can have a relationship. You talk to them about your business relationship with them. You talk to them about how you are going to help them. You take a little bit of ownership of their company’s goals. You treat it like it’s your own. What ends up happening is that you build a strong relationship of trust. They feel that you’ve invested yourself in to their piece of the organization (where your product or service is headed), and that’s critical to letting someone know that you value them as a person. Once they know that, you’ve beat all of your competition.
4. Stop withholding information
Modern consumers are insanely informed, and as a result have created a track record of continual increased year-over-year purchasing for the past several years. Every year, the average consumer also spends more money that the previous year. The fact that they’re informed makes them feel confident enough to spend the money. So why do you think your corporate clients would be any different? Inform them. Don’t withhold information that traps them in to talking to your sales department first. If you want to hide information behind a commitment wall, utilize an inbound marketing strategy that exchanges that information for their email address. Don’t make them get it from their salesperson.
The Wrap Up
By using these strategies that come from B2C companies, you begin to build the trust and personal relationships that most companies build with consumers. The person making the decision is still a person. They’re still human, they’re still emotional, they still make decisions based on how they feel about the person and company selling to them. By treating them like people, you’re improving that feeling of trust. You’re improving that positive feeling about you and your business.