When planning B2B marketing strategies, most marketers don’t think of learning from B2C campaigns. But aren’t B2B buyers human beings just like B2C buyers? So why aren’t we talking to them like they’re people? Why do we treat them so differently? There are a lot of things we can take from B2C marketing that can also be utilized for B2B.
Your Prospects are People, Too
You may be talking to CMOs or VPs of Operations, or other people in significant roles when selling your solution. And while they may look at the world differently than your average consumer, they are still a person with emotions and concerns. They face different problems, but just like everyone, they want those problems solved and often they don’t have the time to fix them themselves.
So talk to them the way you would a consumer! Show them you understand them and their problems, and that you are there for them.
Prospects are People, and People are Busy
Everyone is busy nowadays, and B2B prospects are no different. In fact, they’re often the busiest of all. Don’t make your ads wordy and complicated, if you can help it. If you make them have to work to understand your solution, they’re not going to pay it attention, because our attentions are at a premium.
As mentioned above – talk to your B2B prospects like you would talk to a B2C prospect. Make things easy to understand. Show them that you know what they’re going through and that you’ve got the solution. Make buying simple, and you’ll likely see much better results.
People Relate to Stories – What’s Yours?
Humans are conditioned to relate to stories, even when someone is trying to sell us something. Building a Storybrand by Donald Miller is a book which emphasizes this truth. In it, Miller speaks to the components of a story, and how we as marketers can use them to our advantage. In most stories, he says, there’s a character… who has a problem… and meets a guide… who gives them a plan… and calls them to action… that helps them avoid failure… and ends in success.
By uncovering your brand’s story, you can craft a clear, compelling message that your target audience can relate to. Another thing that Miller mentions is that people want to change, and they want your brand to participate in that transformation. You should consider how your target audience desires to change, and how they want to be seen by others in their lives.
For example, let’s say you’re a SaaS business selling revolutionary accounting software for other SaaS businesses. It makes accounting for these companies so easy. The accountants at these SaaS companies may be worn out by changing laws, fluctuations in work, and expectations from leadership. By taking these pain points into consideration and then speaking to them, you can relate to them. This is more compelling than just about anything else you could say – because you’re showing that you understand their problem, and you’ve created a solution that’s going to help them.
If you are a SaaS business, here are some helpful tips for B2B SaaS Marketing!
Make Your Prospect the Hero of the Story
One mistake a lot of brands, even B2C brands, make is positioning themselves as the hero of the story. Your prospects don’t want to hear about you, you, you when all they’re thinking about is me, me, me. It’s not selfish, it’s just human nature. So by positioning them as the hero in the story, you can instantly grab their attention better than you ever would by talking about yourself.
With your prospect as the hero, your brand can then fit the role of the guide. Whether you position your brand as an expert in the space or that you understand their plight, you start to gain their trust. And, like Yoda training Luke, you can then give them the answer they seek to emerge from their struggle victorious: your solution.
If your messaging speaks more to you than them, your sales may suffer. People don’t care about when your company was founded or who your CEO is; they care about how you can help them with their problem.
So, highlight that. Make your messaging clear and concise, and tell them how your solution is going to help them solve their problem. Show that you understand them and what they’re going through. Give them some proof of how you’ve helped other companies like them with the same problem, and lead them to success. People are far more receptive to stories they can relate to and brands that can help them transform themselves into something better. So whether you’re selling software or healthcare tech, make your prospects the heroes of the story.
People Use Other Social Media Platforms
B2B marketers love to keep their marketing efforts limited to a few platforms – namely LinkedIn. But in the vein of treating your prospects like people, we know that not everyone lives on LinkedIn. Some professionals, especially in certain industries, may not even have a LinkedIn! But nearly everyone has a Facebook, and many others have Instagram, Twitter, or other social media accounts.
The best part about incorporating other social media platforms in your marketing strategy is that you can speak to them differently! LinkedIn users may respond better to business-focused messaging, but someone on Facebook may respond to something more emotional. Of course, you can also test keeping things exactly the same, or testing different messaging on the same platform to see what works best. Our assumptions and biases as marketers can be wrong, and the data will help us understand the true picture.
On the Flip Side, B2B Prospects ARE Different
I know I said there are similarities – but I agree that there are differences between B2B and B2C. There are strategies we can take from B2C and apply to B2B, but you may have to make some special considerations.
B2B Purchases are Often More Involved
Purchasing any B2B product or service is going to inherently take more time, research, and stakeholders than most B2C purchases. Even the biggest B2C purchases – a home for example, typically only take the input of 2-3 people, perhaps a husband and wife and their realtor. While some of these decisions take a while, coming to that final decision is much simpler because there are less moving parts.
A B2B purchase, though, may require the input of the heads of sales, marketing, finance, revenue, and perhaps even more people. The time it can take to get all of these individuals aligned and in agreement can take months, if not years. The actual process of buying, too, is often complex, with contracts and payment methods and onboarding taking up considerable time and resources.
Going back to the similarities between the two, buyers on both sides need to be helped along their buyer journeys, especially for big purchases. Consumers buying appliances, vehicles, or homes are helped along by sales reps and real estate agents. B2B buyers are aided by their sales reps. Both prospects are likely to do considerable research around their problem to find the solutions they feel most confident and comfortable choosing.
Hopefully these comparisons have helped you consider how B2B marketing strategies can draw from their B2C counterparts. B2B buyers are still people, and you should treat them as such. Speak to them as humans, and you’ll see more success in your efforts.
Want to learn more about how OM can support your B2B sales and marketing efforts? Reach out to book a discovery call.