Landing large contracts in B2B can be challenging. Closing a sale sometimes requires a year-long commitment to building a relationship, negotiating terms and finalising details. However, these clients come to find a business often using many of the same channels customers in B2C would. Digital marketing strategy is not just for attracting customers in B2C, it is an important part of B2B development as well. And the foundation stone of digital marketing is content. Studies reveal that this is no different for B2B marketing.
A marketing report conducted in 2020 found that 84% of buyers surveyed agreed that a winning vendor’s content had a significant impact on their buying decision. These same survey respondents said that among the top 5 reasons the winning vendor was selected was because of a demonstrated knowledge of the buyer’s company and its needs (68%). Customers clearly want a display of your knowledge, and content allows you to show that knowledge.
Vendors who can show they have a deep knowledge of their industry and how to provide the solutions their customers need are clearly the best choice for a contract award. And those B2Bs that could demonstrate their expertise through content secured the deal in 62% of cases.
Other top reasons for the selection of a vendor include:
- Stronger knowledge of the solution area and business landscape than competitors (59%)
- The vendor provides a range of high-quality content subject areas to help the buyer through each stage of their research and decision-making process (59%).
The Right Content
Creating content for your website is relatively simple. Creating the high-quality, researched and relevant content that your site needs are more difficult. Your blogs should be informative, your white papers should be revealing, and your site text should be clear.
Just like all customers, B2B clients tend to start their research with a search engine, proving that SEO is just as important in B2B as it is for B2C. When your site is presented in the results, a person researching a solution then tends to examine three key criteria:
- Easy access to content that speaks directly to their concerns;
- Easy access to pricing and competitive information; and
- Content that speaks directly to and demonstrates expertise around the needs of the industry.
People looking for a solution will invariably check the pricing first to help establish their parameters. For many businesses, a price that is too low is an indication that your products lack quality. For others, a price that is too high suggests that you are not aware of the needs of the industry you are serving. Providing transparent pricing for your services and helping customers understand your price points in relation to your competitors gives your business an advantage and moves customers further down the sales funnel.
Next, prospects read reviews. They want to understand the features/functionality, your demonstratable experience with/knowledge of the industry, and deployment time/ease of use. While the importance of these factors varies according to industry, they are all part of the decision-making process. Ease of use has been found to be a crucial element for IT solutions, while deployment time is more important when securing a logistics contract. These are the exact types of issues that customers will write about in reviews or discuss with their peers. In B2B negotiations, your reputation and network are invaluable.
So even if people have a reason to give your business a poor review, you need to take the time to acknowledge the discontent, address the issue and provide a response that includes a solution. This then proves to your prospect that you take your customers seriously and that you always aim to improve by answering the concerns of your clients with solutions.
Creating a B2B blog that you publish on a regular basis can transform your business from a small operation to a trusted industry giant. By sharing your knowledge, communicating the facts of your business and connecting with your peers, you expand your network. B2B operations rely on networking. You can become the nexus of your industry by being the most knowledgeable and trusted commentator in your field.
Well-researched, informed, and even entertaining pieces trend well with decision-makers. If your monthly blog becomes regular reading for other people in or related to your industry, it also follows that your customer base will follow. So how do you elevate your blog to the level of required monthly reading?
- Fact check
- Consider layout
- Use backlinks
- Promote on social media, such as LinkedIn
- Be the industry authority
- Respond to reader comments and be accountable for errors or mistakes
The current environment has made buyers almost twice as likely to escalate some purchases due to changing business needs (38% share) as to delay potential purchases due to budget freezes (20% share). Because of ongoing supply and logistics issues, many businesses are changing the way they approach their core operations, particularly online. ECommerce businesses have seen the importance of security, compliance and customer engagement. This means that more businesses providing B2B services online have found a need to produce high-quality content that attracts customers, answers questions and engages audiences.