18 B2B marketing tips to bring you success in 2021

February 11, 2021

18 B2B marketing tips

B2B marketing is often perceived and treated differently than B2C. That’s because in B2B we’re marketing to business entities, not to consumers like in B2C. But is this really true?

Fact is, even when marketing to business entities it is essential to remember that they are run by humans. Basically, it’s the humans who make the decisions – whether buy supplies from you, outsource to you or partner with you.

It’s that simple. Or not. 

Marketing is still a terribly beautiful territory – you can enjoy the tasty fruits of the angelic trees, without seeing you’re sinking in quicksand. So how do you escape? How to improve B2B marketing?

Let’s find out.

Jump directly to:

 1. Use full-funnel marketing

 2. Start a referral program

 3. Listen more market less

 4. Invert the marketing funnel

 5. Appeal to the human beings

 6. Bifurcate your marketing funnel

 7. Personalise the marketing campaigns

 8. Start blogging

 9. Pre-validate marketing campaigns

 10. Show empathy

 11. Add your phone number

 12. Add a chatbot on your website

 13. Shift to omnichannel marketing

 14. Catch up with buyers’ behaviour

 15. Give free products/services

 16. Approach branding differently

 17. Podcasting

 18. Revert in technology

How to improve B2B marketing in 2021

The previous year was quite turbulent. A virus attacked not only humanity, but the economy too. Consumer and buyer behaviour changed. Companies were suddenly forced to move all cross-brand collaborations, buyer-supplier relationships, partnership scouting and client acquisition online. What once took an international flight to close a deal with a new partner, was suddenly surprisingly easy to do virtually on an AI-powered business platform.

With such major changes in society and economy, it was inevitable that there would be changes in the B2B marketing sphere as well.

Use full-funnel marketing

Full-funnel marketing means reaching consumers where they fall within the funnel. It is a necessary approach because it allows marketing efforts to be calculated. Creating a successful full-funnel marketing strategy starts with B2B marketers mapping out the three stages of the funnel and the content assets required for each.
With the funnel mapped out, marketers can take a deeper look, using marketing data to evaluate what’s working and what isn’t. It allows marketers to identify which part of the funnel is leaking and where they might be losing customers, as this should be a top priority to fix. Knowing where the funnel is failing can help marketers look for ways to improve and enhance the customer journey. Creating a full-funnel marketing strategy ensures that marketing efforts are calculated, with clear potential results, and keeps efforts focused on outcomes rather than just activities.

Dave Toby, Director of Pathfinder Alliance

Start a referral program

Create a referral program that allows other businesses to share your products or services with potential clients, track those referrals, all while incentivizing them to keep referring your company. This may seem like overkill, but 84% of B2B decision-makers start the buying process with a referral. It is always advantageous for your company to be recommended by others. 

Why not create a formal system for companies to easily share your business with potential new clients. When creating a referral program, here are a few things to keep in mind: make the sign-up process simple and hassle-free. If it takes too long for businesses to sign up, they will lose interest. Create a simple way for businesses to sign-up and start sharing.

Nina Jensen, Community Outreach Manager at 8×8

Referral marketing will definitely take a huge impact on businesses approach in 2021. Being on top when it comes to acquiring new leads and cost-effective, with businesses having already far-stretched budgets, I’m sure many will turn to the idea of establishing a referral program.

Joy Corkery, Content Marketing Lead at Latana

Listen more market less

Stop marketing. Seriously. Instead, start listening. Then respond. You can even do this in your blog. Before you research keywords, talk to your customers. Find out what their questions are and then address them, candidly, in your blog posts.

Nicolas Jacobeus, Founder and CEO of SaaSpirin

Invert the marketing funnel

In 2021, B2B companies should completely invert the marketing funnel and focus on driving action first, as opposed to awareness. How would they accomplish this? Instead of focusing primarily on the features of their product or service, they should focus on crafting a narrative around how their biggest advocates use them! 

As we know, reviews and testimonials are gold for businesses and will be for the foreseeable future. There are metrics like Net Promoter Score and Sentiment Analysis for this exact reason. Throw in the fact that emotion is often a greater purchase indicator than logic, and you have a recipe for marketing success. So, to get better results in 2021, B2B companies should flip the marketing funnel on its head and create customer-centric stories to elicit emotion and action out of their prospects.

Cory Young, Founder of BCC Interactive

Appeal to the human beings

Stop marketing to robots. B2B companies often fall into the trap of marketing to businesses. They treat their audiences as robots. But remember, there are individual people who see your ads, read your white papers, and evaluate your proposals. Stop being boring and learn from consumer companies instead.

Ariel Lim, Digital Marketing Consultant

One of the biggest opportunities for B2B marketers is to describe and position products in a way that appeals to the human beings they’re trying to sell to. A lot of B2B positioning feels like it’s pulling from the investor deck, rather than an insights-driven effort to understand an audience. The result is often copy and value props that are vague. 

If you position yourself as a B2B solution platform that finds synergies to streamline operational efficiency, there’s a pretty good chance your audience can’t tell what you really do, what sets you apart, or why they should work with you. If you develop messaging that’s distinct, specific, and benefit-oriented, you’re much more likely to connect.

Elliott Brown, Director of Marketing at OnPay Payroll and HR 

We find that the best way to market B2B business is to create personal relationships with customers and use storytelling as much as possible.

Be personal. Connect with real people through social media platforms, like LinkedIn and Twitter. People respond to sincere, non-automated, non-sales-pitchy messages. Get interested in their companies and the work they do. Exchange ideas and information. Creating meaningful, personable, mutually-beneficial relationships can help build a great business environment. Then, use customer success stories to tell your own story and how you help other businesses. After all, that’s the real essence of a successful B2B enterprise.

Natalya, Content Marketer for LiveHelpNow

Bifurcate your marketing funnell

Most B2B marketing teams make the flawed assumption that all marketing qualified leads are the same and convert through the funnel at the same rate. This assumption breeds marketing struggles. The funnel needs to be divided into the following parts:

  • High Intent: These are leads that have completed website demo requests, pricing requests, talked to sales, submitted contact forms, etc.
  • Low Intent: These are leads like webinar attendees, ebook downloaders, paid social traffic, direct response, etc.*

Once you see the data, you’ll realize that high intent matters most and you can shift your efforts to influence those conversions with greater focus.

Vivek Nanda, VP of Marketing at Jorsek Inc., makers of easyDITA

Personalise the marketing campaigns

Probably the main perspectives to manage as a primary concern for your B2B marketing are the attention on personalization and record based advertising. Neglecting to offer a similar degree of personalization as your rivals can separate you for all some unacceptable reasons.

Essentially, with endless organizations utilizing email as a component of their advertising endeavors, you need to guarantee that your email promoting technique is solid. Improve your messages for transformation, fragment your crowd, and ensure each send is noticeable in beneficiaries’ inboxes.

At long last, investigate how you are picking up leads and guarantee your objectives mirror this. You can utilize information and these benchmarks to make an archived advertising plan dependent on past and current execution.

Scott Keever, Founder of Scott Keever SEO

Start blogging

In my experience working with B2B companies most underestimate the value of a good blog. 

The challenge: what to write about. 

The answer: write about problems your customers struggle with and provide solutions. 

The key is to not limit your solution to what your company has to offer. I’m not saying you should talk about your competitors. Mention other ways people solve this problem. At the end, you can mention how you have an even better solution but altruistically-helpful content will perform well no matter how you promote it (whether organic social media such as LinkedIn or through organic search).

David Zimmerman, Internet Marketing Consultant at Reliable Acorn LLC

Pre-validate marketing campaigns

One way B2B companies can improve their marketing is by pre-validating their marketing campaigns for optimal results. For each campaign, publish 3 versions of your content at 25% of the campaign duration using 25% of the budget. Then, use the remaining 75% of the budget on the version of the campaign that performed the best during the trial period.

Nick Swekosky, CEO of Market Metrics

Show empathy

Many of your prospects will be working from home in 2021, which is unprecedented for B2B. And they may be battling newer challenges: a sick child moaning in the next room, an elderly parent who has had to move in, a spouse who has been laid off and so on.

In all your early communications – emails, calls, Zoom, whatever – be sure to display empathy if you know they are WFH. Don’t ignore the importance of initial pleasantries where you tell them how you perfectly understand their challenges. Who knows, occasionally you might even share a small tip to reduce the pressure! Perhaps you’ll find no better way to build a relationship, which is what B2B marketing is all about.

Mayank Batavia, Head, Marketing and Partnerships at QuickEmailVerification

Add your phone number

Add a Whatsapp number and a phone number to your landing pages, social media creatives, ads and website. Many B2B companies just have a contact form or email id. But a lot of clients want to connect immediately – responding instantly gives you a big advantage over competitors who might respond in 8-24 hours. 

We’ve been able to get the information required to make a quote much faster (usually within 2 hours) and in most cases, send a proposal the same day. When you respond instantly, the client is less likely to contact your competitors.

This has made our marketing much more effective and increased our conversion rate 3x times.

Nikita Agarwal, Director at Milestone Localization

Add a chatbot on your website

Marketing in this digital era, and after the Covid-19 came, has almost completely shifted online. In the given circumstances, Chatbots play a crucial role in engaging the customers as customers nowadays want quick answers to their questions and queries. They also want 24/7 customer services and all this is not possible to manage with humans only. Thus, Chatbots are necessary to communicate and engage with their clients.

67% of the customers are reported to use Chatbot service to get answers to their questions worldwide and this trend is expected to increase in the coming year. Having a Chatbot service on your website is going to be a beneficial marketing strategy for 2021.

Werner Jorgensen, Marketing and Sales expert at Tooleto

Shift to omnichannel marketing

With the changing times, B2B companies should shift their marketing strategy from multichannel marketing to omnichannel marketing. Omnichannel marketing is when your intended audience is connected with all the channels, be it social media, physical storefronts, mobile marketing, newspapers and web. It is crucial for businesses to present a seamless and consistent voice and message across all platforms.

Jitesh Keswani, CEO at E-Intelligence

Catch up with buyers’ behaviour

Out-of-the-box is exactly what B2B companies should not do in order to see better results in 2021. Most B2B companies have yet to catch up on how buyers have changed their purchasing behavior in the last few years. This means that the greater gains in business will be had by updating and following best practices in how B2B buyers actually make decisions in 2021 

(Hint: the B2B customer journey now looks a lot more like the consumer customer journey.).

Evan Berglund, Owner/Senior Partner at Gonzberg Agency

Free offers

After working with dozens of B2B businesses all around the USA, I can say with confidence that offering a tool or service for free is the best way to get new business in your door. Whether it’s a template, a spreadsheet, information, or something else – give it away. You’ll earn trust and get your foot in the door faster than an aggressive sales strategy. So much of the online space is inundated with sleazy sales and smoke and mirrors that you have to earn someone’s trust before you ever get a conversation.

Mike Funkhouser, CEO of Small Business Mentor

Approach branding differently

B2B organizations will need to take the things they’ve learned from the pandemic and put them into action. Remote events, digital networking, and social issues will continue to trend in 2021. After 2020, the way we transact business, and the way we interact will have changed forever. Branding, a customer’s perception of a product or service, will have become much more important for B2B than ever before. I believe we’ve fallen in love with our B2B partners just like we have to fall in love with a consumer brand. B2B companies are going to have to really home in on the following things:

  • People will buy on the long tail – Brand and product differentiation will matter, even for commoditized products and services as products become more accessible.
  • Transparency and positions matter – Businesses have to be more concerned than ever about ESG (Environment, Social, and Governance) than they have had to in the past.
  • Multi-channel is key – Traditional “smile and dial” will be replaced by automated programs that feel personal. Online robots –  it’s a thing.

Bo Bothe, CEO of BrandExtract

Podcasting

As a career digital marketing professional and owning my own measurable marketing agency since 2000, I have a few thoughts on best practices to improve B2B marketing. I’ve found podcasting has been a tremendous help in B2B brand building the past few years. Although I’ve co-hosted 2 podcasts over the past 10+ years, our experience helping create and market podcasts for B2B clients is more compelling.

A few years ago, we helped build a content and marketing strategy for the Craving The Future podcast, which resulted in the host landing a global hotel client within months after launching.

As we recommended to Michael Perman of C’EST WHAT? And Craving The Future, the best way to get into podcasting is to leverage your network to secure interesting content and interviews (makers, sommeliers, customers, retailers, etc.). The bigger the names, the more likely they are to generate interest and a following and provide further leverage to secure future high profile guests. Industry influencers are also likely to have their own following and market the podcasts to their networks for added reach.

You don’t have to create a podcast to benefit. B2B brands can solicit guest appearances (interviews) as well as sponsor or buy advertising on industry podcasts.

Kent Lewis, President & Founder Anvil

Revert in technology

It may sound weird but reverting in technology may be effective in 2021. What I mean by this- forget about email marketing because it is overdone. Try instead, sending out handwritten mailers. This is the best way to get past the gatekeepers in the real-estate industry. Extra points if you use a wax seal with your logo!

Martin Boonzaayer, CEO of The Trusted Homebuyer

Conclusion

Do you see it? The line between B2C and B2B marketing blurred. Not sure where one’s beginning or ending. That’s because in both cases the human should be in your focus. So if you’re wondering how to improve B2B marketing, we hope this article gave you some plausible ideas.

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