DIGITALA STRATEGIES | READING TIME: 3 MINUTES | 10 DECEMBER
B2B digital marketing
I strongly believe we have reached a breaking point for digital marketing of B2B companies. Digital processes have been increasing in importance for a long time, something which is only “new” to those previously uninformed. This trend is now culminating in a mega paradigm shift that businesses can no longer afford to ignore. Going forward, B2B sales operations will be fundamentally different from what they were before March 2020. The full implications of the pandemic are still far from certain and may not be fully understood for another 5–7 years, but it’s crystal clear that economic consequences so far are dreadful.
Digital B2B marketing means marketing to corporate decision-makers
The importance of digital processes for B2B companies has grown significantly in the past few years and has radically increased since March 2020, hence the “mega paradigm shift” mentioned above. More and more business happens digitally, as an increasing number of decision-makers are digital natives. Business is conducted by people, so a shift in people means a shift in behavior. As buyers prefer digital buying processes, businesses that offer digital channels will inevitably be the ones who prevail. Simply “being online” doesn’t quite cut it, however.
Modern B2B buyers will have come a long way in their research process before interacting with your digital channels. This means that companies that don’t engage customers effectively online are at risk of losing opportunities simply by not being one of the options. The image is below from a recent McKinsey article on How B2B sales have changed during COVID-19.
Stellar customer experience is a basic requirement
In order to win, B2B companies need to deliver on the three things corporate buyers value most: speed, ease, and expertise. When a sample of decision-makers was asked in a 2021 McKinsey report to select their top-three most frustrating issues with suppliers’ websites, the top three were the length of the ordering process, the difficulty of finding products, and technical glitches with ordering. Other common concerns were confusing websites, a lack of information on delivery and technical support, and difficulty setting up payments.
In today’s modern world with ready-to-implement digital solutions these things should not be a problem, especially for large companies. If small one-person operations can set up an e-commerce platform and have it perform well on Google, a market leader should be able to do the same. However, a surprising number of large companies still fail at basic web integrations. This is usually due to old and outdated practices, legacy technology that “used to work”, or – most perplexing of all – the idea that digital processes aren’t worth the investment.
The need for digital sales processes in B2B companies continues to grow significantly
The ultimate goal of all marketing and communications strategies is to increase sales. However, a lot of marketing efforts – especially traditional marketing – tend to be nothing more than a stunt. The salespeople continue to work as usual, and the marketing people are happily showing management that a thousand persons ate an ice-cream cone with the company logo on it. This gap between marketing and sales is detrimental to a business and is the result of a marketing strategy without a focus on leads-generation and conversions. Instead, by implementing a strategy that capitalizes on existing demand, the marketing team will generate sales-qualified leads on which the sales team can act.
For those of you who are “uncertain if this is the right time” to invest in a digital transformation, I would like to point out that leading organizations accelerate in times of uncertainty. Current market leaders invested during the last financial crisis and, as a result, came out of the recession with an upwards momentum.
Be greedy when others are fearful
The best part about digital processes is that they allow us to track their progress and performance. It is possible from day one to see how implemented changes and campaigns perform in real-time, which allows for rapid adaptation to changing market conditions. This fact is especially appreciated by marketing managers in corporations with skeptical upper management, as it is possible to show that their investment is on track to be lucrative. It is possible to get a plethora of insights into what does and doesn’t work, as well as which categories of products/services have the potential to be improved.
Have you experienced the same in your industry? Let’s keep up the conversation.
No two companies or markets are identical. Contact us and we can have a conversation about digital marketing for your company specifically.