B2B Marketing Strategy: 10 Goals that Belong in Every Plan
The most important step in developing a business-to-business marketing strategy is the first one: Setting your goals.
Why are you investing in marketing? What do you want that investment to achieve for your business?
For B2B marketers, the answer to these questions can be surprisingly straightforward.
In fact, in my experience as a B2B marketing consultant, there are 10 critical goals that apply to almost every B2B marketing strategy, whether you’re selling manufactured products, professional services, or commodities.
Here are the 10 goals that belong in a smart B2B marketing strategy and why they matter:
- Differentiate your firm from competitors. In every industry, many companies sell similar products or services. Why is your business different? Why should customers choose you? Stake out a clear position in the marketplace that differentiates your company from others.
- Tell a compelling story. Marketing is how you tell the story of your business to your prospects. Create a compelling narrative that convinces prospects of your ability to serve their needs and reflects the quality of your people, products, and services.
- Prepare the sales team to sell. Marketing plays a major role in facilitating the sales process. Equip your sales team with effective tools to demonstrate your products and services and engage in a meaningful sales dialogue with a prospect.
- Generate leads. Every business wants new business.Use marketing to deliver relevant messages to your best prospects with a great offer that makes them say, “Tell me more.”
- Nurture leads. Selling business products and services often involves a lengthy sales cycle. Marketing can help you stay visible with prospects as they consider the purchase decision. Send ongoing communication – especially solution-oriented content – to demonstrate your understanding of prospects’ needs, your capabilities, and your interest in their business.
- Increase customer retention. Smart B2B marketers build deep, lasting relationships with customers and focus heavily on bringing value to the customer relationship. Your marketing strategy should detail how you will support customer relationship management and constantly remind customers of their value to you.
- Cross-sell and up-sell. What else can you sell to people who buy from you? Your marketing strategy should include offers, tactics, or promotions to increase order size, frequency, and sales of related products and services.
- Raise awareness. Your company needs to be visible wherever your customers and prospects turn for solutions to their business challenges. Develop a plan of integrated marketing tactics to increase your awareness in such places as trade shows, conferences, publications, the web, and social media.
- Capitalize on your customer data. You have a big advantage over your competitors: You know what your customers buy. Use this data to tailor marketing messages to customers’ needs and use insights from the data to identify and target similar prospects.
- Test something new. A static marketing plan – same targets, same channels, same tactics, year after year – is unlikely to deliver a different outcome. Test new channels and approaches to see if you can produce better results.
Why Goal-Setting is So Important to Smart Marketing
As the great Yogi Berra once observed, “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” Setting clear goals for marketing will help you focus your efforts, use your marketing investment more efficiently, and make the most of your marketing opportunities. That’s the first step of a smart marketing strategy.