4 Ways Small B2B Businesses Can Nab More Sales

Small B2B businesses face complex problems in today’s marketplace. You’re dealing with stiff competition from global importers who drive down prices and, at the same time, trying to get a foothold in an industry full of well-established and anchored domestic competitors. If you can’t offer the lowest prices or the lightning-fast service of big, high-volume operations, how will you compete?

Every B2B small business can carve out a niche, even in tough industries. It’s just a matter of finding what resonates with your customers—then making that bit of gold work for you—so you can nab more sales and grow your B2B business.

#1. Find Your Shine—and Share It
Consider what you have to offer and define what makes you stand out. When you know your strengths and weaknesses, you can craft your corporate image, branding and marketing in an honest and unique way your customers will love.

Remember that old Avis campaign? “We’re number two, so we try harder.” It worked because of its fresh and honest approach, not to mention its hardworking appeal to the average American—their customers could relate, and gaining that ground was worth millions.

If you’re an SMB, you may never be #1, but you are most certainly unique. You’re not trapped in layers of corporate hierarchy, so find your angle and own it. Show your customers what you’re passionate about. Be fresh. Be honest. Drive your point home.

4 Ways Small B2B Businesses Can Nab More Sales: Advertising Greatness: Avis Car Rental, Circa 1962

Maybe you can’t deliver tomorrow, and maybe you can’t offer the lowest prices on the market. Those are powerful incentives…but not necessarily as compelling as other things you can offer that giant “faceless” companies simply can’t match.

Here are a few areas where smaller B2B companies can deliver more—and shine:

  • Share your expertise. Make knowledge your top selling point by hiring and training well-qualified employees and giving them enough autonomy to address each customer’s problem on a personal level. Your people should be able to listen and respond with real solutions, not canned responses.
  • Focus on quality. Your customers want to feel valued. Stress the importance of custom solutions built from the ground up. Build your reputation on precision and quality construction and/or service. Small businesses have a reputation for caring more about their customers. Capitalize on that feel-good feature.
  • Cut out the middleman. If you can cut costs by, for example, shipping directly to your customers, consider doing it. If you can offer your B2B services without relying on a third party, consider going for it. Distribution channels add costs you may be able to eliminate…thus lowering costs without lowering quality.

#2. Bring Your Team Together—and Collaborate
After you’ve defined your best selling points, you need an actionable plan to build your brand story and establish your corporate culture. It must be a top-to-bottom marketing solution with every member of your team on board. Management, marketing, sales, product experts, and customer service reps should all be in the know and ready to go.

To put your vision to work, sales and marketing need to coordinate and collaborate. Marketing needs to know how to identify hot leads and sales needs to follow up every step of the way. Treat your existing customers like the old friends they are and offer support and information no matter where they are in the buying cycle. Give your team the tools and information they need to succeed.

harnessed pop culture while addressing a common IT concern: it 4 Ways Small B2B Businesses Can Nab More Sales *Great example: This company compared “moving to the cloud” to surviving a zombie apocalypse.

#3. Keep the Content Flowing—and Connect
Fresh, informational website content will help keep your existing customers engaged while helping you sell to new customers. Tailor all your content marketing efforts to address specific needs within your customer’s industry. What are your top 10 customer FAQs? Be sure your website content points your customers straight to helpful, informative answers.

Visual presentations, recent testimonials, detailed case studies and industry-specific product and services comparisons can help you communicate your value to potential B2B customers. Appealing content includes slideshows, photos, and even video—not just endless streams of text. Your customers deserve better. If your customers need technical specs, present them in a fact sheet with easy-to-scan bullet points, instead of a headache-inducing jungle of words.

#4. Get Clever—and WIN
Sungard AS won big a couple years back with a clever marketing ploy. They did something pretty unusual in B2B…created an infographic that harnessed pop culture while addressing a common IT concern: it compared “moving to the cloud” to surviving a zombie apocalypse. Yes, you read that right. The infographic went viral, and Sungard ran with the concept, building out more zombie-themed informational content. And guess what? Yep, their target market LOVED it.

You’ll close more deals if you work to understand both why your business is unique and how you can best meet and exceed your customers’ needs. Pinpoint your customers’ pain points and create targeted content to draw in new customers and keep your existing customers happy. Answering your customers’ and prospects’ questions and concerns while educating them about your small B2B venture—now that’s always win-win. Tie it all together, collaborate and get creative and you’ll nab more sales than ever.

divider

Additional Resources

Manufacturer’s Guide to Attracting More Customers: How Top Manufacturers Are Driving New Revenue By Attracting More CustomersCheck out these five case studies to learn replicable marketing strategies from leading B2B manufacturers. No matter what industry you’re in, the competition is heating up. Traditional marketing methods simply aren’t enough anymore.

free-download

Get this step-by-step guide for creating a workable content and social marketing strategy for your B2B enterprise — Get ahead of the curve.

The Final Online Frontier: Content Marketing & Automated Lead Generation

The internet is a continuously evolving, independent marketplace. This seems to overwhelm most small- to medium-sized companies who wish to leverage digital tools to increase their bottom line.

What is a business to do with continuously decreasing profit margins cutting into their shoestring marketing budgets?

The prices of traditional mass marketing avenues — such as display advertising, cost per action (CPA) marketing, behavioral targeting, search engine optimization (SEO), and even online pay per click (PPC) marketing — are increasing, with limited resources available to track the effectiveness of such campaigns.

So how can you continue to blindly devote your hard-earned dollars toward these approaches?

Do you even know if the marketing dollars you spent funneled back to you to contribute to your bottom line? Or did they merely evaporate into the marketing abyss of Unknown Results?

The problem that many small and midsize businesses are facing is the inability (or I should say “lack of resources”) to manage all of the new, fragmented online marketing avenues that historically bring in limited target data — or no data at all, other than mere “exposure.” Businesses need more data to competitively leverage their product or service in today’s online marketplace.

With rising costs and limited resources to “experiment” with new online marketing channels individually, how does a small to medium-sized business even think about competing online today?

Many C-level business owners are hanging their heads low and sweeping their internet marketing pipe dreams under the rug, feeling unable to successfully coordinate their fragmented online marketing efforts, to return results, and to follow up with potential leads.

Chin up, buttercup — there’s HOPE!

Savvy C-level business owners have a plan to get their organizations in line and ready for this new frontier of online content marketing: They are using their own online real estate to do the work for them, and they’re using the most relevant marketing automation tools available to facilitate the development and definition of buyer personas; to develop educational industry-related content; and to strategically map trackable pathways through their site, so they can organize their leads by name and level of potential value.

So now that you have an idea of what the smart business owners are up to… as the resident marketing genius in your organization, you should re-evaluate your traditional marketing efforts and strategize the new directions you can take with today’s online marketing automation tools.

{Monthly GROW eNewsletter} Subscribe today!This means you’ll need to create:

  • Buyer personas (the internal processes necessary for self-promotion)
  • Industry-relevant, educational content that your audience craves
  • A content map for your online real estate, so you can ultimately guide the right personas into quantifiable leads for your organization

That may sound like a simple 1-2-3 approach, but I can assure you, it takes a team to make this happen, and it’s probably going to be a rough road.

I applaud your moxie in deciding to embrace this entirely new frontier of content marketing. But you’re gonna need patience in your new journey. The level of creativity you will exhume, the education you will receive along the way, and the fulfillment you and your team will feel will be well worth the investment of time, energy, and (most importantly) financial resources you put forth — both qualitatively and quantitatively.

Connect with me on LinkedIn and lets’ talk about where your business stands, what kind of strategies you can develop for moving forward, and the online tools that you can use to make your content marketing plan a success.
nick75

See all articles by Nicholas Putz
Connect with Nicholas online: LinkedIn