When it comes to business to business marketing, it’s important to remember that businesses, though a different audience than general, individual consumers or families, are still customers. Businesses who market to them still need to consider that they have issues that your business has solutions for. These businesses need to position themselves as a solution for a potential problem of another business.
While some people approach marketing as a way to advertise products and services through things like billboards, TV commercials, and magazine ads, these methods are less effective for B2B customers. B2B marketing is all about customer engagement and relationship building. It’s still a form of outreach, just in a much more personalized, focused way. You need to provide attention and resources to your B2B customers to keep their attention and help them consider your business as the right choice during what is often a long buying cycle backed by much research and a long approval process.
How to engage your B2B customers
How can you engage a B2B customer so they can see your organization as providing a product or service they want or need? Here are some ways to grow a customer engagement model for your B2B marketing.
- Understand your customer: Beyond just understanding that B2B marketing functions differently than B2C marketing, it’s equally crucial to understand your target market. Just like no two customers are the same in B2C, no two businesses are the same either.
- Commit to the process: The B2B buying cycle is much longer than B2C. There are often more stakeholders involved and many more approvals needed due to the monetary investment usually included. Keeping these elements in mind helps to cut down on unnecessary marketing expenses and focus on what matters. It’s important to make sure that communications are being addressed to the right stakeholders – usually, a decision maker at some level – and that communications are consistent without being overdone.
- Provide a great experience at every step of the journey: The customer journey helps guide marketers in understanding what kind of engagement touchpoints customer need during certain stages of consideration and decision making. These phases are typically awareness, research and consideration, action (decision to purchase, complete a contract, etc.), and loyalty. The marketing and sales team work together to nurture customers through this process by introducing the business, emailing resources, offering suggestions, negotiating discounts, asking questions, and more.
- Don’t forget the post-sale care: The loyalty phase of the customer journey is one of the most important. The customer experience doesn’t end after a sale. After a customer decides to utilize your brand, it’s important to make sure that they want to continue a relationship with you. Whether it’s to promote future and additional purchases or grow referrals and recommendations to other businesses to engage with your brand, continuing a positive relationship through sales follow-ups and helpful customer service. It’s important to stay in touch with customers post-sale to be able to prompt them to re-up memberships or subscriptions or add on services. It’s also important to make sure that customer service team members are trained in providing the best experiences to encourage loyalty.
Companies cannot afford to devalue the importance of customer engagement with B2B brands. Building a customer engagement model is really about building relationships and growing your positive reputation in the business world. You want to be perceived as a business that values the customer experience and is ready to work to find a solution to every situation. Paying attention to your B2B buyers throughout the whole process and providing them with the resources and attention they need is a crucial component in your engagement marketing.