Introduction to b2b branding
The biggest challenge when selling B2B online, is an authority issue. People want to trust a brand and see it as a professional one before deciding to buy from it. This post will walk you through how to build trust and create long lasting relationships with your prospects, in a way that will make selling to them natural.
Stop selling. Start adding value.
Who are your target customers? Create fictional representation of your ideal customers A.K.A buyer personas. Figure out what their main needs and challenges are and then consider how you help them. Instead of trying to sell to them, consider how you can add value to them and educate them. A PPC campaign that sends prospects to a hard sales landing page, inviting a prospect to fill out a form and connect with a sales person, is an almost sure way to fail. Why would they want to speak to a sales rep? they have no idea who you are. It's too soon. Zoom out and-
Understand the buyer's journey
The buyer's journey is the active research process a potential buyer goes through leading up to a purchase. There are three stages to a typical buyer's journey:
On the awareness stage, the prospect is experiencing and expressing symptoms of a problem and is researching in order to understand and give a name to their problem.
On the consideration stage, the prospect has clearly defined and given a name to their problem and is researching available ways to solve it.
On the decision stage the prospect has decided on a strategy to solve their problem and is now ready to make a purchase decision.
Simply put, if you're trying to sell to a person who doesn't yet understand their problem, or has not yet decided on a way to solve it, your chances of them choosing your solution are scarce. Alternatively, if you're the one who helps them identify their problem and consider various solutions, they are way more likely to choose your solution, and to choose to buy it from you. The way to do that is to -
Create remarkable content
As part of their buyer's journey, 47% of B2B buyers consume 3-5 pieces of content prior to engaging with a salesperson. Your prospects are researching about you before your sales people even know who they are. Make sure that your content is in-line with their journey. Create content that will help them learn from you. By adding value and educating, you're building trust and positioning your brand as an expert in your field.
Content that focuses solely on sales is detached, self-centered, and does not put your prospect and their needs and stage of readiness in the center. It's interruptive and will only result in frustration on your end. Start writing content that focuses on your prospect and considers their journey from their shoes. This will cause a shift in the way your business is perceived. It's a sure way to establish trust.
Make sure that your content is optimized so that when prospects are searching for it, it will show up in search engine result pages. Follow the tips on this post to learn more.
Engage with your prospects
Research and find out where your buyer personas go for information.
- Engage and share your content in places such as:
- Industry specific Linkedin and Facebook groups
- Q&A sit es such as Quora
- Reddit, Tumbler, Medium etc.
- Write guest posts on industry blogs.
- Conduct webinars
Sell to them when they are ready (not when you are).
Only once you've:
- mapped out who your buyer personas are
- tailored content for all stages of their buyer's journey
- made sure your content is visible and that your prospects are engaging with your content
Then and only then, is it time to offer your services. In other words, there's no point in trying to collaborate with a stranger that you have not established a relationship with, and who does not yet trust you.
B2B sales and B2B branding and authority are inseparable. Investing in research, understanding your audience and then creating online content assets is a great way to position your business, build trust, establish relationships and help your target audience find you, trust you, and choose you. Prepare yourself for a long process, B2B purchase decision involve multiple decision makers and take time. Don't convince yourself that digital marketing is irrelevant for B2B. That's an excuse for business who aren't willing to put in the effort and ripe the results. Don't be lead, become a leader in your industry, add value, and position your business. And by the way, the leads that you generate offline via word of mouth, biz dev, conferences and networking events are also going to be researching about you, all the more reason for your online presence to be up to standard.
35% of B2B marketers have a documented content strategy, time to step up yours.
P.S. If you found this useful, and you're curious to learn more and find out how to create a long lasting B2B marketing strategy, we invite you to download our How-To guide for creating an Inbound Marketing strategy