B2B stands for business-to-business communication. “WTF...” you might scream, “he’s already answered the question… how can he write a whole article based on three simple characters?”
Well, dear reader, without trying to come across as rude… LOL. Here at NetHunt, we don’t simply answer the whats and ask you to shut the door on your way out. We dive deep, leaving no stone unturned in our quest to soothe epains across the internet.
Without further ado, welcome to the wonderful world of what, why, how, and which of B2B sales.
What on earth is B2B sales?
As we’ve already established, B2B is busy business jargon for business-to-business sales. It’s the exchange of goods, services, and information from one business to another. In late 2018, the B2B eCommerce market topped a whopping $1.134 trillion. B2B is huge, even though you can’t see it.
In fact, you can see it. If you look around at just about anything on your desk, I guarantee that at some point, some part of it was exchanged in a B2B transaction. B2B is a major part of any supply chain, and the demand is generally created by three different categories of customer.
Producers are the companies that purchase goods and services to transform them into another product. After all, businesses need to buy stuff to make the things they sell to us.
- KFC need chickens and potatoes.
- Dentists need drills.
Resellers are companies who, without changing them, sell the goods and services of another company. Wholesalers and retailers make these goods available to the masses.
- Tesco don’t grow their own fruit and vegetables.
- You can buy just about anything on Amazon.
→Governments and Institutions
This category of buyers provide basic, but vital services. Governments are the biggest purchasers of goods and services in the world; they buy just about anything. Institutions are also huge buyers.
- Governments buy bin lorries for bin men to drive around in.
- Institutions such as the Red Cross need medical supplies.
Yes, we’d have nothing without B2B.
Why on earth not B2C?
B2C stands for business-to-customer. It’s the practice of aiming and selling products or services to customers, as opposed to businesses. In principle, defining your business as one or the other depends on what you are selling and how you sell it. Still, a lot of enterprises align with both.
Niche, targeted markets.
Emotional messages, context.
Industry jargon, expertise.
Priority: Brand awareness.
Priority: Lead generation.
B2C businesses focus their attention on hitting large markets, getting as many eyes on their product as possible. Their marketing priorities are all about raising their brand profile, and they generally do so through social media campaigns and targeted adverts. The role of these campaigns and adverts is to connect with their consumer emotionally and to provide context for their product within a consumer’s life. They must use simple language to appeal to as many customers as possible.
Once they get the customer on the hook, they reel them in for more with the appeal of a transactional model of relationship, providing content, discounts, and VIP membership in return for custom.
On the other hand, B2B business is all about getting the product’s message spot on, so that it meets the exact demands of its customer. Hitting such specific markets means salespeople spend a lot of their time finding and nurturing leads. When they find those leads, they need to use industry jargon and show off their expertise to appeal to a customer’s rationality.
Rather than a ‘book them and chuck them’ approach, B2B businesses rely on repeat custom. They must build personal relationships with the (generally high-ranking) business people they sell to.
How on earth do I market B2B?
Because of how specific they are, B2B markets tend to be very congested. Competition for customers, even attention, is exceptionally high and to be successful takes a lot of prior planning. As we’ve already established, personalisation is top of the pile when it comes to B2B marketing.
So… how about hyper-personalisation?
RED HOT B2B TREND for 2020
Account Based Marketing (ABM) is a highly focussed business strategy where marketing and sales teams treat individual user accounts on their platforms as individual markets. Instead of casting a wide net like with B2C, ABM marketers work closely with sales teams to tailor hyper-personalised programmes and messages to accounts. They create content, events, and entire marketing campaigns dedicated to the users behind one account.
A market of one might seem like a lot of work; it might even seem counterintuitive. But, if it’s done right it can change a business’s fortune. A study by SiriusDecisions found 91% of respondents reported that the average value for deals that were won through an ABM strategy was higher than those that were won without one. Other advantages include…
- The sales cycle is shortened;
- More time spent on campaigns that yield results, less dead ends;
- Fortified relationships with existing clients.
Every set of accounts is unique, and each has its own idiosyncrasies that need to be navigated. It’s impossible to offer a one-size fits all approach to ABM Marketing, but we can take inspiration from other companies who have succeeded. GumGum, an AI tech company, wanted McDonalds on their books.
GumGum’s marketing team sent kits containing Big Macs, filled with “ingredients”, which presented different aspects of their service and showcased what makes it special. They were able to explain computer vision, a complex technology, in a way that their prospect would definitely understand.
They looked through their prospect’s eyes and landed a massive deal as a result.
Which on earth are the best tools for B2B?
This one’s easy. Every B2B business out there should have a Client Relationship Manager (CRM) helping them keep them on top of their sales funnel. I might be a little biased, but I know just the ticket.
NetHunt CRM values simplicity above everything else. We find that there are too many big, fancy CRM systems out there that are trying to change the way a business works. Our CRM integrates directly into your Gmail inbox and is fully customisable to fit existing processes.
It keeps every client's full context handy and visualises where they are in their sales pipeline. The bulk email feature provides loads of different templates to send personalised messages to segmented lists of prospects. After that, the reporting feature lets you see what’s hot and what’s not in your email campaigns.
OMG and I didn’t even mention our new LinkedIn integration. It’s a handy little tool that lets you scrape all that juicy data from the world’s best lead generation platform. Sign up for a free 14-day trial and book a demo with our super Customer Success Team to see what it’s all about.
You might ask ‘what is B2B?’ and expect a wishy-washy answer about the semantics of it all... but it’s much more complex than that. A trillion dollar industry needs to be made aware of; it needs to be understood so we can milk it for all that it’s worth. B2B isn’t just a fad, it’s an integral part of all of our businesses and lives.
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