Digital Market Success for B2B and High Tech

What is Business-to-Business (B2B)?

Wikipedia's B2B definition defines B2B business by its customer structure: "Business-to-business is generally used for business relations between at least two companies - as opposed to relations between companies and other groups, such as consumers (business-to-consumer), i.e. private individuals as customers".

This definition alone shows that a B2B company must think from the customer's point of view. B2B (or BtoB) means business with products and services between different companies. But B2B business goes even further. Business-to-business includes business with smaller B2B customers as well as self-employed persons, freelancers and people with a sideline.

B2B vs B2C - Where are the differences?

The differences between the business models in B2B vs. B2C (consumer goods business) are first of all the products. Capital goods, such as machines or technologies, represent complex product solutions that often have high investment budgets and long usage periods.

However, it is often not the product perspective that is decisive for securing market success, but the customer's view in the B2B sector. In many B2B companies the modern customer thinking in buyer personas has already established itself. Furthermore, work in B2B marketing and B2B sales is not only focused on individual target persons in the customer company, but on all members of the customer's decision-making body (buying center). The processing of B2B customers places very high and often industry-specific demands on marketing in marketing and sales.

B2B Marketing and B2B Sales - An unbeatable team

B2B marketing in the digital era - what's new? 

In business-to-business, customer orientation, entrepreneurial foresight and the courage to change and transform established business models are crucial. Insbesondere der Mittelstand hat sich in den vergangenen Jahrzehnten einen Weltruf als Innovations- und Kompetenzführer erarbeitet. Die Hidden Champions der Weltmarktführer im Mittelstand finden sich heute in High-Tech, Maschinen- und Anlagenbau, Energie- und Medizintechnologie, Optik und vielen anderen Bereichen.

But are the traditional strengths of B2B companies sufficient to maintain and expand their leading position even in the age of digital transformation? New, additional strengths are in demand. The change in the digital era does not come from new technologies, but from customers. More than ever before, B2B customers determine which manufacturer they want to contact and when. This requires new, digital B2B marketing with strong B2B sales.

B2B companies who want to expand their technological leadership position themselves in the market and with their customers as thought leaders, i.e. as the leading authority in the market and as the partner who is interested in real solutions to problems. With thought leadership, you consolidate your technological edge as a thought leader and opinion leader for your customers.

B2B strategy - How will your business remain future-proof?

The digital era poses great challenges for business-to-business. The purchasing behavior of your B2B customers is becoming increasingly digital. Digital transformation can also fundamentally change your B2B business. Control and use the big changes of our time for your growth.

Align your business model and your customer business in B2B marketing and B2B sales with long-term growth and future security. Examine potential threats to your business model as disruptive innovations can sweep away traditionally successful products and distribution channels in just a few years.

B2B business for Thought Leadership

Thought leadership plays a major role in the marketing of products, technologies or software solutions that require explanation. Customers are interested in backgrounds, application areas, and features. Manufacturers speak with pride and dedication about these topics.

Nevertheless, it is often not the provider with the better technology who wins, but the one with the higher relevance, market standing, and authority. Who wants to take the risk of using a product that is technically superior but for which there are hardly any reviews, user reports or recommendations?

It is not the objective technology that decides, but its perception by the customer.

With B2B Marketing to Thought Leadership

B2B marketing should always aim to give your company an unassailable competitive edge. If you make your B2B Marketing fit, then you start with the customer understanding of your B2B business. B2B customers are not a homogeneous mass. Every B2B company addresses different types of B2B customers with different goals, challenges, and motivations. Central questions of your B2B marketing are:

  • What are the expectations and the different experience horizons of the individual customer segments or buyer personas?
  • Who makes the customer's decision - so what do the buyer persona profiles of the decision-maker, buyer or user look like?
  • How do the communication and decision-making processes between these members of the decision-making body (buying center) work?
  • Where and how do these target groups obtain information?
  • Who are the key influencers who shape the opinions and attitudes of the various Buying Center members?

In a thought leadership campaign, a manufacturer's B2B marketing and B2B sales work closely together. Together, they define the concepts and communication channels depending on the buyer persona, customer industry, and competitive environment.

Thinking along the classic innovation cycle is particularly important for B2B marketing and B2B sales when it comes to marketing innovations. Your potential customers can have different attitudes towards the acceptance of innovative products and services.

  • Technology-loving enthusiasts, for example, are the first to accept innovation and report on it in their community. They often speak their own language and have their own thought leaders.
  • Later target groups, on the other hand, are not interested in the new technical solution per se, but only in its advantages for them personally. Conservative customers, for example, usually have completely pragmatic needs and only pay attention to the practical or economic advantage of a new product over the products currently in use.

Thought Leaders master the customer approach for every buyer persona (e.g. decision maker, buyer) in B2B companies in every phase of the innovation cycle. With thought leadership, B2B companies even win over enthusiasts and visionaries in a young innovation market to enthuse the more traditional target groups, such as pragmatists and conservatives, for their new offering. Thought leaders in B2B marketing and B2B sales are actively supported by their enthusiastic customers with recommendations and references.

Therefore, thought leadership should be an important component of the go-to-market strategy of any B2B company that wants to implement innovative product solutions quickly and successfully in the market. Whether IT business, high-tech world or online business. The rules of the game and success potential of thought leadership can be tapped in any innovative market.

B2B Marketing Software - The Key to Customer Success

Why should you rely on B2B marketing software? The B2B buying process has changed, and most B2B goods and services are purchased on the internet.  Traditional B2B marketing relied solely on winning customers at trade fairs, events or with advertising. Although digital B2B marketing also uses these techniques, it also relies on B2B marketing software to use an integrated software solution for marketing and sales to specifically address new customers on the internet where they are looking for information and advice to support their purchases.

B2B marketing software (or inbound marketing software) starts where traditional CRM systems stop. With software such as Marketo, Oracle Eloqua, Salesforce Pardot or Hubspot and Act-On, you can establish automated control of customer dialog across all channels of customer communication. With such a B2B marketing software you win new prospective customers on the internet and in Social Media. This professional B2B lead generation becomes the very basis of existence for B2B sales in many industries. B2B lead generation builds up new and direct ways of winning prospective customers in addition to personal sales using your B2B marketing software.

In addition, you can use the marketing automation functionalities of this software to further your purchase decision process with the leads you have won through email address chains and consulting offers (Lead Nurturing). You can also support ongoing customer relationships with B2B marketing software by offering useful content again and again (e.g. with integrated email marketing), thereby bringing customers back to your website again and again and making offers for follow-up purchases or additional services there.