I recently had a conversation with the owner of an established medium size b2b company. He understood his space well and had generated plenty of business, but questioned the value of digital marketing. He felt that since most of his deals were done via networking and talking with the decision makers, there wasn’t a lot of value in spending money online. To an extent, his opinion was that if what I am doing now is working, why change it?
I felt he had some valid points, but I also had a slightly different perspective.
Most people are trying to build and grow a business for the long term. They start small and over time hopefully manage to expand and have success. Along the path, you meet all types of people and develop your network that you can sell your products/services to. But what happens when your business is ready to scale faster than the potential client base of your network?
Why Marketing Is Critical for B2B Businesses
Long Term Awareness
This is something that is often overlooked if you plan on running your business for years. Chances are there are new prospective buyers that are entering the industry all the time. If you can get on their radar early on, you will be more likely to be a top contender when later on in their careers they are in need of your service. Remember at some point they will either be the decision maker or have influence on the person who is making the decision.
PPC Targeted Ads and Content
Chances are you have some kind of a sales team and do some kind of business development. If you mixed in digital marketing you can create funnels starting on platforms like Google Ads and LinkedIn that help to identify qualified prospects early on that you can nurture over time. This can help produce more qualified leads, increase your brand exposure, close more deals, and ultimately generate more revenue. Depending on the business you have, it could also reduce the number of required salespeople.
Having a strong brand, identity, purpose, and web presence gives you a unique identifier. Often times there is little separating two companies, so something like the look, feel, and quality of a website, presentation materials, thought leadership, and other assets can make your brand seem more compelling.
Clout & Content
When someone is making a purchasing decision they want to feel like they are getting a great product or service. By leveraging both traditional channels (like exhibiting at conferences) and digital channels, brands can easily get their messaging in front of relevant eyes. Similar to the previous point, if people see you being active in the space on a regular basis they will have more trust and confidence in your brand. Similarly, if someone has already purchased your product/service, you want them to realize the value. By regularly sharing content they will continue to see the value in what you're providing verses entertaining the competition when it comes time to renew.
A lot of these items all help in the presales process. They let the world know about your business so when someone is ready for your product or service, they will go to your company instead of the competition. You’re still going to have to sell and build relationships, but don’t underestimate the influence long term marketing can have. Start implementing a plan early so you can benefit from the long term effects and results you want.