In the final parts of the series, I wanted to show how and why following traditional marketing thinking can hamper your success in B2b marketing.

B2b marketing differs from consumer marketing because it's more relational than transactional, and it often takes longer to go from awareness to trust. That means that there are more steps, and more interaction required. It also means that it requires more patience, which is rewarded with bigger paydays.

Here are some key concepts I outlined in the first and second posts of this series:

  1. There is no cookie-cutter solution. Cookie-cutter systems work because they are based on mass marketing and are successful only because it filters out a few wins found in hundreds or thousands of interactions.
  2. Less is more. People are busy and don't have time or a desire to consume 1000+ word sales letter style content. These may work on the few that filter through a cookie-cutter filter, but B2b buyers are more targeted and have less time for content.
  3. Different still has to be relevant. Short and unique solutions still require that the viewer has a need and interest in the content being shared at the time they find it relevant to their needs and situation.

So how do you overcome all of those? Well, we think we have built a better mousetrap.

It Starts With Getting Attention

Like most solutions to many problems, it's good to work backward to define the steps.

  • Make a Sale
  • Build a Relationship
  • Get Introduced
  • Define Knowledge/Expertise
  • Generate Awareness

The top two are part of the salesperson or team's process. The marketing part is the next three. I have talked about this theory in prior posts, and now I want to add some clarity and context.

In the B2b market, most of our clients are spending time on LinkedIn. People use other platforms, but they do so for friends, family, and fun. When they are on LinkedIn, they have business on their brain. That is why you don't see memes, politics, or cat videos very often. Trust me people have tried and failed to interject those with bad results.

With that said here are some things we have learned over the last few years (through actual client experience):

  1. People spend 15-20 minutes per week on LinkedIn
  2. People hit a brick wall after 35 minutes on webinars & meetings
  3. Gif posts are more effective than short video posts

What that tells us is that people in business are too busy to read long posts. It's short, to-the-point content like images and gifs that get the most clicks. Once people click, they continue to want short, quick engagement or actions to take.

Once you get people on your website, the holy grail is always getting their contact information. But what if they are not willing or ready to? That is where a Decision Tree helps.

The Decision Tree

We have created a new interactive tool that not only gives the user what they want but tracks their activity. That activity becomes useful once they decide to provide you with their contact information. It sits on a website as a banner ad but can be initiated there, but also through a social media post or email.

The point is simple. It has to be a simple process that confirms you understand their question or need and gets them to answer in three easy steps.

(I have talked before about the ‘Power of Three‘)

Step 1 – Confirm that they are in the right place by echoing back their question to them.

Here is where you have the opportunity to provide an image and a short amount of text (100 words or less) to confirm that they are not alone in this situation and explain that they have choices. You can ask a bonus question here (like their business role or industry) but we are still testing if this is the right place for that. The only thing they should have to do is click a “NEXT' button.

Step 2 – Give them three options to help them narrow down to their specific (and possible) solution.

This should provide them with no more than three options to help them narrow down what choice may suit their needs best. It should again have an image and some bullet points that point to the solution or outcome if they click on that option. Again, this could be the place to ask a bonus question here (like their business role or industry). Once they click on their choice it takes them to the outcome page.

Step 3 – Give them the answer. BONUS – Provide resources to learn more.

This should either give them a Good-Better-Best option result or just a single result. Either way, they should have the option to download a resource with no strings attached (meaning not have to trade info for the result). You can also add additional resources. We have linked those to an eBook (which does ask for contact info), and a webinar replay, and we have included a simple way to connect with a specific salesperson (up to three) linked to that specific result.

The system adds a cookie that can be tracked to see how far into the process people go, but it also can be linked to any contact information collected when they do download a resource up to a month after that initial contact. This provides context and intelligence to people who take multiple visits to feel comfortable enough to actively engage with your business.

Final Thoughts

The main point I hope you take away is that this system is live and getting results, but like any system or software, it is always a work in progress. What we have found is that when you drive people directly to the Decision Tree via social media posts or emails, it is more effective than placing banner ads on your website, but those banners are also generating clicks from people who are new to the company and website. So we are seeing benefits from both.

The magic is in replicating what we already know. Business people are busy. They want quick answers to their questions but will take a while to make a buying decision. This tracks their buyer's journey across multiple interactions. This helps provide your sales team exceptional insight into the client's needs, behavior, and interest, way before any sales interaction has even begun.

“A good decision is based on knowledge and not on numbers”
– Plato

Comment below and share your thoughts, ideas, or questions about helping customers decide to work with you. How could your sales process benefit from knowing your buyer's journey on your website? Are your salespeople (or you) informed when you start a sales relationship? How could keeping prospects engaged benefit sales?

To learn more about this and other topics on B2b Sales & Marketing, visit our podcast website at The Bacon Podcast