Business-to-business sales and marketing can be much more difficult and time-consuming than for business-to-consumer companies. The reasons are many, from the B2B buyer being much more sophisticated, to the fact that sales are typically on a much larger scale. To gain insights into how to rise to the B2B challenge, I spoke with serial entrepreneur, Tomas Gorny, who shared growth strategies that have led to the success of his ventures, including Sitelock, Nextiva and Endurance International, a web-hosting company that was sold to Warburg Pincus and Goldman Sachs for nearly $1B.
The Millennial Factor
The B2B market is constantly changing. According to a report released by market research firm Forrester last year, many B2B companies don’t realize just how many Millennials are currently making purchasing decisions. Forrester’s study found that 73% of Millennials are involved in B2B purchasing decisions. However, 46% of marketers surveyed by Forrester said their sellers were interacting with Millennials less than 20% of the time. Another 23% of marketers said they had no idea how often they encountered Millennials.
Reports like these emphasize just how important it is for B2B companies to re-examine their marketing strategies to ensure they are reaching customers and having an impact where it matters most. In this highly competitive environment, the traditional B2B marketing strategies of years past are no longer sufficient to attract and retain customers. Instead, B2B companies must recognize that potential customers have access to ample information when they’re making purchasing decisions. Developing a positive reputation and making sure that your customers are satisfied will help potential customers choose your business to meet their needs.
Addressing The Client’s Pain Points
The best way for a business to thrive is to identify growth opportunities in the market. Far too often, companies try to emulate what other successful businesses are doing. But they should focus their efforts on trying to fill a void in the market by offering a much-needed product or service that will set them apart from competitors.
“The market is a crowded place with many products. Coming up with a viable solution is difficult because it has to address and solve a real problem. Very often, people attempt to copy products after seeing another company’s success instead of trying to understand consumer pain points to create something new,” says Gorny. “My experiences as an entrepreneur have allowed me to discover these unique pain points. Every idea I put into our products originated out of my pain points as an entrepreneur. Today’s greatest opportunities center around solutions that help businesses automate processes and understand their customers.”
One of the biggest challenges a company can face is how to offer useful access to information while maintaining data governance. Cyber security is much more than an IT problem; it can become a PR nightmare. That’s why it’s critical for B2B companies to have a reliable way to protect themselves and their customers’ data. “We identify those needs and address them in our messaging, and more importantly, we address them in our products,” Gorny explains, speaking about his fifth business venture, Sitelock, a website security solution protecting twelve million websites. Last month the company was sold to ABRY Partners for an undisclosed amount.
Nextiva, a cloud-based communication provider, is expected to see revenues of $125M this year. Just as SiteLock made website security available to businesses of all sizes, Nextiva is doing the same for business communication tools. Large corporations can develop custom communications systems that offer advantages often unavailable to smaller companies with fewer resources. Nextiva gives businesses of all sizes access to effective business communication software, a simple need all businesses have.
Marketing doesn’t end once a sale is made. The most effective marketing strategy is one that begins before the customer buys a product, but doesn’t end until well after the customer has made a purchase and is satisfied. Following through and enhancing a customer’s experience from start to finish is key because satisfied customers make the best ambassadors.
“Over time, marketing methods shift and evolve. Back in the old days, consumers may have made a decision to buy a product after seeing a single television advertisement. Today’s buyers spend time researching before making a decision, so they are willing to hear more messaging from brands. Our marketing is driven by the value proposition, products and customer experience,” says Gorny.
Success often boils down to just a few key factors. A deeper awareness of how your target market is changing, what matters most to buyers, and the need for after-market attention may not get you a $1B exit, but it could easily propel your business to the next level.
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