A lot of standard internet marketing advice is directed at business-to-consumer situations. Much of it revolves around engaging buyers directly, targeting their emotional hot buttons, and turning their interest into action. But what if you sell in a B2B environment, where bigger numbers, hard facts and figures, and multiple decision-makers are likely to be involved?
The first step in answering that question is understanding that some internet marketing concepts are fairly universal. While B2B sales might focus on different benefits, or margins, you still have to interest buyers and get them excited before you can convince them to take the next step. However, there are some important differences. Let’s take a look at a few that matter the most…
More Complex Answers Are Needed
As a rule of thumb, B2B projects and services tend to be more complex and more expensive. That means customers are going to do a lot more research. Even when the money isn’t coming out of their own pockets, it could represent an important buying decision for the firm and affect the person who recommends or proves the purchase. Bonuses, promotions, and future responsibilities can all be on the line.
In this kind of complex selling environment, it’s better to give more information rather than less. You want customers to feel as if they have all the data and comparisons they need to make a smart decision. If they don’t, they may put off taking action.
You Might Have Multiple Buyers Involved
Many B2B buying decisions are made by committee. Or, they could be researched by one person but approved by another.
When there are multiple buyers and decision-makers involved, smart marketers are cognizant of the fact that each individual is likely to have not only their own needs and motivations to consider, but also a different knowledge level with the problem or solution. For that reason, content needs to be written and delivered in a way that makes it easy for those without a lot of understanding to grasp the most important concepts, while their colleagues can jump to the finer points or technical details as needed.
Make sure that anyone who will be involved in the decision to buy your product can understand what it’s about, and how it can help them reach their own personal goals.
Inbound Leads Are More Valuable
Because there is a longer, more complex sales process to go through, inbound leads are even more valuable in a B2B sales setting. You want customers coming to you through your website because they are already informed about your industry, your products or services, and what differentiates you from the competition. That can cut down on the time you need to spend educating prospects, and also make them less likely to negotiate prices (because they’ve already come to you with the understanding that they want what you have to sell).
B2B selling is different online, as it is in real life. But, if you can keep a few core concepts in mind, you’ll be able to attract buyers to your website, educate them about what you have to offer, and turn them into qualified leads with no problems.