When you’re working in the Business-To-Business or B2B space, it’s easy to forget a basic fact of your business: businesses are people. Each business entity you are trying to market to is composed of people, people whom you need to reach out to, listen to and engage with if you want to drive a sale. I believe that one of the main reasons B2B campaigns fall short is because they don’t take this into account.
It is even more avoidable in the digital medium, which allows for one-on-one interaction by its very nature. Let’s look at a few ways to make sure that your B2B marketing keeps the spotlight on the people who will drive sales.
- Don’t keep trying to sell: Any one-on-one interaction you manage to get with a potential client needs to be leveraged to start building strong interpersonal bonds. This might sound counterproductive, but don’t just spend your first sales call pitching your offering; try to reach out to your contact, find out what makes him or her tick and show them that there is an empathetic, genuine human being at the other end of the interaction. In the long term, this can help seed much more enduring and enriching connections.
- Be social: Don’t use your social networking assets to just roll out a one-way stream of marketing material. Enable two-way communication; provide your audience with ways to respond to you. And don’t just wait for them to reach out to you; be social beyond your own profiles. Find discussions that relate to your business. Join in, post comments, share links, be a part of the online conversation and show potential customers that you are engaged and accessible.
- Get personal: Take it one step further. Don’t let your marketing team hide behind avatars, icons and your sales force – get out there and attend industry seminars and conferences, tag along on sales calls, do what it takes to make sure that your marketing is being driven by people with a personal insight and connection to your target group.
- Shut up: Don’t be so full of your great marketing spiel that you don’t listen to your customers. In fact, listen to them first, once you’re engaged in communication. Find out what they want, find out what they like and don’t like about your offerings and competitors’, draw them out with questions that seek to understand their reality. You’ll gain insight as well as build a rapport that will result in a more substantial relationship.