There are a load of businesses and people out there still grappling with terms like “social media marketing”. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The truth is that there are a lot of organisations out there that still don’t know how how to sell themselves to other businesses.
In my mind there is a drastic shift that is needed. And the social media revolution (yes, I said revolution) has spurred on this need for evolution in business to business (B2B) thinkers.
The major problem is highlighted in the term “B2B” itself. There should be no such term in anyone’s lexicon. And there are a number of reasons why this is true:
1. Businesses don’t make purchase decisions, people make purchase decisions
At the end of the day every single piece of marketing collateral is going to be seen by a real life human being. They may be employed by a business and are therefore instructed to conduct certain due diligence in their purchases; but that does not change the fact there is certainly going to be some emotional connection and response in their decision making.
This is critical for anyone to understand because that emotion ultimately will have a lot to say in how well or poorly your marketing message is received.
2. Marketing needs to live inside the business
Please note that I didn’t say that marketing needs to live within the sales department. It needs to live within the business! Living within sales is one thing — but if you are truly trying to understand what your targets are trying to achieve, then marketing needs to have a daily exposure to the needs and frustrations of those people. Living within the sales department means that marketing will always be thinking like a sales person (with respect) and trying to close the deal — where in today’s environment it is about where can marketing add value to the business and ensure that their targets are always thinking of their name first.
3. Change your selling mentality
Probably the most important shift that needs to happen in business marketing is a move away from B2B thinking; and a move towards B4B thinking! Become the business that other businesses cannot do without. Become a business for business marketer and position yourself as the product or solution that your targets cannot afford to ignore. Show your targets that you are there to make their lives easier and that your organisation is the thought leader in the industry by sharing what you know with them freely.
Using this approach will ensure that you understand not only the target business’s needs, but also the needs of the individuals living within that business -– and that is a differentiator that will not easily be taken away by your competitors who are still trying very hard to understand how they can push their products and services in to the path of their business targets.