B2B (business to business) advertising requires a different approach. The business buyer is sophisticated, understands your product or service better than you do.
He wants or needs to buy products or services to help their company stay profitable, competitive, and successful.
However, there is one essential thing to remember when planning your ad campaign:
Regardless of whether you’re targeting an enterprise or an early-stage startup, each and every business comprises individuals. In the end, we’re all human, we’re all consumers, and we all buy things for certain reasons.
That’s why you should view your consumers as individuals rather than a business entity.
To better understand how to leverage the “human” approach to B2B advertising, here are key differences between the B2B and B2C (business to customer) cycles:
B2B markets are generally small vertical markets, often niche in size, comprised of a few thousand sales prospects to maybe as large as 100,000 prospects, where B2C markets that are typically large broad markets (we’re talking millions of sales prospects)
B2B sales typically have a purchasing process that is usually defined in months and the sale is complex, often taking additional months to complete. B2C sales have short purchasing periods of anywhere from a few minutes (the impulse buy), to a few days and is a simple sale consummated immediately.
Lifetime Consumer Value
The lifetime value of B2B customers is much higher due to the higher cost of sales and the likelihood of repeat or add-on sales to the same customer. Individual sales and repeat sales are generally fewer.
B2B sales require consultative selling (selling based on understanding a client’s needs and developing a relationship of trust) sometimes from a two-step level sales organization including the seller’s sales force and distribution sales force. B2C sales are usually direct to the consumer or involve a retailer.
Cost of a Sale
B2B sales are “higher ticket” purchases usually costing from just a few thousand to tens of millions, where B2C sales can range in cost from a dollar to a few thousand (except to cars and properties).
So, get to know your audience.
Make sure you truly understand your prospect’s reality, as well as the foundation of why you’re reaching out.
Here are some ways to set that foundation:
- Learn about your prospect as a person. Check out their LinkedIn and Twitter. Look for things like current and previous work, their specific role, publications in which they’re featured, and mutual connections. I also find that many “About Me” descriptions tend to have an interesting line or two that you can use in an initial email (e.g., mention their favourite sports team or hobby). If you can add a little human touch, you’ll show the marketer you’ve done your research and that you’re not just a robot.
- Learn about the company. There’s a nifty tool called Datanyze that can make your research easy. It’s a simple Chrome extension that allows you to see a company’s annual revenue, how many employees they have, and most importantly, what software they are using. This provides a high-level glance at where the company stands relative to your ideal customer profile.
- Predict their pain points and goals. At this point, you should have a few ideas as to how your product or service can help your prospect. You may be wrong, but that’s okay — once you pick up the phone, your first point of action is to validate. Never just continue to assume. Use the little bit that you know to show you did your research, but use their time to validate your hypothesis.