- What is B2B marketing?
- How is B2B marketing strategy different from B2C marketing for a product?
- Strategies to market your B2B product
- 1. Research your audience and competitors
- 2. Build marketing funnels for B2B marketing
- 3. Real-time support for your B2B clients
- 4. Communicate with your audience
- 5. Leveraging review marketing for B2B SaaS
Marketing for tangible products is easier. But when it comes to marketing an intangible software product that other businesses use is not an easy job.
What is B2B marketing?
Business to Business marketing refers to the marketing of products and services by one business to another. In simple terms, in B2B marketing, the services are created by one business and the customers are other businesses in need.
For example, many brands use HubSpot for email marketing or SEMrush for their SEO requirements.
How is B2B marketing strategy different from B2C marketing for a product?
B2C marketing is often talked about along with B2B marketing. However, there is a difference between the two as mentioned below.
In B2B marketing, the targeted customers are businesses be it a small startup or a well-known corporation.
In B2C, the target market is direct consumers. You, me, and others. For example, a retail store selling apparel.
Role of decision-maker
In B2B marketing, the decision-makers of companies get to decide if the company can use the product or service to maximum advantage. Therefore, the growth of a company also relies on selecting the right tools and software.
However, in B2C marketing, the decision-maker is the sole consumer of the product/service. Therefore it doesn’t require much research or study to go with the purchase. The consumer decisions in B2C marketing are more emotional than rational.
Return on Investment
In B2B marketing, the businesses have to assess the value of buying any products or services. If the return on investment is not high or at least to give any profits, then buying the product/services is not an ideal decision.
On the other hand, in B2C marketing, a consumer need not assess the return on investment or how much profits one is going to make.
How does the B2B marketing impact your ROI?
Business-to-business marketing is a complex process. It can easily take from days to months to generate profitable revenue. There are multiple touchpoints for customers that a brand needs to consider. Such as websites, customer support, social media interactions, and more. All the interactions need to be properly monitored and converted.
As the adoption of inbound marketing is increasing rapidly, the more difficult it is becoming to find revenue generation through B2B marketing. According to research, only 6% of marketers can find their overall B2B revenue generation.
On a contrary, revenue generation for B2C brands is a simple process. For example, running an ad campaign and measuring the direct sales generated.
Strategies to market your B2B product
1. Research your audience and competitors
To excel in B2B marketing, the first and most important aspect is to study your audience and competitors.
Studying your audience:
To understand from where to begin, you must know to who your business is serving.
Some of the questions you can ask yourself as a brand are:
- Who is your audience?
- What are the problems they find solutions for?
- How your different products/services are going to serve the different target audiences?
- Whether your audience has done their homework on your products and services?
- Is your customer switching from a similar product or service as yours?
To find the answers to such questions, create buyer personas for your audiences. You can use free tools like Xtensio, Hubspot to create a buyer persona. Do regular polls and surveys on the various questions mentioned above. Once you gather enough data, you can create the segments of your broader audiences.
For example, you can create segments based on the customers your clients have or based on their existing products and services.
Note that in B2B marketing the customer i.e. another business entity can be a B2B, B2C, etc.
Where can you find your audiences?
For B2B marketing, you must know the hanging spots of your target audience.
Some of your potential customers might be on Reddit discussing their concerns.
Your customers might be asking questions on platforms like Quora.
Online business directories are a great source of information on your audiences and your business as well.
Don’t forget LinkedIn to know your customers even better. There are many groups that your customers follow and engage with.
Studying your competitor:
The second most important hack to kick off your products is by studying your competitors.
So, how do you do that?
Enter the keywords of your niche. For example, if your business serve other businesses with an Employee Communication Platform, then enter the relevant keywords in the search engine. And vet the results of at least the top five pages in search engines.
Or you can simply search for ‘Top B2B brands in x industry’. Here ‘x’ could be any industry like healthcare, manufacturing industry, and so on.
You can also use tools like Ahrefs to find your competitors in the ‘competing domain’ section.
Go through your competitors’ websites thoroughly. Study the products and their features they provide, the regions they target, the storytelling they use, and every other aspect of marketing. Your competitor’s website can act as a great tool to run your business in the right direction. However, make sure that your business thrives and sustains itself in the market with what differentiates it and not what every business is doing.
Speak with the former employees of your competitors to know more about their marketing frameworks. This is not so crucial, however at times when tools and existing information fails to deliver the complete knowledge, speaking to its employees can reveal something that is far more crucial.
As a SaaS business, doing competitor’s research help you in various ways as mentioned below.
- To know your position in the market.
- To know your target market.
- To understand different content strategies.
- To understand different channels of operations.
- To understand the severity of your B2B marketing frameworks.
2. Build marketing funnels for B2B marketing
Now as we have covered before the audience and competitors’ research. The next step is to create a perfect funnel for your B2B marketing strategy framework.
The marketing funnel contains different stages of a buyer’s journey. These three stages are:
Stage 1: Awareness or (Hook)
Stage 2: Consideration
Stage 3: Conversion or (Decision)
For B2B marketers, or be it, marketers, from any industry, the core of product marketing lies in the heart of your products and features.
To get started into the marketing funnel, begin with the bottom-most stage (Decision) of your customers, then the middle stage (Consideration), and then to the top stage (Hook). By doing so, you will be creating a marketing framework that revolves around your main product.
So here’s how you can leverage the B2B marketing funnel in the reverse order for product marketing.
Consider this simplified model for reverse B2B marketing.
The three different stages of the funnel are considered from bottom to top.
Let’s understand this through an example.
Assume there is an Email marketing brand selling its suite of products to other businesses.
- The bottom-most stage is the ‘ The decision’ stage. It would cover topics such as,
– What problems does the email software solve for your audience?
– What is the most used email feature such as automation, customizations, audience targeting, etc.
- The second and the middle stage is the ‘Consideration’ stage. It could cover topics such as,
– The product pricing plan.
– The comparison between features of your product and your competitors.
– The extra benefits your products provide to your customers.
- The third stage act as the initial hook for your audience. The first stage act as a magnet to attract users through informational content. Some of the most covered topics can include the following.
– Generic topics on email marketing, uses, benefits, strategies, etc.
– Research-based content to educate users.
– Ebooks and whitepapers.
Let us understand each stage in detail below.
2.1 The Decision stage: Understanding core product
In the SaaS (software as a service) space, everything is done digitally. This makes it easier to track your customer’s actions on your website and other channels of marketing.
To build the marketing framework, some of the most important aspects of your product need to be gathered from the customer’s perspective.
- What are the most used product features?
- What are the most common pain points of your customers?
- Which feature solves a specific problem?
- Is the product pricing appropriate for everyone?
Once you gather information on the above aspects of your product, then you can cross-check with what and how you offer. Some of the points for which are mentioned below.
- What are the prime benefits your brand provides?
- Who are your long-term customers with higher value?
- Which buyer persona is bringing in the maximum conversions?
- Which target audience is the most engaged one?
As you study your marketing funnel, you will understand a lot of useful information from where to start and what to consider in the coming future. This will make your product B2B SaaS marketing a lot easier with time and to scale it.
2.2 The consideration stage: Cross-sell your products
Now that you understand your product better than before, You know the pain point of your customers, you are aware of how you benefit brands from your tool, etc.
The next stage is the middle stage of articulating your product features and maximizing the overall profits from your products. So how do B2B brands market their products?
During the consideration stage of the marketing funnel, a potential lead seeks an affordable product and plan. They are aware of your products and holds the knowledge to compare and find the best products for themselves. While a consumer considers a product, they can be engaged with other relevant or even more useful offers and features.
- Does your product offer different features with individual pricing?
- Does your product suite includes a free offering along with the paid one?
- Does your product comes as a package of tools that are paid for the same amount by every customer?
Once you find the answers to the above questions, you are likely to understand what is bringing in the maximum profits. Therefore, focus on cross-selling your products with different features or upsell them along with your free offerings. You will see the following key benefits in doing so.
Your leads will become closer to making a purchase, which is becoming your customers.
Your SaaS marketing efforts will bring in more customers and revenue on top of it.
Based on your different products and features, you can build content around it. Read the next stage to understand this further.
2.3 The initial hooks: content that matters
The first stage of the B2B SaaS marketing funnel covers the most broader spectrum of audiences. It is a mix of everyone from relevant leads to people just surfing through.
To hook your customers, you need content assets and to engage them further. And to build content that converts, you need to provide very insightful and relevant content to your audience.
Think of it in this way, a user goes through an Email Vs Push notification blog, while looking for a free push notification platform on a specific website. If the user finds the blog useful with quality content, it will further persuade them to convert and to buy the same product.
Here are some of the ways you can create content that hooks your customers.
- Make your content an engaging field. Your business customers should understand the value of your marketing efforts, which, in turn, build reputation and authority over some time.
- Be consistent in publishing new content every week.
- Generate content that solves your customers’ pain points.
- Include various content formats like infographics, Videos, Webinars, Podcasts, Long from, and detailed content.
3. Real-time support for your B2B clients
Real-time support is a crucial aspect of B2B marketing. But why?
In B2B product marketing, the target customer is the business itself. If a business uses any product or service, then it needs to ensure that the business provider will assist in the nick of time.
Brands that use any products from other businesses consider these hard-to-miss concerns.
- Is real-time support available 24*7?
- Is the customer response automated or humanized?
- Are the customer executives well trained on complex issues?
You can use Drift for live support on your website.
4. Communicate with your audience
Do you talk to your customers? Do you communicate with them for what they need?
B2B marketing is all about communicating with businesses through different channels. If there is no communication, the marketing efforts will not come to fruition. The two-way communication will build better customer relationships and understanding.
So, how do you make a communication plan that works? Read below to understand.
- Engage your customers from the first day of onboarding itself. Welcome them and guide them through the process.
- If there are any upcoming new product launches, communicate them well before to your users for increased anticipation. This communication will go a long way in bringing in more conversions for the longer run.
- Communicate with your customers about their expectations of your brand.
- Talk and engage your customers in the comment section of your social media pages.
- If there are any new updates or announcements, communication is a way forward to engaged customers and building your brand presence.
- Just be there on all the possible touchpoints. This will give security to your customers that the help is just a window away.
5. Leveraging review marketing for B2B SaaS
Review marketing has long been used to display brand endorsements through customer’s voices. Anything that comes from customers plays a crucial role in future conversions. That is why you should leverage review marketing properly.
For the B2B SaaS space, there are a lot of platforms like G2, Capterra, that review and covers B2B brands from various industries.
Such review portals often display comparisons with your competitors, your reviews, your product features, usability, and many other aspects of your product.
You can use this information to market your products and services. But how?
Read the various ways below to explore review marketing for B2B SaaS.
- Include testimonials on your website homepage.
- Use reviews in your social media marketing. Surprise your customers by tagging them for further engagement.
- Include your reviews in email marketing. It will further build your brand reputation.
- Include user-generated reviews to build content around specific features.
For example, if your customer endorses your product and it’s one specific feature that has helped in acquiring new customers. Then you can create a case study or a blog talking about how your product features are useful, backed up by genuine user reviews.
Use these above-mentioned strategies to level up your B2B marketing game. Understanding your audience plays a crucial role as your marketing strategies are linked with what your audience needs. Create an effective marketing funnel, communicate with your audience, and establish trust through user-generated content like reviews, testimonials, etc. Let us know what worked the best for you?