A long-assumed-to-be-true theory of B2B marketing is that B2B buyers are a completely different animal than B2C buyers. B2B marketing involves a long buying cycle, usually with multiple decision makers and influencers involved, and is based primarily on rationality, industry knowledge and experience, and intellect, leaving the "emotional" buying solely in the realm of the B2C marketers.
While many of these assumptions are true, it's a critical mistake to assume that B2B buyers don't make decisions based on emotion. There are lots of emotions involved, including the desire to impress their superiors with their excellent decisions, the desire to impress their coworkers with their success, and the desire to be effective and valuable in their position with the company.
So, what does it take to connect with the B2B buyer, given the emotional factors involved above and beyond the extended buying cycles, multiple decision makers, and intellectual aspects of B2B buying?
Focus on Cross-Channel Validation of Your Messages
A B2B buyer's extended purchase cycle means more research. Lots more research. The research also crosses multiple channels, and when you're speaking to the emotional aspect of buying, that means delivering your value propositions across all those channels, so that the additional research done by the buyer confirms your messages.
For example, if they learned about your brand via a Google search, you'll want to place messages that confirm their initial findings elsewhere in their research -- including social media, dynamic advertising, and blog posts targeted to additional searches they're likely to conduct. When they look for "the differences in cloud based ERP software versus on premises" or "the benefits of using extra large widgets in manufacturing" you want to make sure your content ranks up there.
When business buyers find confirmation of your messages across all the channels they use for research (videos, blogs, whitepapers, comparison charts, infographics, etc.), this sparks an emotional reaction -- they have found validation.
Address All of the Decision Makers
Engaging buyers across channels isn't enough. You have to deliver content relevant for different researchers. For example, if a business is looking for ERP software or extra large widgets, there will likely be more than one person doing research. Make sure you have content that speaks directly to their technical personnel, their managers, executives, and any production workers that might be involved in the research or decision making. The information a technical person looks for is sometimes radically different than what a supervisor or CEO is seeking.
Speak to How Your Products & Services Impact Different Aspects of Running a Business
Above all, the emotions of the decision will come down to how well your products help them run their business. Instead of merely listing your product's features, you must help them visualize how it will make things better. How will it improve their operations? How will it help them help their customers? How will it increase their revenue?
All these emotional connections require the right data. Only with the right data can you determine what channels your B2B buyers use to research, which decision makers are in on the research, and what problems they're trying to solve with your (or a competitor's) products.
ReachForce helps marketers increase revenue contribution by solving some of their toughest data management problems. We understand the challenges of results-driven marketers and provide solutions to make initiatives like marketing automation, personalization and predictive marketing better. Whether you have an acute pain to solve today or prefer to grow your capabilities over time, ReachForce can unify, clean and enrich prospect and customer lifecycle data in your business, and do it at your own pace.