What’s wrong with B2B marketing and why so many SMEs get it wrong!

Despite best intentions, many SMEs are not seeing the momentum and growth they seek. Many are facing barriers such as not getting through to their target prospects, discussions with clients and prospects seem to be in resulting in either longer sales cycles or even no sales at all.

This is because there’s a new reality in B2B here in 2021. Success in B2B requires understanding the new B2B “playing field” which is grounded in three core principles.

1. Content may be king—but too much of anything is not a good thing!

Last year when the world went into lockdown and business activity slowed significantly, people began living by the mantra “Thou shall create content!”

Product and service providers everywhere created vast amount of content in all its forms – blogs, videos and webinars which they pushed through various platform channels – two of the most popular being LinkedIn and email.

Many business owners and leaders felt bombarded and overwhelmed by the volume of seemingly never-ending content. Furthermore, much of it seemed confusing and contradictory despite coming from reputable and trustworthy sources. According to studies by Gartner, 55 per cent of B2B buyers are bombarded with trustworthy information while 44 per cent of B2B buyers struggle with seemingly contradictory information. As a consequence, many decision-makers are shying away from content by whatever means necessary be it avoiding their LinkedIn accounts, deleting emails or unsubscribing to content.

2. Business buyers need some A-I-R…not more content!!!

As decision makers grapple with trying to determine how to take their businesses forward and navigate through the volatility and uncertainty, what they seek is not more content but A-I-R – Advice, Insights and Recommendations that will enable them to do two things:

  • Sense-making: to understand the dynamics, complexity of the industry, markets and economic conditions they operate in and what it means for their business.
  • Road-mapping: to identify the strategies and actions they should undertake to solve problems and achieve their goals.

B2B marketers must shift their efforts to meeting these two objectives.

3. The new “tri-factor” needed to win in B2B!

To acquire and retain business clients and grow your business requires, that your SME’s operations is driven by three elements:

  • Strategic Marketing.
  • Sales.
  • Business Innovation.

Each of these is explained here:

Strategic Marketing: An in-depth understanding of the industries, customers and BUYERS you wish to serve including:

  • Who Involved in the Buying Decision.
  • How They Buy.
  • What’s Important to them.

 Without this depth of understanding, your company will not get the visibility and attract the buyers that you seek.

Sales: However, B2B Sales must now be approached working cross-functionally with other parts of the company (such as Marketing, Customer Service and Products) to enable B2B buyers with the A-I-R to facilitate their purchasing decisions.

Without sales, you have No Revenues which means No business!!

Innovation: By this I mean BUSINESS innovation that is, making new introductions and/or improvements across one of more of five elements of your business (Product, Services, Process, Organisation and Marketing) based on your business customer’s needs.

FACT: High growth firms, defined as those which achieve 20 per cent or more annual growth over a 3-year terms business innovate in at least two areas in addition to just product

Without innovation, you will not be relevant to the industries and clients you seek and you will risk losing current clients, yet alone acquiring new ones.

Get with the times. Stop “throwing up” content!

Start listening to your customers to understand their needs, how you can help them “make sense” of their world and identify what innovations to enable them to achieve their objectives.

Doing so will enable both you and your clients to succeed in this brave new B2B world.