3 Detailed B2B Marketing Examples and What They Teach Us

09 November 2018 by

Effective B2B marketing examples can be difficult to find and even more difficult to relate to your business.

Below, we present three separate B2B companies, the strategies they used to increase lead generation or revenue, and the takeaway for marketers like you.

(Note: Want to discover new leads, prospects, and gain new insights about your customers? Try Leadfeeder for free.)

B2B Marketing Example #1: FA Solutions Uses Marketing Data to Eliminate Cold Calling

FA Solutions Marketing Data Eliminates Cold Calling

According to social psychologist Amy Cuddy, you have seven seconds to make a first impression. That’s seven seconds to develop a sense of trust, make yourself memorable, and convince the other person that you’re worth their time.

Knowing all that, why are so many salespeople wasting their first impressions on potential customers with a fact-finding mission?

FA Solutions, an investment management tool, decided to use the marketing team’s efforts to equip their sales team with something far more effective: data.

FA Solutions Wanted to Improve the First Sales Call

Like most B2B companies, FA Solutions was stuck in the classic B2B marketing scenario of wanting to personalize sales pitches—but not having the necessary information to actually tailor their sales pitch.

The end result was that sales reps would cold call prospects to find out more about their specific needs and interests with almost no knowledge of the company in advance. That first call was just a research project. Then they’d attempt to set up another meeting to give a proper sales pitch.

Stop me if this sounds at all familiar to the process you’re currently working with.

It was clear to FA Solutions that they were wasting their precious first impression. Cold calling prospects and quizzing them about their business turned them off. As a result, many weren’t eager to set up another meeting afterward.

In an ideal scenario, when the sales reps get in contact with a prospect for the first time, they should already have an offer tailored to that prospect’s individual needs. Especially when you consider the fact that up to 65 percent of business buyers say that they’d switch brands if a company didn’t make an effort to tailor their offer.

Effectiveness of Personalized vs. Unpersonalized Content

Image via Neil Patel

Having the first impression be a “fact-finding mission” signals to the prospect that you don’t know who they are and what’s important to them. It’s also a signal that you haven’t put in the time to make a personalized offer.

Using Data to Impress New Prospects with Personalization

FA Solutions decided to eliminate the fact-finding cold-call from their outbound marketing strategy altogether.

It was inefficient, it was turning away potential customers, and it needed to go.

In the words of FA Solution’s Marketing Communications Manager Anni Salo:

“The first impression is extremely important when contacting a potential customer. We get only one chance to shine.”

While FA Solutions was using Google Analytics and contact forms as a way to capture inbound leads, the company knew there were many website visitors who weren’t submitting inquiries. Google Analytics only shows the number of website visitors, not who visited a site, but FA Solutions wanted to know more about who these visitors were.

To achieve this, they turned to Leadfeeder so they could gather accurate information about the businesses visiting their website.

The decision was a turning point.

Leadfeeder shows you who has visited your site, even if they don't fill out a form.

With data from Leadfeeder, FA Solutions was able to find out who was visiting its website, what pages they were viewing and for how long, and where these visitors were coming from. This gave them incredible insight into what solutions these companies were looking for and what their problems were.

From there it was a matter of visiting the websites of the companies in the Leadfeeder report to learn more about them, grouping them with the right tags, and sending those leads to the right salespeople.

This incredibly simple process made all the difference in helping FA Solutions better understand its prospects. It gave their sales reps the ability to personalize their sales pitches and offers to each individual prospect.

This process ended up being so effective that they were able to achieve their goal of eliminating cold-calling entirely.

Key Takeaway for Marketers: Know where your audience is coming from, and take advantage of tools that help you track and analyze audience behavior.

B2B Marketing Example #2: Maersk Segments Its Audience

Maersk has learned how to segment its audience.

The rise of the internet and social media has changed the traditional B2B buying process. Customers have endless options to choose from when seeking solutions to their problems. They can also access a wealth of information about a company before even having a conversation with a sales rep.

A conversation with a sales rep is no longer the step that builds the initial trust with a prospect.

Fortunately, as shipping container giant Maersk found out, there is more than one way to build trust with your audience.

Effective Content Marketing Builds Trust

Until 2011, Maersk was following the typical B2B content marketing playbook—regularly churning out informative research studies and articles. The problem was that this type of content was only proving to be valuable to a very small minority of their audience.

Maersk was finding that their current content marketing strategy was largely ineffective at building trust with most of their sales prospects.

Different Content for Different Audience Segments

Maersk’s marketing team realized that in order to build trust with prospects, they needed different content for different segments in their audience.

As Jonathan Wichmann, head of social media at Maersk, said:

“I wasn’t sure exactly how we’d be able to engage with people when I started, but in my first week I found our digital archive, which no one was using. It had 14,000 photos on file—mainly ships, seascapes, ports, et cetera. I knew I could share them and add stories to them. That rich history was something I could share that was unique to Maersk.”

This eventually evolved into Maersk launching an all-out social media campaign.

Maersk currently has over 30 social media accounts on several different social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo, and Google Hangouts.

Each account provides unique content and targets a unique audience. For example, Maersk understood that its audience on LinkedIn is different than its audience on Twitter. For that reason, on LinkedIn, they created a private group of shipping container enthusiasts and experts to discuss the latest news and trends in the industry.

This gave Maersk the opportunity to build trust and authority by simply being active in its own group.

posts/b2b-marketing-example-5.jpg

Image via Waterloo

On Facebook, Maersk steadily posted profiles about their various employees—a simple tactic that generated over 150 unique leads to their business. On Vimeo, the company posted a short 2-minute video explaining their procedures on handling massive weather events like Hurricane Sandy.

These simple tactics allowed them to connect with and build a sense of trust with an audience before ever needing to jump on a phone call.

Key Takeaway for Marketers: Segment your audience and go to where they already hang out online. Then, produce content specific to their interests.

B2B Marketing Example #3: Influitive Grows 650 Percent Through Referrals

Influitive has significantly grown their referral process.

According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, 84 percent of B2B decision makers begin their buying process through a referral.

Everyone from frontline salespeople to sales leaders agree that referrals are some of the best leads you can get. Leads generated through referral marketing have a higher conversion rate, close faster, and have a much higher lifetime value.

Influitive, as a customer advocate tool, used the power of referrals to grow an impressive 650 percent in one year alone.

Only 30 Percent of B2B Companies Have a Formal Referral Program

It’s very easy to see why the leads you generate from referrals are of higher quality.

We naturally trust the people we know. A survey by Nielsen found that 92 percent of respondents would trust a referral if it came from someone they know.

It also found that referral leads were four times more likely to purchase compared to any other form of advertising.

B2B Businesses should begin to utilize referral marketing like B2C do.

Image via Duct Tape Marketing

Yet, despite all the evidence pointing towards the power behind referral marketing, B2B businesses haven’t embraced referral marketing as quickly as their B2C counterparts. A survey of over 600 companies by Heinz Marketing found that only 30 percent of companies have a formalized referral program.

How Influitive’s Referral Program Works

When it came to creating their own referral program, Influitive needed to know who their ideal customer was, how to make the referral process as easy as possible, and what the right reward should be.

While every customer you have is a potential source for referrals, not every customer should be asked.

In order to find the ideal person to ask for a referral, Influitive came up with a set of criteria such as:

  • They must have a high NPS score
  • They’ve achieved amazing results with their service
  • They’ve publicly said something positive about the brand.

Unless the person in question had met one of the above criteria, then they wouldn’t be asked.

In order to monitor this, Influitive would regularly survey customers about their experience. They also set up a process to be notified any time the brand was mentioned on social media.

Would you recommend Influitive to your peers?

Image via Influitive

Once they identified their ideal customer, it was time to ask for the referral.

In the early stages, sales reps would reach out with a personalized message asking to be introduced to a friend. To reduce the amount of friction involved in asking for a referral, Influitive would do the legwork for their customers.

They’d detail the exact type of customer or companies that they’d want to work with upfront, or search through a customer’s social networks and asking for specific introductions. Making it so that all the customer had to do was say “yes” or “no.”

A sample of the referral sent to customers with a yes or no.

Image via Influitive

When trying to generate referrals, many B2B businesses struggle to know if or how to reward individuals who make a referral.

Should you give cash? Gift cards? Discounts on your product?

Influitive kept it simple, introducing a suite of rewards for different types of referrals.

These rewards included:

  • Creating a VIP group for customer advocates
  • Free access to products and events
  • Thank you comments on social media.

While many of the rewards were simple, these tactics went a long way in increasing their customer loyalty and further incentivizing referrals.

As a result, the business grew by 650 percent.

Key Takeaway for Marketers: To build your own referral marketing program, start with a clear idea of who to ask—and when to ask them. Then create simple, straightforward rewards to incentivize those who give you referrals.

Conclusion

Better first impressions, content designed to build trust within specific audience segments, and a simple-to-execute referral program are three strategies any B2B organization could learn from and adapt to its own business.

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