Introduction - Facebook for a B2B Business
Facebook is known as one of the major ad networks available today. Since the social network is mainly for recreational and personal uses, B2B businesses tend to leave this channel low-touched or not touched at all. This of course is a terrible mistake since B2B buyers are also human and use Facebook just like any other user. The trick is too truly understand your buyer personas and to promote the content they want to read according to their stage in the buyer's journey.
It is important to understand that this post demonstrates one example. Each business is unique and has different buyer personas and different buying cycles. What is right for one business will not always work for another. This post will hopefully get your brain juices flowing and inspire you to try and test different approaches until you find what works best for your business.
The challenge B2B Business need to deal with
Since the buying cycle of a B2B buyer compared to B2C buyer is longer and more complex – using Facebook as TOFU only channel is not recommended and will result in frustration and rough cash-flow for your business since it will generate costly low-quality (not sales ready) leads. Getting sales on the phone to call those leads and pitch will most likely result in disappointment.
Quality B2B Leads are hard to generate.B2B buyers are rarely ready to buy on the spot. The trick is to attract relevant potential prospects even when they are not ready to buy and to nurture them to the point that not only they are ready to buy, but they are specifically interested at buying from you.
Before proceeding with this post make sure that you understand what the buyer's journey is, this it is crucial in order to understand the remains of this post and in order to actually generate sales using Facebook for a B2B Business.
Custom Audiences are you best friend
Facebooks custom audiences is one of their best advertising tool. The ability to use your own data (website, App, CRM, Facebook Engagement) to target specific users in their buying journey is a great opportunity to drive them down the funnel and nurture them to the point they are ready to buy from you.
Using the Custom Audiences wisely will reduce your advertising spend and increase your overall performance and ROI.
You can read my post on how to use Facebook Custom Audiences to get a more profound understanding of the tool.
Getting the leads flowing
Facebook has many types of campaign objectives. Choosing the objective that directly corresponds with your business goals is usually the best practice. While using Facebook to generate leads for a B2B business, sometime the effective method is a bit different. Of course your primary objective is to generate leads or sales, nevertheless, using Website Conversion at some stages would be wrong. The reason is that trying to cold sell to a B2B buyer will mostly result a failure – don’t try to sell in your ads until they are ready to buy.
Use “Post Engagement” or “Website Clicks” campaigns in order to drive relevant traffic to your best performing blog posts. Choose the posts that pushes the right buttons on your potential B2B Buyer.
I’ll demonstrate this by giving a fictitious example that will lead us through the remaining of this post.
“AWD” (Awesome Web Developers) is a web development company that specializes in creating custom complex web applications to businesses.
One of their buyer personas is “Product Dave”. Dave is a VP Product at a post round A startup company. While working on developing and understanding Dave's persona AWD realize that one of Dave's biggest challenges is to scale a web product.
Therefore, they write a blog post titled: “How to make your web product scalable”.
This would be a post I would try to promote at the awareness stage of the potential buyers.
In the post I would place Calls to Actions to a landing page that offers a premium content offer (an eBook for example). In order to download the content offer, prospects must provide their E-mail so that the offer can be emailed to them.
Remember – we are not trying to sell, so there is no point in asking for their phone number or any other credential in return for downloading the offer. Keep the form as short as possible in order to keep your conversion rates optimal.
Once they have submitted their request for the eBook they have in fact converted from total strangers to a contact that we can keep track of and engage with emails or remarketing (using Custom Audiences).
For users that had visited your relevant blog posts and haven’t yet converted – try using the Facebook Website Conversions campaign type and drive the already visited users directly to your content offer.
The following chart demonstrates the process
Turning contacts into qualified leads
Now that we have relevant contacts, how can we turn them in to qualified leads and eventually to sales?
In order for a potential B2B Buyer to take you under consideration in the buying process he must first trust you. Downloading your eBook is a great beginning it's only part of the process of building your trust and authority in their eyes.
Email marketing is a very effective tool to drive potential buyers down the sales funnel, but sometimes it’s not enough and could require external media assistance. This is where Facebook's custom audiences come to the rescue.
Create segmented lists of users that are in the consideration stage – in the AWD example, users that downloaded the awareness stage eBook but hadn’t yet had taken any other actions (other eBooks, webinars, Consideration/decision blog posts, etc).
Target those lists using Facebooks Custom Audiences and use the Post Engagement/Website Clicks objective to direct the traffic to relevant consideration posts. This time your target audience is quite precise and you should expect high CTR’s and high engagement rates since those users have already downloaded an eBook from you and know you a bit better.
These blog posts should contain CTA’s to a landing page offering them a premium consideration content offer such as webinar or guide. This time in order to receive the premium content offer they should submit additional information about themselves. For example, ask them to submit their role in the company they work at and the URL of website of that company.
Once submitting their credentials these contacts become leads. You know their name, where they works and you have their company website address. This reflect higher intent and maturity – enough to call them a lead.
Notice we still didn't ask the prospect for their phone number. The buyer's journey is not over yet and the prospect is not ready to be sold to. Keep pushing the prospect down the buyer's journey from consideration to the decision stage. Do this with additional blog posts, landing pages and premium offers. Each time, ask for more information about the prospect, Since they have already engaged with a lot of your content you can dig deeper and ask even harder questions that will help your sales team in the future to easily close the deal by being much more prepared for a personalized sales pitch.
Once you have accumulated enough data on the user, you can now call him a marketing qualified lead (MQL). This point varies between businesses and should be tested constantly.
The following is an illustration of the process
Turn qualified leads to sales
You now have a bunch of marketing qualified leads who are likely ready to be sold to.
Before you try to pitch them, run the cycle one more time – this time on Decision Stage blog posts. For example, a successful Case study of your company helping a company like theirs. In the blog posts, include Calls To Action that direct them to a landing page offering a free consultation or demo. This time take their phone number only - the rest you already know by now.
Take all the data you have on the prospect and hand it over to sales. The data you have accumulated and the trust and authority you gained in the prospects eyes is very high and the likelihood of the MQL to turn into a sale is much higher than the conversion rates generated by a cold approach.
Conclusion - Facebook for a B2B Business
Generating B2B sales using Facebook advertising isn’t easy, it takes time and optimization processes. But once you have all your gears set – the clock will tick and the sales will occur.
Executing this process without automation capabilities is rather difficult, I suggest to using some sort of marketing automation system so that the process will be easier and more effective. Nonetheless, the methodology remains the same and even without automation, I highly recommend ditching the cold calling approach and utilizing Facebook to create a relationship with your prospects, nurture leads, push them down the buyer's journey and eventually turning them into customers.
If you're curious to learn more, we invite you to download this FREE guide of 14 B2B marketing practices every CMO must know.