Every company in the world has the same ultimate goal – to maximize return on investment and earn a profit. While that goal may be common, the way to achieve it is certainly not.
Since every company is shaped by different factors such as its area of expertise, size, offer, competition and others, there is no universal recipe when it comes to finding the right sales and marketing tactics.
Much like with B2C companies, determining the most suitable marketing approach for B2B companies also requires careful research and planning.
Of course, your final objective is to present your brand to other businesses, and hopefully, sell them your products or services.
There are many traditional marketing approaches you can utilize – being present at conventions and tradeshows, advertising your products in local journals and industry publications, sending cold emails, making cold calls, and so on.
While all those approaches still matter, here we are going to focus on something else – the online world.
You can no longer succeed without being active online.
So let’s see what you can do to make the best of your online sales and marketing tactics, regardless of the type of industry you are in.
Though you might have a competent sales team, they will not be able to do their job properly without the right support tools.
Imagine the following – you have a business that produces vehicle components and sells them to automobile manufacturers.
How will you present your products and demonstrate your value to other companies on the Internet?
The answer to that question lies in e-commerce – an electronic exchange of business information among companies for the purpose of purchasing goods and services.
Through e-commerce, businesses can communicate more clearly and thus improve the purchasing experience.
There are different B2B e-commerce categories to consider:
- product supply and procurement sites
- specialized industry portals
- brokering sites
- information sites
While they are all undoubtedly useful, the focal point of all your efforts should be your own website. Read on to find out how to use it, and what other e-commerce tools you can equip it with.
Today, you can’t do anything without a well-designed and well-equipped website. Websites are often one of the first points of contact that another company will have with yours, so it´s imperative that you leave a good first impression.
Take a close look at the following image, examine all the details, and think about what appeals to you most:
Gusto – a B2B company that offers cloud-based payroll, health benefits, and workers’ comp solutions– is known for its excellent layout and design.
The above image is the first thing you see when you arrive at their homepage.
As you can see, businesses can immediately sign up for a 2-months free trial, which is a great marketing tactic in itself, and the background image projects an impression of teamwork and trust.
Now, having a quality website also means including some other tools that can help you present your business in the best possible light.
Let us see what some of those are:
Products Demonstration Videos
In order to turn prospects into clients, you need to provide them with a clear picture of what your company has to offer.
A very effective way to that is to post a short demonstration video that entails all the necessary information about your company.
Take a look at another example from Gusto:
Gusto is also known for its cogent use of icons and videos that tell their story. If you scroll down the company’s homepage, the next thing you will find is a short one-minute video that effectively explains what the company does.
This is a great way to make a quick and to-the-point introduction to your business.
Once you’ve attracted your prospect and hopefully turned them into a client, you should also have some in-depth tools that showcase your business in more detail.
Consider the following:
- Company overview
- Product specification sheets
- Whitepaper, e-book or guide
If you offer some of these documents as downloadable files, you give other businesses an opportunity to get to know your company inside out.
Whether you are trying to attract a new client or keep an old one, it is important for them to know all the relevant details about your company.
Nobody wants to be in the dark when it comes to doing business, that´s for sure.
Case Studies and Testimonials
One of the most important components that build relationships between two businesses is trust.
While it is essential for your prospects and clients to have all the information they need, your relationship will not develop unless they completely trust you.
To instill initial trust, you can utilize social proof – for many businesses, the most important decision of whether to make a purchase or not will depend on what others have to say about you.
Therefore, consider adding case studies and/or testimonials to your website.
Once again, Gusto can serve as an excellent example:
Sometimes even a few short sentences retrieved from your social media account will do the trick. When your prospects and clients see that others trust you, so will they.
All in all, you can use your company´s website to introduce others to your business, present your offer, connect with your prospects and, with the right call-to-action buttons, make direct sales.
For that reason, having an excellent website with useful information will boost your e-commerce efforts and improve your overall success.
Now, let´s see how you can enhance that effort through social media.
When it comes to sales and marketing, the role of social media is constantly on the rise.
Though it may be obvious that B2C companies use social media to advertise their products directly to customers, there´s a number of reasons why B2B companies can also benefit from having an active presence on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, or some other popular site.
Consider the following reasons:
- Increasing outreach efforts
- Developing business relationships
- Driving traffic to your website
- Building brand awareness and visibility
- Distributing content, ideas, and offers
- Establishing your company as an industry leader through content marketing
- Making PR opportunities
- SEO improvement
- Providing B2B customer care
While this list alone is convincing enough, it is far from being exhausted – these are only some of the reasons why you should include social media in your marketing and sales tactics.
Suffice to say that, in the majority of cases, your clients will visit your social media profile prior to visiting your website, and that´s a good enough reason to make your social media presence as great as possible.
Now, if you are wondering about the best platform to use, you should take into account the specificities of your business, as well as your concrete marketing goals.
However, there are certain common tendencies.
In the graph below, you can see which platforms marketers around the world find the most suitable for their business:
As presented, B2B companies largely favor LinkedIn, followed by, unsurprisingly, Facebook and Twitter.
Let´s consider the three most popular networks and show a few examples of some companies that excel on those platforms.
This social network is specifically built for businesses, so it´s the most obvious choice when it comes to B2B marketing.
With a LinkedIn profile, you can present your products and services to other businesses, demonstrate your expertise, find new clients and partners, and build quality business relationships.
Container shipping company Maersk Line is a great example of how to capitalize on this business-oriented platform.
Not only is this company active on several social media platforms, but the number of almost 150,000 LinkedIn followers proves they are successful here too.
Above, you can see their profile page with a clearly presented description of their company, an appropriate accompanying image, and other relevant data.
As the most popular B2B platform, LinkedIn will bring many benefits to your business.
When you open an account for your company, make sure to have a neat profile page and pursue an active presence.
If you do it right, your effort will result in many useful connections with other businesses.
With more than a billion users, Facebook is a great platform for reaching a wider audience.
This fact cannot be ignored in the B2B context because being on Facebook is a great opportunity to influence the decision makers in a prospective client company.
In other words, you can target marketing efforts directly at your prospects.
One way of doing so is by providing content that will present all the important data about your product or service – its cost, reliability, and the support you can provide for it.
Of course, you can do it in a fun and interesting way while also providing relevant industry news.
Remember, your prospects will sometimes discover your Facebook page before they visit your profile.
One of the renowned B2B companies that are successful on Facebook is Honeywell. What they do great is provide a good combination of product announcements and industry-related posts.
In addition, they communicate with their followers and frequently respond to comments.
This is a good formula to consider when it comes to your company´s Facebook page.
Twitter is another social network with an increasing number of B2B users.
With its fast-paced and short-form communication mode, Twitter can be used to constantly make new impressions on other industry members.
As your prospects might be active on Twitter in pursuit of industry news, events, and other information, don’t exclude this network from your marketing tactics.
If you are considering opening a profile or updating the existing one, get inspired by how they do it at Forrester Research.
This well-known company that provides valuable advice to global leaders in business and technology is very successful on Twitter, providing both brand messages and relevant industry information to their followers.
Of course, aside from LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, there are other useful networks to consider such as Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and others.
Only you know which one suits your company best.
It is only important to remember one crucial thing – whichever social platform you choose, invest enough time and effort into maintaining an active presence that will convey the value of your brand to your prospects and clients.
As you already know, today there is no successful marketing without making valuable business connections on social media.
Finding the right sales and marketing tactics is not any easy task, and there are always multiple factors to consider when you´re choosing the approach that best fits your business.
It also goes without saying that, before executing any kind of tactics, you first need to see whether you have enough time, money, and other resources to pursue it.
Although every company is unique, there are certain general guidelines that all of them can follow, and your business is no exception.
First off, you need to be aware that the main battlefield today is the Internet, so make sure to shift your focus to e-commerce and digital marketing.
Turn your website into a quality reflection of your brand and do your best to present your company in the best possible light. Include videos, customer testimonials, and other types of documents to increase your credibility.
Provide useful content and promote it on social media. Don’t forget to establish a strong social media presence to engage your prospects and make valuable social media connections.
With this framework in mind as a starting point, you can add your own personal touch to your sales and marketing tactics to be even more efficient.
If you devote enough time and effort to your plan, your business success will soon follow.