B2C marketing, which we’re all familiar with, is pretty straightforward:
A company has a product or service that it gets in front of the intended audience.
At least that’s how most marketers plan and execute their strategies.
We’ve all seen how they do it. But what most of us have limited experience with is buying as a business, not an individual. That’s why business owners often make a mistake by relying too much on B2C sales approaches.
Selling to other businesses, especially small ones, is not nearly as simple as B2C marketing. For one, the sales cycle is much longer and more complicated, so winning over the trust of business owners is quite a challenge. On top of that, business owners want cheaper and quick solutions that generate good results right away.
If you’d like to know what it takes to sell to small businesses and be successful, then read on.
By the time you’re done reading this article, you’ll know how to present your products and solutions in a way that strikes the chord with business owners and makes them want to reach out to you.
1. Understand the needs of business owners
There are lots of different businesses out there. Some of them sell more than others. Each has a unique marketing strategy and target audience. But there’s one important thing they have in common:
They want to increase profits and grow.
You need to show them that you know how to make that happen because you understand the challenges they face.
To develop that understanding, you need to research your customers’ needs. And then research them again. Then refine them and do some research.
Here’s what to research, divided by the level to sell on.
- Strategic goals
- Revenues for the past few years
- Marketing and branding campaigns
- Main competitors
- Product launches.
- Department goals and KPIs
- Typical challenges
- Company politics
Individual Employee Level
- Personal career goals
- Achievements that the person wants to get credit for
- Opportunities for professional advancement
- Opportunities for improving work-life balance.
Remember: if your marketing is not relevant and personalized for the industry, business, or decision-maker, no one is going to want to read it.
Eric Spett, the CEO of Terminus, had this to share about the importance of being relevant and personalized when selling to businesses:
“For anything coming from someone I don’t know, anything that is hyper-personalized will get flagged and read, but outside of that, I never see it.”
Pro Tip: Affordability is an important consideration for small businesses, so make it clear in your marketing campaigns that your solution is cost-effective.
Many businesses tailor their subscription plans for small businesses this way.
For example, AT&T is now offering a free trial for their Call Forwarding feature and other communication solutions for businesses. It allows employees to work remotely and take care of clients even during the quarantine measures.
2. Clear marketing messaging
Business owners don’t like to waste their time.
They’re busy individuals, so every minute counts for them. Even when they see something their business could potentially benefit from, they would be reluctant to try it. The answer is simple: they simply don’t have the money to try it all.
That’s why your marketing should be as clear and concise as possible. Here’s the checklist to go through to make it easier for business owners to get your message:
- Stay away from buzzwords. They’re pointless, meaningless, and make you sound like a salesperson
- If you want to impress your audience, better learn their problems and terminology they use every day and mention it where relevant
- Be as concise as possible. If you’re composing a text for a marketing message, write it down, then go back to it the next day and take one-third of the words out.
Here are a couple of examples of marketing copy that meets these requirements.
This one uses a couple of sentences to explain how the customer’s business can benefit from using the automation tool.
So the bottom line here is to be as clear as possible, as customer-centered as possible. Advise your copywriters to use writing and proofreading tools like GrabMyEssay.
3. Personalize marketing content
Personalization is no longer optional in marketing. It’s a must.
Tailoring marketing for specific industries, businesses, and customers has a lot of benefits for B2B businesses. For example, the 2019 Trends in Personalization report surveyed B2B marketers who highlighted benefits like increased conversion rates and less churn.
Here’s the full list.
Sounds like your business could benefit from a couple of those, right?
Let’s see how to personalize your marketing.
- Personalize landing pages with copy and call to actions that consider the needs of specific businesses/business challenges. Web design packages for small businesses are often optimized to focus on personalization
- Create videos for the blog where you talk about case studies and share tips for businesses.
Social media content
- Conduct social media campaigns to target users in specific locations
- Use LinkedIn to connect with business leaders with personalized offers.
- Make sure that your ad design stays consistent across social media channels and web (for example, you can easily resize designs of ads in PosterMyWall editor to make them suitable for different channels)
- Be brief. Focus on the benefits of your solution to business owners (see example below).
To make your emails as personalized as possible, you need to research your target customers by using a buyer persona (this is a representation of an ideal customer containing their business needs, goals, and challenges).
Knowing them makes you understand how to talk with them in “their language” and create personalized offers.
Take this email from HubSpot as an example.
Hubspot has a good understanding of the goals of their target consumers – digital marketers – so their email is highly targeted and relevant.
The email is personalized, has statistics, and clearly describes the benefit for the customer. Besides, it’s sent by a real person who deals with this business every day, which also increases trustworthiness and improves the credibility of the offer.
4. Don’t sell, provide solutions
Business leaders aren’t looking for products, they’re looking for solutions.
To be able to sell to small businesses, you must know how to present your product/service in a way that will make them interested.
A survey of B2B marketers revealed that 88 percent of the most successful ones either always or often prioritize the information needs of their customers over the company’s sales messages.
Here’s how successful B2B selling is like:
- Know your customer’s company well to be able to address their unique needs and expectations when communicating
- Research their performance, main challenges, and strategies they apply to achieve their goals. For example, if you sell a recruitment tool, you might find out that academic writing sites are constantly searching for remote employees, so you can mention remote work features in your product
- Collaborate with leads during the buying process. Regardless of the complexity of the problem that your solution is designed for, be sure to communicate with customers and listen to their needs
Free online consultations and product demos is one of the best B2B sales strategies.
Small business owners want to make decisions that are as risk-free as possible. This applies to buying products and services. By offering a free consultation or demo, you’re helping them to understand that buying is the right decision for their company.
Besides, you’re also demonstrating your expertise and knowledge of the client’s business and industry. If they’re impressed, they’ll be more willing to do business with you.
5. Live events
Have you tried using live events such as webinars and conferences to create interest around your company and establish connections with leads?
According to Content Marketing Institute, 57 percent of B2B marketers have used them in the last 12 months to generate and convert leads.
What are the benefits of webinars that make them so popular?
- Build trust and authority. If done well, a webinar has a lot of value for the audience, so as a host, you’re also demonstrating your deep expertise in a business topic. This also contributes to building your brand as a trustworthy and credible partner
- Quality lead generation. Webinars are interactive, so the viewers can connect with the presenters either via chat or video. If the presenter answers the question well and offers valuable information, the lead will be more likely to consider them for their project
- Opportunities to engage more leads with email marketing. Often, businesses require emails to register for the webinar, so there’s an opportunity to build an email base for lead nurturing with emails.
As the screenshot above shows, sharing the news about the upcoming webinar on social media is important. So, to maximize the attendance, feel free to share such news via ads and various social media websites. Check out our customizable post design templates for webinars to see how others promote their events.
Time to let others know you’re open for business
Selling to other businesses, especially small ones, is hard. To get more deals, you need to be as customer-oriented as possible and do your homework to research the needs of your audience.
Consider these options and build your marketing and lead generation plans using these tips. Hopefully, they’ll help to understand how to sell to small businesses in a way that gets you more deals.