I practically still had my graduating cap and gown on, when I joined Exo B2B as an Analyst. Having spent hundreds of hours in school and having had student jobs in sales to improve my knowledge in marketing, I was very surprised to see that many B2B marketing concepts are simply not (or almost not), taught in schools. Here then is a list of the 4 B2B marketing notions you need to know about for your job search.
What would have been good to know …
1. Content is King
Content creation is a constantly discussed subject in marketing; most marketers are, I hope, aware that “inbound” marketing is being given greater and greater priority than traditional or “outbound” marketing. The goal is simple: to attract potential customers to our products and services with content that is interesting and useful to them.
However, what surprised me is the manner used to reach consumers. Usually, marketing uses relatively short general statements with precise and incisive words, invoking strong emotions. In B2B however, what works best is carefully phrased industry jargon, demonstrating expertise and enabling learning. So don’t be surprised to hear about laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy or multi-service transmission solutions for network migration..!
2. Generating sales
It’s clear that content marketing helps attract potential customers to our company. However, to generate sales in B2B marketing, you have to have “qualified sales leads” or, “qualified sales prospects”.
In my mind, this word is a term used for young elite hockey players! I soon learned that these “prospects” were actually potential active customers, carefully monitored through a company’s CRM (A term you must absolutely be familiar with, if you are hoping to be interviewed in the near future!)
3. Better late than never
I quickly learned that a company’s B2B sales cycle is much longer than it’s B2C sales cycle because of the number of stakeholders in the decision making process as well as the long-term reasons for the purchase. Buying a meal is usually faster than buying an air compressor system for an entire hospital. Let’s use buying a poutine as an example: In B2C: you’re hungry so you decide to buy what you think will be the best tasting poutine. In B2B, you’ll look for a specific poutine that can offer you more cheese per square cm in the Ahuntsic area, every Friday through to the year 2017. Furthermore, your girlfriend and your mother must also agree on your choice. Not easy.
So, this is why it’s important to plan conversion programs for potential customers who are not yet ready to take action at a certain time. Hence the importance of a well-established CRM system, in order to track the potential prospect throughout their buying cycle.
4. Generation gap
The first mistake a client makes sounds like this: “For years, my sales have been doing great and I’ve always made decisions using my gut feeling. I don’t need help with my marketing; my marketing is fine. ”
Of course, in B2B marketing, we are very often working with traditional industries. Sometimes, there are no “marketing plans” and our profession is often completely confused with the “sales” function of the company. Don’t you think that a long term marketing plan, based on a strategy focusing on the company’s strengths, would make it possible to increase sales in a meaningful way?
If your answer is no, I hope your gut feeling proves to be reliable for a long time. Knock on wood, as they say. In short, this means that it’s necessary to develop a “salesy” aspect to our personality to be able to educate, persuade and finally, sell marketing services to a customer (hence the importance of mastering the famous sales “pitches”).
Finally, I hope this blog will have had some positive effect on our varied readers. For students / graduates, these concepts could help you create a competitive advantage during future interviews. For others, I hope this has helped open your eyes to the importance of prioritizing B2B marketing education among young people for years to come … because B2B commerce is experiencing a meteoric rise!