B2B selling different to B2C?

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Many of my B2B clients voice the concern that a B2B organization cannot benefit from the same sales, marketing and ultimately copy writing techniques as a B2C organization.

Most are already convinced that this is so.

Lately, I’ve seen a lot writtent to copywriters on the subject.  The B2B market is being pushed as one that is essentially nice, steady source of lower key, lower pressure projects.

Having been involved in both B2B and B2C sales, marketing and copywriting for more than 20 years, I have made the following observations:

  1. The B2B market is different to the B2C market in perception more than in reality. B2B purchasers are still human and are still swayed by human emotions when it comes to making purchasing decisions.  The major difference is that for the most part, B2B organizations have completed underutilized the sales, marketing and copy writing opportunities available to them.
  2. Although the ‘packaging’ of sales and marketing messages should be different in B2B than it is in B2C, the same basic underlying principles apply to both as far as crafting messages, offers and motivations is concerned.
  3. Most marketing opportunities in B2B are overlooked – whereas in B2C, every available opportunity is exploited by strong marketers.  For instance, most of my B2B clients, prior to working with me, had never looked at printed collateral such as brochures, white papers, annual reports etc as sales opportunities.  They were surprised to discover that these low key tools present amazing scope to act as strong sales tools with the correct treatment.In my opinion, nothing that is done by a B2B organization should be left unexplored as an additional marketing tool.
  4. More B2B sales people resist this type of approach than B2C sales people
  5. B2B markets are often less volatile than B2C markets and thus results are correspondingly more difficult to track as they may be spead over a far longer time period.  Dips and peaks in the economy affect B2B markets after they affect B2C markets and B2B markets may recover from dips after B2C markets do.  On the upside, sometimes the lag is long enough that the B2B market passes through this period with far less impact overall, especially if they have been diligent in their marketing efforts.

Having said this, here’s my advice to B2B organizations based on my experience with current clients in this economy:

  1. Examine everything you do from answering the phones to shipping your product – there are usually many ways to promote hidden in every area of your business.
  2. Pay far more attention to staying in touch with, educating and encouraging your customers. Set up an ongoing and consistent communication system immediately.  This system can include emails, letters, newsletters, white papers, articles, press releases, interviews and blogs.  This list is not finite, there are many other techniques that can be added.  My advice is: get one up and running at a time.  Make sure it’s running smoothly then add the next.  Soon you’ll have a network of communications strategies working on virtual ‘auto pilot’.
  3. Create a 2 way communication system that allows you to tap into your customer’s mind to discover what motivates them and what could help them meet their challenges. Position your business as an adviser rather than only a supplier.
  4. Find ways to offer better value – whether it’s in the product itself or in added-value services or additions to the product.

Following these simple guidelines will help your business pull ahead of the doldrums and be well postioned to pull way ahead of the competiton both immediately and long term.

If you’re not sure how to go about setting this up, please feel free to email me at jackie@jackiecooperwriter.com to take advantage of my free consultation offer.

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