The counter-intuitive strategies to boost your B2B campaigns

Marketing in the B2B space has undergone several transformations in recent years. Increasingly, marketing techniques considered standard practice have become less and less effective, while buyer behaviour and expectations have continued to evolve.

Rather than doubling down on strategies that are failing to deliver and turning off potential prospects, marketers must challenge their own preconceived notions and employ less intuitive tactics if they are to remain relevant to discerning B2B buyers.

Don’t gate your content

The modern B2B buyer is more well-informed and tech-savvy than ever before. With this, we are seeing the rise of the self-serve buyer. Just as an average B2C customer might browse an online catalogue of products before making their purchase, B2B decision-makers are motivated to conduct their own research on products and services, and arrive at their own evaluations. A study from Gartner found that 33% of all B2B buyers want a seller-free sales experience – with this preference increasing to 44% for millennials.

Traditional thinking has seen B2B brands gate their most valuable content in an attempt to collect lead data and essentially force buyers down the sales funnel. While this does offer some benefits – namely, you know exactly who is accessing your content, and from this are able to collect more leads, ultimately, the tactic of gating content does more harm than good in a modern context.

For a vast majority of your potential audience, being presented with gated content – no matter how valuable – will result in them simply navigating away and finding that information elsewhere. If your target buyer is not yet in “buy mode” but is instead in the research and information-gathering stage of the B2B cycle, a gated content form is more likely to turn a vast majority of your audience away, or generate less-than quality leads for your sales team.

Instead, you need to get in front of your audience as a thought leader, and build trust early-on through transparent, valuable content on channels such as paid social.

Stop asking for so much data

Data is the oil that greases the wheels of your marketing campaigns. However, this has resulted in many B2B marketers collecting vast amounts of unnecessary data that do nothing to add value to your own marketing strategies, or your customer’s experience with your brand.

Buyers, in both the B2B and B2C spaces, are becoming increasingly sensitive to data privacy and the information they provide to companies, and many marketers are yet to catch up with this trend. Of course, you need data to effectively market to your buyers, but there needs to be a strategic and deliberate approach to how and what data is collected.

Before asking a potential B2B buyer for information, consider the following: do I need this piece of data? Am I being transparent about why I need this data? Is there a sufficient reason for someone to provide this information? The value exchange of customer data is particularly important, as asking a prospect to provide you with all their information so they can access your content simply won’t cut it.

For most B2B businesses, the most important piece of data is the email address of a lead. The email domain can then easily be looked up to provide additional company information, without putting off a potential prospect with long, detailed data forms, and with tools like Zapier or Apollo, automations can be set up to more easily find this information for you.

At every stage, it’s important to really think about the data that is adding value to your marketing, sales and customer service activities, and balance this with the needs and expectations of your audience.

Show your pricing

The idea of a retail website without product pricing would be absurd. Consumers want to know whether an item is in their price range before they waste valuable time pursuing it. In the B2B space, however, the practice of obscuring pricing is relatively normalised, despite that fact that B2B buyers cite pricing as their number one informational need on a website.

This is a fundamental misalignment between B2B companies and buyers, creating an immediately hostile environment for potential prospects. Depending on your business model and the products and services you offer, displaying pricing can indeed be complex, but there are intelligent ways to work around this and show a willingness to customers to offer pricing in a transparent way.

Opting to display price ranges for possible product/service configurations, or features available for companies of different sizes are one such compromise. Similarly, including a pricing or savings calculator are another way to bridge this gap between business and customer needs.

With B2B spaces more competitive than ever, displaying your pricing is one way to increase your chances of making it to a buyer’s shortlist of possible candidates, while establishing better brand trust.

Bridging the gap between company and consumer

Traditional approaches in B2B marketing are becoming less effective. Instead, if brands are to remain relevant to their prospective audiences, they must address this misalignment of customer and company needs, and bring marketing approaches in line with buyer expectations.