In my last video, I talked about the differences between B2B marketing and B2C marketing, and there are a lot of them. But B2B marketers can actually gain something from taking a look at what their B2C marketing comrades are doing. They can up their game and differentiate themselves, and that’s what I want to talk about today.
Quick Review: B2C vs. B2B marketing
There are two main differences between B2C and B2B marketing.
One is the buyer. For B2C, it’s that consumer, and it tends to be one person. For B2B, it is usually a team of people, and that team has to come together to make the purchase decision.
The second difference is how the decision is made. For consumers, it tends to be more emotionally driven. For businesses, it tends to be more rationally driven, with more data involved.
B2B marketing challenges
These two basic differences actually create a lot of challenges for B2B marketers.
When selling to teams, you end up having to create essentially a funnel for each different player in in the buying team, which tends to be very complex. You end up expending a lot of effort, and it can be really confusing.
For the rational decision process, the rational focus creates a challenge because often there’s an over-emphasis on creating the data, facts and intellectual reasoning around why your product is the best.
And what could be lost in the shuffle is excitement and passion. You end up lowering the engagement level of your audience and getting lost in the noise.
Can B2C marketers help us with these two challenges?
Yeah, they can.
Simplify selling to teams
So what are they doing that B2B marketers can learn from for selling to teams? The key thing is to simplify, and there are three ways to do that.
1. Unify your funnel
Yes, you need to reach each of these individual people in the buyer’s funnel, but you need to start by looking at the bigger picture and what you’re trying to accomplish. Look at the role that each of these people play.
You need one story that may have several chapters or versions for each of your audiences.
But at the end of the day, you need to view that whole sales and marketing process and the customer journey as a single entity that will simplify your efforts.It may simplify your your marketing platform, your technology as well.
2. Identify the decision owner
The second thing you could do to simplify the B2B process is identify that single decision owner on that team of buyers. It’s really easy to get lost in the numbers and spread your efforts evenly across a half dozen people on a buying team. The reality is that this follows the 80/20 rule; one person is really going to make the biggest difference for you. Most of your effort needs to be focused with that role.
3. Shorten your “win” cycle
The third way to simplify is to shorten your “win” cycle. What I mean by that: With a sales cycle that can be over a year long, it’s easy to get lost in that and not seeing the progress, and people get defocused and distracted.
Create intermediate milestones that have specific, measurable results and timing identified with them so your team can focus and rally around these intermediate steps that drive to the end decision.
Add emotion to B2B buying
For the rational decision process problem, you need to put emotion into your sales and marketing message.
At their core, your business buyers are people, too, and they have the same emotional process going on as consumers do, even if it’s for a business outcome. As a matter of fact, there are studies that show that decisions are made subconsciously first, with emotion. And then they are justified rationally, consciously – with logic. So it’s really important to reach inside and and affect how your B2B buyers think about things, and not just appeal to their brain.
There are three ways you can do that.
1. Meaning before logic
Make sure that you have meaning driving your message, not just facts and figures. Logic without purpose for your audience is almost a waste of time.
2. “Them” before “us”
Secondly, you need to talk about your customer and not about yourself.
It is common for B2B businesses to have an inside-out message where they talk about how great the are or what a great partner they would be – all with good intentions. But the customer really needs to hear about them and how their story will improve with your help.
3. Solution before function
You can inject emotion in your communications when you talk about how your offering helps your customers, not just what it does. If you If you lead with your features and your functions, they’re going to miss the value to them and lack engagement.
B2B marketers, there is huge opportunity for you in this approach.
Most of your competitors are not thinking about it this way. If you spend modest amount of effort to learn from B2C marketing best practices and make some changes to take advantage of the things they do so well, you will have a simpler and more effective marketing process, and you will stand out with your audience.