business to business

The Big Problem in 2019

In 2019 the gates have been opened.

The barriers to entry in business have never been lower.

It’s easier than ever for anyone who thinks they have what it takes to start a business.

These low barriers to entry are because internet marketing is now mature enough to sustain billion dollar budgets with Business-to-business online commerce in the United States reaching $9 trillion in total sales in 2019 (Forrester).

While this is an excellent opportunity for all of us, it also provides many challenges.

When barriers to entry are low, it means anyone can begin, so competition is high… because anyone can start…

Sure, only the strongest will get the majority of the results, but how can small to medium sized business to business companies figure out the best ‘go-to-market’ strategy in 2019, especially if they’re a small business.

How can B2B businesses solve this problem?

Figuring out a B2B marketing strategy that will both avoid crowded competition and maximize your ROI is a tough question.

Do we use Facebook Advertising, Google Advertising?

Sure these channels work great, but only when you have the capital and understand how they work.

If you overshoot your spend here, your campaign will be a failure, and you’ll directly be feeding the behemoths colossal profit margins.

They can bring great results for B2B marketers with $4 Billion+ being spent with the big platforms.

However, this should only be a strategy for later in a companies life cycle (PPCLand).

But you should only use them if you have the knowledge (internally and externally) along with deep pockets.

Because at this point, they are very mature channels.

What this means is that competition is high, so we can try and compete but only if we have enough capital to handle the high cost per impression and ultimately high cost per acquisition.

With the high cost to compete on digital channels like Google and Facebook, you’ll get outspent by the big players, and if you’re just getting started on the platforms, you’ll need a massive war chest to handle that initial output.

So no, we won't use it, in the beginning (for cold traffic anyway).

What about SEO and content marketing… Social Media?

You can see that I believe in content marketing both search and social, we do a lot of it here at PSV.

But do I think it’s the best channel when you’re starting?

Well, 89% of B2B companies operating online use content marketing as a marketing strategy according to Content Marketing Institute and the rest say they’re going to start.

But it can take three years to see an impact!

So, if it takes that long to see real results, it may not be worth our time in the very beginning.

Because while we focus all of our effort on creating fantastic content, we could be spending that time on things that drive results faster.

Sure content marketing is great, but the competition is high, and it takes a long time to see results.

These factors make it a pretty average strategy for a B2B business just starting.

Introducing the B2B Marketing Strategy that will give you the best results in 2019...

If paid channels and inbound channels aren’t the best options for small B2B businesses getting started with their initial go to market strategy in 2019, what is?

Well, it would need to meet three criteria:

1. Competition must be low to medium
2. Cost and knowledge barriers to entry must be low
3. The return on time and money invested must be high enough to be worth it

The only thing that meets these three criteria is outbound strategies.

Most B2B companies out there engage in person-to-person sales.

Meaning you want to get someone on a call with you to conduct an initial consultation.

If these people don't know who you are, and what your service is, they won't search you out to get on that call - they’ll find the already established players.

You won't appear on ads or in search engines where the competition is high, and margin for error is low.

So the best way to compete is where your competition won't go.

Outreach is the most looked down upon of the three channel groups (Paid, Inbound, Outbound).

This is because sales is really a dirty word these days.

We’ve all had bad experiences with terrible salesmen trying to push us into something we don’t need.

The rationale behind B2B Marketing and Outbound Strategies

So you don’t want to be that pushy salesman, and I get that.

But consider this point:

1. If you truly believe in your product and you genuinely believe the person you’re reaching out to will benefit from that product, then you must make them aware of it at least.

You should have made sure your product is the best in the market or be striving to do so. Otherwise, you shouldn’t be in business, and won't be for long.

So everything else we go through here is assuming that moral obligation is being adhered to.

If it is, you have to make the person you think needs it.. aware of it.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of ways to do so:

1. Cold Email
2. Direct Mail
3. In Person Sales
4. Social Outreach

Outbound channels are any channel where you are going out and finding the audience that needs your product or service but don’t have it yet, and may not even be aware it exists.

Let’s use an example of a copywriter who has just struck out on her own, Sally we’ll call her.

Leaving the comfortable position of a steady job to build something she can call her own.

She tries the paid ad channels and sinks the right amount of her savings into it before reaching a ‘hard stop.’

Realizing that although she got sales from her ads, they weren’t profitable because it cost so much to get a single purchase.

She then tries her hand at SEO and Social Media Marketing, trying the inbound organic route.

It’s enjoyable creating content and trying to build an audience, but once Sally realizes it would take her months or years to build up enough on her social accounts and search traffic volume to get real results she feels distraught.

Wondering how she could survive long enough to get results...

Then, while reminiscing about the agency she worked at, a light bulb!

They had an entire department devoted to reaching out to potential clients.

Sally even remembered how it brought them the highest ROI of any channel (Silly that she hadn’t thought of this earlier).

So she got to work building her first outbound campaigns…

Using her knowledge gathered from years of B2B experience she was able to create a system of outreach that was super targeted to ensure she got the right leads in her funnel and minimized annoying people.

She built a team to handle most of the grunt work using virtual assistants so she could focus on bringing her flood of clients results.

After a year of this, she had enough time to invest in inbound channels and enough money to invest in paid ads.

Her little agency grew and grew from that point forward.

Outbound Channels > Inbound Channels > Paid Ads

So hopefully that poorly written story illustrated why outbound channels should be the first you use if you’re operating in the B2B space.

In B2B, person to person interaction is what sells, because rather than a consumer wanting a product, it’s more typically a business wanting a service.

When we search for a service, the people providing that service are the most essential component of the decision-making process.

The element of trust plays such a vital role in all sales situations, but especially in a B2B service marketing situation.

The primary reason that outbound channels are the first and most important focus for our B2B marketing strategy is that they are low cost (Do it yourself to start) and not time intensive (Once you outsource the ‘grunt work’).

They allow us to free up our time and bring in new clients in the most productive manner.

We can then use this extra time and focus on investing in SEO and Social Media Marketing AKA Inbound channels.

And eventually, the extra cash can go towards our paid ads, which suck up money fast.

The Steps To Implement Your B2B Marketing Strategy In The Best Way For 2019

Now that we know an outbound strategy should be the first one we implement and the best approach to achieve growth for our business in 2019, we should lay out how to apply it right?

What we’re going to need is 1. Lead Generation 2. Sales Rep 3. Lead management 4. Lead outreach

If you’re already getting enough capital to invest in a few channels, then you can outsource those three things from the start.

Otherwise, you can do it yourself in the beginning.

The costs of this strategy can be meager, using Leadfuze for Lead Generation, yourself for Sales Rep’ing and yourself for lead outreach and management you can spend as little as $250-$500 per month.

Whether you’re doing cold emailing, social outreach, or direct mail, you will need all 4 of the above systems in place.

Let’s break down each step by step.

Outbound Systems and Automation

1. Lead Generation

At this point, you should realize that you have something amazing that you can do for your clients.

You should want to find the individuals that could be the best clients for you and to do that you need a system of finding and building highly targeted lists of potential clients aka leads.

If you’re looking to outsource right away go with onlinejobs.ph and if you want to do it yourself all you’ll need is leadfuze.

2. Lead Outreach

Now you have a list of targeted leads, and we next need to reach out to them, in this example we will focus on cold email as a channel, so to reach out to them, you will need an email address and an outreach automation tool.

We recommend setting up a separate email address on a different domain from your primary one so as not to have any negative consequences on your area.

From there you will need to warm up any new email address over a month by sending emails to friends and colleagues, setting up DNS correctly, and subscribing to newsletters.

Once ready you can then set up your email address on a sending application, we recommend woodpecker for quality and prices, it’s what we use for our outreach.

From there you will start slow and scale up your sending over a few months, usually the max emails you should send on a google address is 500 per day so scale up 20-50 per day until you reach that point.

3. Lead Management

Now that you have the generation and outreach set up you’re probably going to be getting hundreds of responses per week.

You will need to create response templates and an effective procedure to automate this as soon as possible.

Hire someone to manage your inboxes so that you can focus on getting results for your clients.

4. Sales Rep

In the beginning, you will likely be doing any sales repping yourself.

But once you reach a point where you have a high enough volume of calls that it becomes in your best interest to hire someone to automate that side of things.

You can then hire someone to handle your requests for you and once again it’s best to create scripts and procedures so you can optimize everything down the line with the data collected.

Outbound Channels

For the above explanation of each of the four steps in the outbound system setup we used cold email as the example, but this same system is set up for a range of outbound channels.

We will cover three channels here so you can get an idea of what kind of results to expect.

We include our typical conversion rates for our marketing service to give you an idea of what kind of results you can expect as a B2B company.

1. Cold Email

This involves sending emails to those you think would benefit from your service.
Detractors call this channel spam because you aren't getting permission to send, I’m no lawyer, and this is just from my experience as an individual, it’s completely legal to do so in the United States and looks to be similar in other places.
However, some countries like Canada and New Zealand do outlaw any cold outreach over email so always double check the location of the people you are sending outreach.

We typically get a 15% open rate, 5% reply rate and 0.5% purchase rate. I have colleagues who get much better results than this, and some that get much worse.
It depends on the quality of your offer and how well your system is set up.

2. Direct Mail

Direct mail includes the letters you used to receive in the mail from random companies trying to sell bibles and insurance.

It may be less popular than it used to be in the B2B world, but direct mail can still drive superior results, simply because everyone else is so focused on digital right now that they miss the importance of tried and true methods like direct mail.

You’ll need to write some copy, build a list of quality contacts, purchase the required ink, paper, envelopes, etc. and even some items to make the packages bulky.

Here’s a reliable service we’ve been using for a long time to drive results with direct mail

The American Direct Marketing Association found in a recent study that Response rates for B2B campaigns were generally higher than for B2C campaigns.

In the study which analyzed Bizo and Epsilon data and found that direct mail achieves a 4.4% response rate, compared to 0.12% for email.

So it’s pretty clear that direct mail is far from out of the picture and could be a great channel to implement in your overall strategy simply because your competitors disregard it.

Always go where your competitors are not, so in this case direct mail meets that requirement fully.

You can safely expect great results with a direct mail piece if you put in the effort to design a great campaign and write excellent copy, which coincidentally we can help with.

3. Social Outreach

In terms of new outbound channels, I can’t think of one more new than social outreach.

You are building your audience on Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, youtube and elsewhere.
Then you're reaching out to warm and cold members of this audience with an offer.

The key with social outreach is to ensure that every step in the relationship involves you giving more value than you’re taking.

You can’t randomly reach out to every single member of your audience like a robot, and this is just setting yourself up for failure.

To build goodwill rather than destroy it, you must be picky about who you reach out to even if your messaging is excellent.

Ideally, you will be able to warm up your audience a little first by producing great content regularly, posting daily seems to bring the best results.

Once members of your audience see the content, you’re posting and perhaps even comment or like, you can then look into their profile and see if they match all of the criteria for a good prospect.

If they do, and only if they do, you can construct a highly targeted, personal, message and send it through to them.

Ideally, your message will not have a direct sales approach but rather be more of a question.

So after adding value in your message, you might say something along the lines of “How are your {Insert your service} (efforts) going right now?” or some question along those lines to be conversational.

Always remember in the social world adding value is king.

Take away lessons for your 2019 B2B Marketing Strategy

Paid ads are getting more and more expensive on the big channels like Facebook and Google.

Inbound methods like SEO are overcrowded and slow.

Whilst these methods still play a vital role in any online strategy you should first start off with those channels that produce the highest ROI.

In the B2B world outbound methods are still king.

After reading this article you should understand why outbound methods are the best group to start with in order to reach a good scale if starting out with little capital.

Have a general understanding of the channels within this group and an outline of how to implement them.

If you're interested in learning more about how a video marketing production strategy can impact your bottom line without spending exorbitant amounts of time and money check this out.

Comment below with any questions but let me know what you’re currently doing and how it’s going.

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The Best B2B Marketing Strategy In 2019
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