Thinking like a B2B expert
Following on from part one of my two-part blog series on how B2C and B2B marketers can learn from each other, I offer you the following tips about how B2B marketers are working hard to attract prospects and close deals…
Automation is key
One of the biggest challenges for all companies is the inability to touch all prospects in a timely manner. In addition to segmenting lists and reviewing visitor behaviour it’s important to also look at scoring or ranking your prospective customers. This is a very clever tactic often adopted by B2B marketers. In doing so, you can clearly determine the likelihood of each individual becoming a customer and consequently funnel that person into the appropriate marketing campaign to propel a purchase.
Automation also eliminates manual processes and saves time and resources by automating the execution of campaigns based on user actions and rules as defined by the marketer. It takes a substantial amount of planning, coordination and automation to implement successful marketing programs that treat customers or prospects individually but many B2C marketers are still trying to manage processes manually which can only produce slow and vaguely relevant campaigns.
Nurture, nurture, nurture
B2B marketers endure much longer sales cycles therefore it makes sense that they spend a lot more time nurturing prospects through that cycle to ensure a deal at the end of the day.
While the sales cycle is shorter for B2C marketers, consumers can be quick to move on to competitors so it becomes very important to consider a lifecycle management marketing program that nurtures your audience. B2C marketers need to think about offering welcome messages, lead-warming activities and educational campaigns to prospects early on in the sales cycle. Follow this up with renewal notices, service alerts, shopping cart abandonment notices and receipts for all your prospects in the ‘engaged’ stage of your sales cycle.
Finally, for those prospects that have ‘lapsed’, B2C marketers should be thinking about new promotions and incentives, and consider distributing surveys to discover why people didn’t ‘engage’ with the business or products.
Actions speak louder than words
It’s vital to track visitor behaviour online to gain a sound understanding of how consumer actions are influenced by marketing campaigns, and how customers interact with brands. Very rarely do we get the chance to speak with our online customers during the early stages of the sales cycle, which means that observing click-stream behaviour is imperative if we’re to understand why consumers shift from being ‘indifferent’ to our brand to ‘highly engaged’ with it.
B2B marketers tend to be much more advanced when it comes to tracking and analysing online behaviour, mostly because they have better automation processes in place to manage and decipher vast amounts of data. They also know it’s important to continually keep in touch with prospects and customers to ensure that the business is always meeting market demand.
These are just a few areas where B2C marketers lack a little strength and foresight but as you can see there’s a lot that can be learned from our B2B counterparts. In addition to inventing exciting marketing campaigns and strategies to entice new customers, it pays to look a little closer to home to see how existing ideas can be tweaked to suit our own goals.