Marketing. When we talk about marketing, we usually specify whether it’s business to consumer (B2C) or business to business (B2B). The tactics and way we approach a marketing strategy hinge on this distinction.
Are your customers people or businesses?
It’s a trick question. Your customers are always people, even if they’re buying something for a business – and that’s where a lot of us get lost in the B2B world. We get caught up on that second ‘B.’ Here’s the reality: B2B marketing is still marketing to a person.
When we forget there’s an actual, regular person making purchasing decisions for every company, it has a detrimental effect on how we sell. That’s why it’s absolutely vital to approach marketing your B2B ecommerce business with the right mindset.
B2B Decisions Are Made by People
At the end of the day and no matter what you sell, your target customer is a person. That means even B2B companies can learn a lot about what their customers like, dislike, need, etc. based on B2C literature.
Business2Community analyzed the 2017 B2B Buyer’s Survey Report and came away with these three points:
- To get a foot in the door, you need an intimate understanding of buyers, their industries, and their needs.
- B2B buyers overwhelmingly look to content for help in making a buying decision.
- Audiences expect an omnichannel, integrated content experience.
If those sound familiar, you’ve probably read a piece or two on B2C marketing. That’s why sound B2B eCommerce marketing starts at the beginning – by meeting the needs and expectations of the people behind the businesses.
And what do people want? Let’s take a look at what convinces potential customers to buy from your ecommerce website.
Segmentation and Personalization
Whether you’re marketing to businesses or individuals, segmentation and personalization are big ticket items. Individual customers and groups of your customers have preferences and concerns that are unique to them. We know that lofty, generic ecommerce targeting simply doesn’t work. Customers want to see that you understand them, their industries, their needs.
That’s what makes segmentation key.
Separating customers into multiple groups with common characteristics means you can more effectively target and market to each segment. You can speak directly to each customer, in their language, and meet them where they are. Tailor your website, your offers, even your prices to each individual segment, and your marketing will become more effective overnight.
Clean Design and Mobile Optimization
No one loves an ugly website. Whether it’s overcrowded, confusing, slow, or just downright unprofessional, a crappy website costs you customers – no matter who those customers are. When leads can’t find the information they’re looking for, you lose business. When your website is frustrating to navigate on mobile, you lose business.
Every ecommerce website needs clean, professional-looking design, clear and concise copy, effortless navigation, and a mobile-friendly theme. In B2B ecommerce, buyers spend more time researching and looking for specific information about your business and product. That makes good design an even bigger deal.
In any ecommerce business, social proof is one of your most valuable resources. Put simply, we trust the opinions of friends, family, and colleagues way more than we trust businesses. Reviews, testimonials, competitor comparisons, case studies… all of this content is more effective at converting leads than any sales copy you could ever find.
When DiscoverOrg studied B2B buyers, they listed social proof like reviews and testimonials as the top content they want to see on a vendor’s website. In the same way that product reviews establish trust in the B2C world, testimonials and case studies help build credibility around both your business and products.
Quick and Effective Customer Service
This is a big one. In fact, 22% of companies surveyed by Econsultancy and Adobe said the opportunity they’re most excited about in 2018 is customer experience – it was the number one answer.
Despite the shift to ecommerce, most B2B transactions still involve some form of two-way communication between the customer and either sales or support. Customers need support and guidance throughout the sales cycle, and they expect it to be quick and effortless. Invesp noted that 83% of shoppers online need support, and 71% expect to get help in less than 5 minutes.
That’s why B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses alike are investing in faster, more seamless online support options, like live chat.
Repeat: B2B Decisions Are Made by People
It’s easy to get caught up in the idea of selling to another business. But at the end of the day, B2B buyers have all the same concerns and preferences as any other ecommerce customer.
Personalization, social proof, effortless design, top-notch customer support… these are things B2B and B2C customers alike demand. Your B2B ecommerce site needs to hit all of them out of the park if you’re going to effectively sell to B2B buyers in 2018.
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