The main challenge of business-to-business sales is the longer sales cycle. This is because this kind of purchases can involve more than one area or decision maker, in addition to high investment values, thorough analysis of each possible supplier and pros and cons of the product or service.
Let’s consider, for instance, a company that has identified the need to acquire a corporate collaboration solution. The goal is to optimize the flow of information among its 2,000 employees across seven countries. What would be the path of this company from the search stage to the purchase decision?
Analyzing from the perspective of B2B digital marketing
In the digital era we live, the first obvious step is to type the problem you want to solve in Google’s search engine. The terms people use to find something on Google are called keywords.
To be seen, your business must appear on the first, second, or at most, third Google search page. Be it organically when applying SEO techniques (Search Engine Optimization); or with the purchase of keywords in Google Ads. SEO is a set of optimizations for better page positioning in online search engines. Google Ads is a way to appear with paid ads on Google pages.
Appearing with paid ads is no big secret (a qualified professional in Google campaigns and money to advertise is enough). So let’s address the organic way of making your business rank well on Google. The best strategy for this is Content Marketing. It involves creating and promoting relevant content to the target audience (see how to identify the personas of your business here), aiming at building relationship, engagement and, as a consequence, the sale.
In a very practical way, “Content is the virtual salesperson for the long B2B buying cycle”. This is how Rachel Balik, Content Marketing Manager at Demandbase, well defined the role of content. But what kind of content makes sense for B2B sales?
Top Content Types for B2B Digital Marketing
Blog posts – Betting on a blog with content that is relevant and of interest to your target audience is one of the key strategies. The blog posts should bring solutions to the main problems faced by the personas in their work areas and how to solve them. Examples: what tools and processes can help them, what is most innovative in the market and what are the trends in their expertise areas, or even contents that are quick guides to solving a minor problem.
Case studies – Cases are a great way to show your target audience the work your company has developed for a client. The more details about the initial problems, how your company solved them and what were the results obtained by the client after the service or solution provided, the more relevant the content will be. It is very important that the cases bring real numbers of benefits perceived by the customer, even in percentages. It can be the percentage of resource savings, time saving for the areas, productivity increase, capacity increase, among many other possibilities within each market segment. And finally, a statement from the client endorsing the good work of your company will close the case with a golden key to success.
Relevant market news – Another way to connect with customers and prospects is to become a source of information about the industry in which they operate. News that involve important topics such as legislation, deadline dates, compliance, market news, forecasts and predictions, among many others, attract the target audience and turn your company into a reference source.
Content Marketing workflow
Content developed, it’s time to make it reach your target audience. Feed the personas with content in several channels, making them travel the way that goes from the top to the base of the sales funnel. The channel mix can include:
Email marketing – Used as the channel for campaigns for the registered contact base. It can communicate about company achievements, certifications and awards, promotions, launches and webinars, for example.
Newsletter – It communicates the relevant company news. Its frequency is usually monthly, but it all depends on the dynamism of the company in the market. The newsletter is a great resource for increasing your website traffic. Just choose to add the “Read More” button after each news overview in the newsletter body. By clicking it, the reader will be directed to the website, where the news will be published in full format.
Events – Online (webinars) or offline (traditional format), demand production of unpublished content (research and studies, original presentations with analysis and perspectives on a theme) and are an important opportunity for interaction with the target audience. The offline events have a higher cost, but in return they allow face-to-face contact and relationship building.
Subsequent to the event, content in video format can be replicated in social media. Text content can be made available for download through e-mail marketing, among other possibilities.
Social media -They’re very important to generate engagement with the target audience. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn are the most commonly used social media in Brazil. But each one of them must be evaluated with attention, taking into account the target personas of the company (what social media platforms are they on?).
LinkedIn is an excellent platform for the B2B purpose. Read more about how to use LinkedIn for business in this blog post.
Ease of segmentation and measurement
B2B digital marketing comes to help businesses, as it offers features that allow you to accurately segment the target audience. This means that you can delimit the geographic region, the business segment, the job title of the decision maker that interests you, among other options. In times of marketing and communications budgets being increasingly reduced, digital marketing investments become measurable options for more assertive ROI.