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How to Attract New Customers in B2B: A Complete Guide
Where to find new customers if your existing client base is exhausted and you lack the budget for advertising? Where should you place advertisements to reach your target audience? Is it better to hire a marketing specialist or collaborate with an agency?
These, and other questions, will be answered by the marketing director and founder of NAVIAN.studio agency, Ana Najmušinova.
How to Acquire New Customers
The main difference between B2B and B2C is the limited target market. There are fewer customers and buyers, mainly consisting of companies in a specific–often very narrow–segment. A segment that does not like to make impulsive purchases: the customer’s primary motivations are lowering budgets, reducing risk, and increasing income. B2C tactics like catchy headlines (so-called clickbait), striking graphics, and emotional pressure either do not work here, or work to a very limited extent.
For those who make decisions about cooperation in the B2B sector, brand reputation, level of expertise, and the position of potential partners in the market are of great importance. B2B products are technologically advanced and expensive, so closing deals takes longer and partner selection is uncompromising. Therefore, it is important to be regularly present in the informational space of potential customers.
B2B companies seek new customers through various methods:
- Industry Events and Conferences: This includes trade shows, conferences, seminars, and business meetings. Companies use these events to showcase their products, network with business partners, and build relationships with potential customers.
- Sales Representatives: Employees of supplier companies who meet with customer representatives, introduce and sell products or services.
- PPC Advertising: Banner ads with short product descriptions which can be presented to potential customers who have visited websites or entered relevant queries into search engines.
- Websites: Most companies have websites that provide information about their business, products or services, terms of trade, and contact details. Contact information should be readily available for any potential customers to reach out directly or through a form.
- Email Marketing: Companies use emails to inform customers about upcoming events, offer promotions, discounts, and loyalty programs, provide value, and stay top-of-mind. Email marketing is one of the most effective sales channels for B2B.
- Business Tenders: Companies organize bidding contests where potential suppliers can offer their products or services and the tender organizer selects the company offering the most favorable terms for collaboration.
- Telemarketing: This involves calling potential customers, where a manager presents the company’s products or services and offers collaboration. This approach is routine and demanding, but essential for startups.
- SEO and SMM: SEO optimization and social media management indirectly influence business development. The more people learn about the company, the higher the chances of attracting potential customers.
To support sales in B2B, two main strategies are used:
- Push Strategy: The company actively promotes its products or services using marketing tools and ongoing analysis.
- Pull Strategy: Distributors are responsible for promoting the brand and its products. They receive a certain percentage of sales for this work.
These methods are known to be effective, yet many B2B companies still try to find customers without a clearly defined strategy, resulting in weaker marketing results than they could otherwise achieve. Not to mention wasted time, effort, and money.
Expertise, systematic approaches, and consistency are the keys to regular success.
How to Start with Paid Advertising
Advertising should be placed where there is a connection with the target audience, which closely resembles the ideal customer profile. The more such connections you have, the greater the chance that they will notice you and make purchases from you.
At NAVIAN.studio, the process of launching paid advertising always begins with an audit of every platform where your brand is present, alongside an in-depth analysis of your competitors’ offers. In 90% of cases, after such an audit, we provide recommendations for improving your website and publishing more specific information about your services. Only after making these changes do we proceed with the advertising. Together, we choose the best system to handle each lead obtained, with the goal of closing quality contracts.
Until February 15, 2024, we are adding an additional advertising budget of 2,500 Czech crowns to each PPC advertising order, to be used for testing strategies and acquiring potential leads.
It is important to share your expertise with your target audience, offer useful information, build trust, and increase loyalty to your brand. At the same time, it is equally important to properly segment your target audience and speak their language in your advertising messages, even if the specifics of your business involve technical terminology.
PPC advertising can also be effective. Many users search for product information, compare price offers from different companies, and evaluate the quality of products from competing companies using search engines. They logically favor those who gain more trust or offer the most attractive prices.
The problem with this approach is that it limits you to a target audience that is already looking to make a purchase and solve a problem–probably within a few hours or days. To expand your client portfolio, it’s important to work with clients who are further back in their level of customer awareness. In the B2B market, this is especially true.
Continuously seeking a new audience forces marketers to explore new platforms as well. Ideally, you should segment your audience and select only those segments that most closely match the profile of potential clients. If you send mass emails and push notifications to everyone, you risk damaging your brand’s reputation and burning bridges with potential future clients.
Sales Techniques in B2B
While in B2C, consumers often purchase products without consulting a salesperson, in the world of B2B, most deals are closed through a sales manager. The success of these deals often depends on the manager’s ability to find potential clients and engage them. Let’s look at some techniques commonly used in this sector.
Product or service presentations are usually prepared in advance. However, this approach has its drawbacks, as every customer has different needs that need to be addressed. Even a convincing presentation, poorly tailored to its target, may not have the desired effect.
To make a presentation effective, it’s crucial to identify what interests and concerns the potential customer, and then present the benefits of the product based on that information. Only then can the presentation help establish a connection with the customer and persuade them that the offered product or service will meet their needs.
Here, the manager addresses the specific needs of the customer. Customer-centric selling starts with personal communication in which the manager identifies the customer’s problems/needs, analyzes them, and offers a solution provided by the offered product.
There is no one-size-fits-all script, standard scheme, or universal solution. Each case is unique, and the outcome of the deal largely depends on the manager’s experience, communication skills, and analytical thinking.
Within customer-centric selling, there are techniques such as the SPIN method, conceptual selling, and consultative selling.
In this case, the manager is not directly selling; instead, they demonstrate the company’s position, innovations, successes, qualifications, and the experience of its employees.
Elements of expertise selling include speakers at conferences, webinars, case studies, interesting publications, and scientific research. Information confirming the organization’s expertise can always be found in open sources.
A potential customer who reads articles and participates in webinars will be convinced that the selected company is indeed one of the best players in its industry. This will encourage them to purchase its product.
To succeed in the B2B market, it’s often not enough to rely on just one sales technique. Multiple approaches need to be combined, and it’s beneficial when a manager can utilize several techniques simultaneously and tailor their approach to each customer.
Advantages and Disadvantages of B2B
B2B has its strengths and weaknesses.
Working with a few larger clients can lead to high profits.
The organization's overall results directly depend on the competence and experience of its employees.
Most customers who approach a company already have an interest in collaboration.
Business success is directly proportional to the success of the client's business. Continuous acquisition of new customers is necessary due to the risk of losing existing ones.
Competition in B2B is lower than in B2C.
Gross profit margins may not be very high.
Business opportunities may extend across large territories within a country or even beyond its borders.
Sales Cycle in the B2B Segment
Analysis and Preparation
In this phase, you research the company you want to collaborate with, including their industry, market position, mission, and goals. You determine how best to engage their representatives and what aspects to emphasize. Some managers skip the preparation phase and struggle to capture the potential client’s interest during the first meeting.
This can be through cold calls or meetings at industry events. The main task of the manager is to engage the chosen company’s representatives and motivate them for further communication.
In this phase, the manager engages with the company’s representatives to determine who makes the key decisions in the company and the criteria they use. During negotiations, the manager highlights aspects that should interest the potential customer, such as competitive pricing, a wide range of products, and quick order processing.
You present the product with a focus on meeting the company’s needs. When describing your offer, the manager emphasizes the benefits that the company will gain if they enter into a contract. Presentations can be conducted either over the phone or in person.
This is one of the most challenging steps in B2B sales. Company representatives may not always express their doubts openly, making it difficult for the manager to identify them. To persuade the potential customer, successful contract examples, achievements, and reviews from other companies are often used.
Negotiation and Agreement
At this stage, negotiations for closing the deal involve sales leadership or company management. Mutually beneficial adjustments, pricing agreements, and terms of cooperation are added to the contract.
Contract Closure and Fulfillment of Obligations
Contracts for the delivery of goods or services are signed. The client, as stipulated in the contract, pays a deposit, and the supplier begins fulfilling their obligations.
Requirements for B2B Managers
Mistakes in B2B trading can be financially and technologically costly. Managers must have a perfect understanding of the product to avoid both types of errors. Their responsibility is not only to convey all relevant information professionally but also to understand the product and the client’s requirements in order to provide an exciting idea of the offer and its value.
Over time, you will primarily work with “warm contacts” of established customers with whom you or your managers have built stable relationships. It’s worth noting that these relationships can also be informal.
Some general tips to consider:
- Don’t try to manipulate emotions: A customer who knows exactly what they want will not work long with someone trying to obscure reality.
- Stay in touch: If a customer likes your services, they will recommend you to others.
- Understand customer needs: Regularly learn from customers how they are doing in their industry, what challenges they face, and what would help improve efficiency. Share common interests and work on synergy.
- Remind them of your presence, but don’t be annoying. Sales should be supported by the customer’s actual needs. Don’t offer everything “blindly,” but communicate and suggest solutions to specific problems.
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