By Carl Da-Costa-Greaves
What is B2B Marketing?
B2B Marketing is where a proportion or all of your marketing efforts goes towards promoting goods or services to businesses whose main transactions are with other businesses. For example, If you consider the action of selling computers to a company, or the maintenance of networks under a services agreement, both are transactions between two companies and considered business to business or B2B for short.
B2B marketing is now one of the fastest developing fields of marketing. New technologies bring more businesses together, thereby companies start to ‘tap up’ each other far more sharply. Technology also makes the world a smaller place. So it becomes essential for sales and marketing experts to understand and apply the principles of B2B marketing.
Characteristics of the industry;
• Fewer but larger buyers
• Demand often derived from consumer demand – e.g. car industry buys steel because consumers buy cars
• Volume and value of transactions are usually higher
• Buying unit differs – more rational approach, more people involved
• Buying /selling process usually more formalised
When to use it?
Used as a management process to identify and capture the interest of potential prospects. This information is then tracked using a formal sales process and Customer Relationship Management software (CRM). Each suspect or prospect that has been identified through marketing efforts can be further escalated to the next stage of the business to business relationship via a number of focused Brand Communication and sales promotion efforts.
What do you achieve from B2B Marketing?
Converting prospects into customers is an important objective of B2B marketing. If managed correctly then a prospect should convert to a customer. At this point, the relationship management aspect and customer relationship should not end there. Instead of thinking about the sales process in a traditional way, like a funnel; where prospects pop out the end as a customer, think of it like an hour glass; the efforts are greater at first, reducing as the relationship grows, at the point until the sale is made; then the focused efforts begin again and increase with frequency, until we reach a re-buy. At this point the process repeats.
So, as a prospect reaches the sales conclusion then it’s not merely enough to service the buyer’s contract and deliver the goods. Just as much effort should be expended in after service marketing and further relationship building with CRM, in the form of service, support, updates etc.
1) Ensure that you have a complete and up-to-date database available
2) Devise a sales process and track through a CRM database
3) Plan effective promotions and regular contacts directly aimed at the needs of prospects
4) Create the desire and show customers how they can purchase
5) Integrate all communications, both online and offline, to ensure a coherent message