Creating a B2B marketing strategy

Many B2B businesses struggle when creating a marketing strategy - even the successful ones. If you have ever asked a head of marketing or a busy owner manager how the marketing is going, they may recite the famous words of John Wanamaker -“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half.” However, with the tools and level of tracking available today (especially for digital channels), it’s possible to create a measurable marketing strategy to deliver on your wider business objectives.

Creating a B2B marketing strategy

We know that we cannot control and observe everything, but we also know that a well thought out strategy can serve as a great roadmap to get your business from A-B. So what exactly is a strategy? Your marketing strategy outlines the principles in how your marketing team should make decisions and allocate resources in order to accomplish key objectives and KPIs. Creating a marketing strategy that aligns with your business goals doesn’t need to be difficult. There are several steps that should be considered in order to create a successful b2b marketing strategy:

We know that we cannot control and observe everything, but we also know that a well thought out strategy can serve as a great roadmap to get your business from A-B”

Factor One - Speak to your sales team and discover the work that the company is trying to win.

Before you even spend £1 of your advertising budgets, you need to make sure you understand exactly what your company is trying to achieve. What is the big goal? For example, are you trying to increase the sales of a particular product by a certain amount annually? What type of work is the most profitable for the company? Where is the demand currently? Is there seasonality? Speak to your managing directors and other decision makers, but also remember that your sales team will often be the biggest goldmine of information - they’re the ones actually speaking to customers day in and day out. 

Factor Two - Develop clear objectives that align with overall business goals. 

After speaking to your sales team or line managers and finding out all the information available to you regarding business goals, use this information to set clear objectives. These objectives lay out exactly what your marketing strategy should be designed to achieve, so you can plan effectively instead of just making random decisions. Without clear goals, you can’t develop an effective strategy. For example, if you have identified that your business wants to increase the sales of a particular product (or hit a sales target this year), set this as an objective. You can then build a strategy, or speak to a B2B marketing agency who can start to piece together a strategy to help you reach those specific objectives.

Factor Three - Clearly define your audience and different buyer groups. 

Take some time when planning your strategy in order to better understand your target audience. You need to understand who they are in order to most effectively market to them. Where does your audience spend their time? What are the pain points that your product or service eases? 

Use your knowledge of who they are and what they need to create audience personas to detail each type of customer and their specific needs. These personas should be highly detailed to allow you to really speak to your customer in a language they will understand. For example, How old is this customer? What do they do for a living? Where do they live? What are they driven by? What services are they looking for? Where do they spend their time online?

Factor Four - Strategically select your marketing channels and develop a suitable message for each persona. 

The message that successfully grabs the attention of persona 1 won’t be anywhere near as interesting to persona 2. You need to develop marketing messages for each persona and then use the correct channels to distribute this message. For example, if persona 1 spends their time online on Facebook, then use Facebook ads. Persona 2 might be a person who uses LinkedIn a lot, so develop content for LinkedIn to reach those people. Use the right marketing channels and suitable messaging to reach the right people. After all, there’s no point spending time crafting tweets that address the pain points of persona 2 if persona 2 doesn’t use Twitter very often. If you need help in selecting the correct channels to use, get in touch with us today. As a creative marketing agency in Kent, we can walk you through the B2B strategy process. 

Factor 5 - Define KPIs 

KPI stands for key performance indicator. According to Hubspot, "A KPI is a key performance indicator that measures how your company is performing at achieving a certain goal or objective." When creating a strategy, you need measurable targets so you know whether or not your strategy has been successful. For example, KPIs could be a yearly sales target, a % increase in sales in a particular region, customer acquisition increase over the next 12 months, a % reduction in customer churn rate, or a lower cost of customer acquisition cost. Define what is important to achieve (based on your objectives), and use these KPIs to track how your marketing strategy is performing. 

A good KPI is well-defined and quantifiable but also has a clearly defined deadline. It should be communicated throughout both your department and the wider organisation. KPIs will act as a compass for your plans, helping you and your team to better understand the end goal. 

Factor 6 - Test and refine

When you have your strategy in place, take the time to measure and test it using basic data analysis. You could trial different kinds of content, or the same content with different headlines, to see which messages or platforms are performing well.  When you’ve run some tests, use the results to refine your strategy. What worked and what didn’t? The work of refining a B2B marketing strategy should be ongoing, as you learn more and changes happen in your industry. If your KPIs start to show a drop in results, test again and refine what you’re doing to make sure you continue to market in a way that is effective and useful. 

Bonus Factor - Make smart use of CRM and Marketing Automation.

Thanks to developments in automation, a lot of the heavy lifting for lead capture can now be done through marketing automation software. Marketing automation software can help to simplify tasks that were previously time-consuming and repetitive (i.e. administration tasks or data capture). This saves valuable time for your marketing team, allowing them to focus on the strategic and creative thinking needed for a successful campaign. 

Hubspot suggests companies that use CRM software reached 65% of their sales quotas compared to 22% at companies that dont use marketing automation software.

This post was written by:

Stuart Coe

Stuart is the Managing Director of Tiga Creative Marketing. He founded the agency over 30 years ago.
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