Customers are very difficult to find and it remains the motto of every customer is a good customer. Customers are often courted by many service providers and it is already apparent in recent studies that customers no longer like to be directly addressed, but “passive” marketing is becoming more and more successful.
Passive marketing means that customers are supplied with advertising messages or spping news articles. The marketing measure focuses primarily on mass and reach. Customers then voluntarily click on an advertising banner. Such customers are often much more willing to buy.
By advertising a banner on my blog, you can put your company in the focus of B2B customers. I am happy to talk to you about such a banner advertisement. Meaningful banners are placed under each article or on the side. These will direct interested B2B customers to your site. Just get a non-binding offer from me!
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About the Blog
I run the blog agile company since April 2016. In the meantime, there are more than 300 articles on the topic of digitization of Company. Important aspects are virtual teams, work 4.0, agile organization and leadership. On the one hand, I blog scientific content well explained for practice as well as your own practical tips from everyday life in companies. Continue I blog about scientific practice, which is particularly exciting for students ist
Target group 1 are managers and professionals who show an interest in the digital transformation. Such professionals and managers can then be a ticket for you to enter the company. Target group 2 are students who are about to graduate and are looking for a topic for the thesis. You can also attract skilled workers here.
Acquisition of readers
The blog attracts most users through SEO and grows permanently. The current number of visits can be found in the graph. Furthermore, I gave 2-3 lectures per month before COVID and am currently switching to webinars. There is also a telephone consultation and now 5 specialist books on the blog, published by Springer Gabler (edition 25,000).
Definition: What are B2B customers (different from B2C)
B2B is a business relationship between two or more companies. This is not a new business trend, as B2B business relationships have existed since the 1980s. In the past, B2B was often referred to as industrial marketing, but today the term is rather rare. Alternatively, B2B is also referred to as BtoB or, more precisely, business-to-business. When people talk about B2B in terms of marketing, they primarily mean the decision makers in the respective company.
When working with B2B, there are some special features to consider, especially some important advantages. In B2B marketing or B2B distribution, products, goods or services are not sold to the final consumer, but between companies. These are always goods, products and service offerings that offer added value to the company.
An example of this would be a company that makes computers but does not sell them to end users in a store or over the Internet, but only to companies that use these computers for business purposes.
The most obvious difference between B2B (Business to Business) and B2C (Business to Consumer) is the target group. While companies turn to B2B, private consumers turn to b2C. This leads to different requirements for the respective marketing departments and their activities. For example, classic television advertising is typical of B2C marketing because it reaches a large and anonymous mass. On the other hand, B2B attaches more importance to targeted interactions with those responsible.
B2B offers financial advantages to both companies. The supplier saves time and money by not having to manage branches. The buyer also saves time and money by finding a reliable supplier. Anyone with previous knowledge of B2B knows that the greatest potential lies in the B2B segment.
A well-planned strategy is essential for B2B sales. In addition, extensive know-how and prior knowledge are required. Thanks to the Internet, getting started with B2B marketing is much easier for newcomers. The Internet makes it easy to find potential suppliers partners. The Internet is also a useful tool for communicating with partners.
The process that leads to purchases in B2B sales is different from the sales process in B2C. This is mainly due to the fact that several people are involved in the decision-making process. Several factors are decisive for the decision.
For example, the solution should prove profitable, but efficiency and investment risk are also important. The task of sales is to ensure that all the requirements of the potential customer are met. To do this, sales must get to know all decision-makers in the company so that they can participate in the sales process.
The sales cycle is divided into several phases. The high cost of an order when selling goods or services between companies ensures that sales are divided into different levels. The result is the following levels:
First contact with requirements
Presentation of a possible solution tailored to the requirements
Test phase (possibly with a prototype)
Requirements specification based on the results of the test phase
After conclusion of the contract or delivery of the goods, the customer care takes place.
The last step should never be neglected. Only those who take intensive care of their customers can keep them for a long time. The goal is to build strong business relationships because the cost of customer loyalty is lower than for winning. In contrast, the B2C sales cycle is much shorter. The sale ends here with the first contact.
Trend forecast: Why online customer askquise
There is a lot going on in B2B marketing. There are digital approaches that make your own brand more visible and customer acquisition in the B2B more effective. Newsletter marketing, social media appearances and a company blog serve as additional channels. Media consumption continues to shift from the “classic” media to the Internet. As a result, the future of sales is no longer in the personal sphere, but in the digital space and on the telephone. Sales personnel are really only needed for products that require a detailed explanation. For all other purchases, man-made algorithms should take over the purchase. Big data scoring algorithms should even offer sellers suggestions for appropriate revenue potential.
B2B sales are becoming much more digital. The previous “analog” (cold) acquisition is now more and more ineffective. Since 60-70% of B2B procurement processes are initiated by Internet research, software tools for the cold acquisition process must automate (marketing automation and artificial intelligence). Only at a later date can high-quality sales personnel be involved. Digital tools should also help organizations develop new service business models, such as .B Product as a Service, or Predictive Service. At the same time, comprehensive employee training for the use of digital tools is required to attract commercial B2B customers, provide the best possible advice and make their shopping experience as positive as possible.
The digitization of AI and marketing automation should continue to be a decisive trend in B2B marketing in 2020. “New marketing” requires a reorganization of the corporate structures, in which the marketing department has to take the lead in order to attract new B2B customers. Connecting to the product fades into the background because it is important to use network effects. Today, CMOs need to understand digital technology, bring agility and empathy to the department, and see themselves as coordinators of customer interaction.
3. Customer channels online
The Internet is becoming increasingly important in the B2B sectors. Many companies present their products on their homepages, in online shops, in blogs and on social media. In this way, you can attract commercial customers online and find new sales markets. In this area there are different channels to attract new customers. In a B2B business, the B2C type of marketing is not efficient because companies target a much smaller audience. That is why they focus on trade journals when advertising in print media. They also use platforms such as virtual B2B marketplaces to attract potential customers online. For existing clients, orders are often processed with special software that is largely automated.
B2B marketing channels:
Content marketing: The basic idea of content marketing is to position yourself as an expert as a company and to offer customers added value through high-quality content. For example, in a company blog that discusses various issues and solutions that a client might need in addition to the product. Practical tips and technical articles are also good ways to customize your content marketing.
Content marketing is becoming increasingly important in B2B marketing. Many companies now run company blogs that analyze content, trends, and topics related to their product range. This informative, advisory and entertaining value-added information should be addressed to the target group and convince them of a range of services or brands.
Content marketing is ideal to bring the target group closer to explaining the company’s products and services. For example, consecutive blog posts can provide detailed answers to open questions about product customization or innovative hidden features.
It is important that the texts are not too advertising, but relevant. Customers receive the information well if they feel that the company shares highly specialized knowledge with them, which is crucial to their daily work. The company blog is particularly common in the USA. According to the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) Benchmark, Budgets and Trends survey, 81 percent of U.S. B2B marketers blog to reach their audiences.
Online platforms and social media: In addition to a dedicated website, which is a prerequisite for B2B marketing, it may also make sense to sell via various B2B platforms such as Amazon Business. Social media is also an important B2B tool for attracting new customers. Only the channels should be deliberately selected. In the B2B area, we recommend using networks such as Xing, LinkedIn or Twitter.
However, there are other channels that B2B marketers use. According to cmo.com, influencer marketing is an insider’s advice: “Today, B2B companies go beyond traditional gatekeepers such as journalists or analysts to talk to influencers who have a high level of trust and are reachable online. One important reason: Purchasing decisions are made online today. Through their independent experience and insight, influencers can help companies gain more insight from business decision makers that would otherwise be difficult to reach. However, finding influencers is much more difficult than B2B marketing itself. After all, your products are at the top end of the market with only a few renowned experts.
The more promising trend in B2B marketing is therefore likely to be the following: hiring internal employees to prove their qualifications as brand ambassadors.
Pros: Online customer acquisition
In particular, B2B companies have limited sales and marketing resources. The biggest financial costs are still incurred in sales today. Against this background, there is a constant search for effective methods that can increase the productivity of sales staff. Some time ago, small and medium-sized enterprises were able to rely on leads. You could focus on leads generated by inbound and outbound marketing activities or personal contact, such as at trade fairs.
However, this is no longer enough to keep pace with strong international competition. In addition to a comprehensive online presence, detailed information about potential customers is essential to reach them early in the decision-making process. In this context, it is primarily a matter of attracting potential customers online and selecting them in advance when acquiring customers online. This means that stakeholders will only be transferred to the sales department if they can be better assessed in terms of their purchasing potential and area of interest.
E-commerce offerings for B2B customers can create a completely new experience for customers and provide a basis for decision-making already during the research phase. In addition, large existing customers in particular can design customer-specific interfaces, e.B. with customer logos, customer-specific product recommendations, etc. Online customer acquisition has the following advantages:
Advantage 1: Possible savings through process optimization
When analog processes are fully transferred to the digital world, this offers great optimization potential after the first conversion phase. Software-automated processes are becoming faster, more economical, less labor-intensive and more reliable.
Advantage 2: Better customer service, which is always available
Customer acquisition is freer online and leaves much more room for advice. Detailed product pages can instantly capture all the information that customers previously had to carefully collect from a variety of documents. Accurate data about material, dimensions, functionality, model design, part number, etc. can also be displayed on a page for various options. High-quality images with helpful depth views provide instant answers to questions that are difficult to read from data lists. Explanatory blog posts, assembly instructions with a range of videos or photos, product comparisons or reference information of any kind may relate to the products and significantly facilitate customer acquisition in the B2B.
Advantage 3: Savings on customer service
Thanks to the expanded range of information, customers can independently find all the information they need about the desired product – and this has a side effect of the savings for the B2B seller: The number of support calls is significantly reduced. Another typical customer question in a service center – the question of the individually agreed price structure – is no longer applicable thanks to the B2B store system, as the customer is currently shown his individual prices at any time after logging in.
If the store system is connected to the product management system, the customer can view the status of their order or receive e-mail information about the progress of the order. The most common reason to call the customer service center with the question “Where is my delivery?” – becomes superfluous, which significantly reduces the burden on consultants working with customers.
Advantage 4: Benefits of Internationalization
9 out of 10 B2B companies are aimed at buyers from several countries. If there is a powerful system behind the store, the different country versions can easily be based on the same system. It is not necessary to set up a separate shop for each country of sale. Instead, only the country-specific content – language, currency, units of measure, shipping information, legal information, etc. – changes – the rest remains the same. This makes entering a new market much easier and faster than before. Depending on demand, competitive situation or legal requirements, you can release or block certain products for sale in selected markets with one click.
Cons: From the danger of sinking in the mass
One drawback of B2B sales may be that the market is smaller than the B2C market. B2B marketing is not suitable for every company. For some companies, a B2C strategy is more promising. If you’re interested in B2B sales, it may be worth contacting companies with B2B experience on relevant platforms in advance. With B2B sales, however, it is also possible to involve private customers, i.e. real end users, in the business model. However, this option must be carefully thought through and planned in the company concept.
Low contact frequency. Anyone who contacts their customers in person more than four times a year shares 80% of the market with only 8% of their competitors. If you can’t do that, you’re fighting 92% of all competitors for a ridiculous 20% of the rest of the market.
Lame communication. The first person to fill out the topics on the market has a 50% chance of receiving an order. If you lag, you lose … Sales and customers.
Lack of relevance. Those who know the interests of their customers not only increase the visibility of their offer and brand, but also the likelihood of a deal being concluded. Those who advertise inappropriately lose.
If you have access to a proper database, you can sell faster, more accurately and more efficiently. If you first need to collect all the data, you lose … not just a lot of time.
Missing processes. If you standardize data flows, communication processes and workflows, you can automate sales and marketing and simplify it considerably. Whoever “reinvents the wheel” wastes time, money and nerves … and gets disadvantages in the competition.
The purchase starts digitally. 63% of all B2B transactions start online. This means that companies should consider maintaining their online presence or optimizing customer acquisition online. This includes websites and presence on channels through which customers can obtain information. After all, 58% use social media for research purposes, for example. If you don’t have a profile, you lose many opportunities.
Before the first meeting with the company, most B2B customers (57%) already made a purchase. This means that face-to-face conversations with customers are just as valuable as they used to be, but that the entire customer journey becomes more important before the first conversation. If you don’t know what the customer is doing and what they need in the first half of the purchase process, you may not even be able to start a conversation to win over the B2B customer.
The shopping centre is growing. According to the Gartner study, three-quarters of all malls are made up of people with different roles, teams, and locations. This also means that purchase cycles will become longer as more ROI analyses are performed and more time is spent on research.
Inbound marketing is becoming more and more important. As customers increasingly research themselves, the relevance of their own content on digital platforms will also increase. When customers use Google and social media, a good inbound marketing strategy can take them directly to their own website and drive customer acquisition in the B2B.
In order to achieve a good rank in the search engines, your content must be appealing, informative and relevant to your target groups in addition to a solid SEO strategy. The best ranking loses value when potential customers receive well-optimized but no informative content on the site.
A clear content strategy is critical because, according to a study by Showpad, 86% of b2B customers feel overwhelmed by the amount of content they are offered. In short, companies need to adapt content to the individual needs of each stage of purchase and provide clear instructions for action (next best content).
Good content plays an important role in social media. Not everyone has the time to write their own articles and posts on LinkedIn. Content from a company blog, video, or infographic can help strengthen your own brand.