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How to avoid B2B comms taking the dead-end B2C route

Someone wise once said that the road to success is always under construction. Another said that on the road to success there are no shortcuts. Both are true and can be applied to your sales tactics and strategies.

Think about it – you can’t achieve success without development, which ultimately is what the construction is for. Ok, you don’t get to work each morning and have to navigate a row of road cones to clock in or make your morning coffee, but you do have to ensure your business is constantly evolving to keep up with the constant demands and growing needs of your customers.

And there aren’t any shortcuts – you need to remain on your toes, listening to every single piece of feedback from your customers while keeping an eye on your CRM, the competition, technology – the list goes on.

This is true for both B2B and B2C marketing strategies although there are some vast differences between the two that should be identified and then responded to with separate tactics to achieve satisfaction, loyalty and returns. But first, you must understand the differences so let’s look into that…

How do B2B and B2C comms differ?

Individuals and companies share some similar characteristics but are obviously different when it comes down to motivation and decision-making. Firstly, you must understand that consumers are more likely to use emotion in their decision-making rather than logic, which companies will sway towards.

Consumers want material goods – ‘stuff’ that makes them feel good, look cool, clothes they can wear, cars they can drive to impress their friends, partners or gifts to make their loved ones feel special. Ultimately, we buy things because we believe they will make us happy.

Businesses have a very different notion. Some items they buy will be small but essential (stationary, milk for the coffee machine) and some are bigger (company car leases, a new point of sale system) but ultimately, all of them are investments. They believe purchasing these systems will make them stand out from the competition and drive more sales.

Emotion is replaced with logic. They don’t think a new CRM system will make them look cool or send them smiling from ear to ear, but they believe their staff and customers will benefit and ultimately, it will bring greater returns.

General consumers and businesses are again different when it comes to decision-making. General consumers might ask the advice or recommendation from a friend or family if they’re purchasing a new gadget or might ask whether the colour of a certain garment suits them before ringing it through the till, but on the whole, they’re a lot more ‘low risk’ purchases. Many are even impulsive – as long as they know they can return it, why not?

Business decisions differ here since it’s much more involved. There are more people to consider and the risk level is often a lot higher. For example, if someone at senior management level invested in a new system that was just too complex for any staff to ever understand or use properly, they could face losing their job.

Or if a one-off boutique clothes shop bought an expensive new range of clothes that just didn’t appeal to their target market and just would not shift, they could go out of business.

Striking the right balance

Companies have unique wants and needs specific to their industries, operations and goals and they want to know specifically what gains their company will achieve from investing in a certain product or service.

Crafting effective B2B communications and ensuring they don’t fall short like some B2C comms where the consumer gets bored/tired/irritated and feels like they’re being bombarded with too much useless, random content or not listened to is about understanding and then responding to their different needs.

According to recent research, 87% of B2B buyers undertake their own research before choosing a supplier so it’s paramount that marketers are connecting rather than just communicating with their potential customers.

Here are 3 ways to ensure you’re doing just that:

1)    Nurture those leads:
Research shows that companies who excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads with a 33% reduction in costs. Leverage the insight you have by planning how each of your marketing channels can be used at the different stages of the buying process. For example, use messaging and content to influence decision makers to behave in certain ways at each of these stages.

2)    Tap into IP tracking:
Use IP tracking to introduce an additional channel into the mix and target prospects visiting your website that never make contact. Nurture these leads from anonymous website visitors to sales-ready leads and you’ll gain the competitive edge.

3)    Impact the buying cycle:
Gain real insight about your customers and where they are in the buying cycle by checking out their journey on your website and then responding to that with personalised comms. Reach out to them and invite them in if they’re new or if they’re existing customers, remind them how much they mean to you or introduce new products and services you know will appeal to them.