If you run a business or are responsible for business development or business growth, you probably have a healthy respect for marketing that works. No doubt an equal amount of disdain for marketing done poorly. Enter the b2b Marketing Strategy.
Results achieved through marketing that is rooted in strategy:
- Becoming well-known among your chosen Target Market <LINK TO Article with the Same Name>
- Obtaining visibility for your business in the places your target market already resides
- Generating quality leads – <LINK TO B2B Lead Gen for beginners>
- Supporting those leads in becoming sales
- Allowing you to raise your prices
- Expanding into new markets
If you’re curious as to what a solid b2b Marketing Strategy consists of including its appearance, what it may sound like, where it originates from and how it systematically unfolds to support the commercials of a business, here is an explanation of everything you need to know about b2b marketing strategy below.
B2B Marketing Strategy: What is it?
A b2b marketing strategy is a documented, detailed plan focusing at high-level on how the marketing function will help your business reach its commercial goals. Usually, marketing strategies cover 12 months, with milestones set out each quarter.
Usually you include the greatest level of detail in the immediate 90-days. The following 90-days has up to 75% detail. The remaining two quarters are 25% complete until you are halfway through your second 90-day cycle.
It is anchored in commercial goals. The commercial goals of a business will, at minimum, span revenue, business growth and brand/reputation.
The natural side effect of your b2b marketing strategy directly correlating with the commercial goals of your business is that it brings focus to all of your marketing activity. You will really only have maximum 3 viable options to choose from if you tie marketing to commercials. If you are not tying marketing to commercials, then you can have up to 3 dozen choices – thus decreasing your chance for viable success.
The only strategy that we have found to work effectively is one that causes your target market to feel your communication is hyper-relevant to them, and which delivers a call to action that directly supports the top, middle and bottom of your sales funnel.
If the commercial goal for your business is to bring in €500k in new revenue over the next 12-months, then the b2b marketing strategy will focus on the best possible path to realise €500k in new business.
By considering your target market, product positioning, when to be seen, what to be seen with, and a call-to-action that directly supports the top, middle and bottom of your sales funnel, the marketing function gets to realise an ROI that is commercially sound.
What is marketing when you’re a Small/Medium Business?
Marketing does not mean jingles, cool videos and/or PR stunts.
For a small/medium business, marketing is an investment of time, budget and resources to realise a commercial goal.
A good rule of thumb when resolving how much marketing budget to invest is to consider 10% of your total new revenue targets for the next 12-months, warrants 10% invested in the same 12-month period.
100,000 in new revenue would require a budget of 10k over same 12-month period.
We determine whether an investment in marketing was worthwhile based on the results it generates as they relate to the commercial goals. To ensure the best possible return from marketing, marketing must bring complete focus to the best possible approach to realising the commercial goals.
For smaller marketing teams, we have found that focusing on one target market over a period of 16 weeks to generate commercial results has proven to be 80% more effective than casting a wide net. Selecting one target market allows you to bring focus and a marketing communication that your audience deems relevant.
What goes into your b2b Marketing Strategy?
The strategy exists to define the following:
1. Business Intention
Clearly define the business intention 3 years out for the business and the business leader(s). An intention is a sentence or three. It is used to put a flag in the ground that the business will use as its true north.
3 years from now, TABTF will be the go-to firm for b2b businesses who want marketing solutions that move their business inside 16 weeks, using the tools available in our ecommerce shop and/or short term consultancy support.
3 years from now, Shannon Eastman will be known for a suite of b2b marketing solutions that create tangible results for a business inside 16 weeks.
2. Commercial Targets
Clearly articulate the sustainable and profitable target 12-months out for the business, using calculations based on real revenue targets.
Determining a sustainable target is key here, and with a little bit of thought, you can come up with one that is well-grounded.
Consider a revenue target that you would like to reach within the next year. In our world, 10% of that target is the budget that will go toward the marketing that achieves it. If your goal is to achieve €500,000 in new revenue in the next 12 months, then expect that a spend of €50,000 on marketing is needed.
Does the idea of spend that much leave you floored? Then €500k is probably not a sustainable target for you. The amount of marketing spend should feel congruent.
Once you’ve determined your revenue target, TABTF uses a set of calculations based on that to determine the best possible course of action for marketing to take.
Here’s how we do it:
X new clients at Y average transactional value = your total revenue
For example, if you want to generate €100,000 in new revenue over the next 12 months, this would be unpacked into the total number of clients, multiplied by the average transactional value of a business product/service for a particular target market.
So, €100,000 in revenue = 10 sales (new clients) @ €10k each
(and your marketing budget will need to be
Enter the 1:20 ratio.
We’ve been doing this for a while. Long enough for us to learn that for every 20 perfect-for-you prospects you appear in front of, one will buy your product/service.
If we want 10 sales, then as a Marketing Director, I know that we will need to get in front of 200 perfect-for-us prospects over 16-consecutive weeks to generate 20 qualified sales leads, of which 10 will become sales. Each of these 200 prospects needs to receive 3 to 6 meaningful touchpoints over 16 weeks. So we don’t need to appear everywhere, we just need to be where our 200 prospects are.
We can easily take this formula, and adapt it to fit your specific situation:
€600,000 in new revenue, with an average sales price of €150k would warrant 4 new clients.
4 new clients would require a total list of 80 perfect-for-you clients.
What has the commercial target told us about our marketing? The minimum size and scale of our marketing strategy.
This is where a brilliant marketing strategy starts.
Marketing strategy also exists to define what evidence will exist to prove the targets are being realised 6-months into the 12-month initiative. We want to create a clear trajectory between where we are today and where we want to be in 12-months time.
So 6 months from now, what is showing up in the business to prove the 12-month targets are being realised?
We define this evidence as:
a) Total number of engaged prospects. If we use our original example, then we want 200 prospects, who each have experienced a minimum of 3, ideally 6 meaningful touch points inside a marketing campaign by week 16.
b) Sales realised 6-months from now. If we want 10 sales in 12 months, do we have 4 in 6-months?
c) Is our sales funnel working like a machine by month 6? Iterated into momentum?
d) Do we have all of our marketing collateral in place? Marketing collateral is all about the buyer(s). It typically educates and inspires.
e) Have we gotten all of our sales collateral in place? Sales Collateral is all about the product/service you’re selling.
f) Have we published any articles, online of offline, where are target market visits/sees/reads?
g) Or hosted an event specifically designed for our target market?
4. The gap between where you are, and where you’re headed
Take stock of exactly what you have today, what you’re missing, and the gap you will bridge over the next 90-days. In our experience, it takes 4 weeks to set the foundation (with strategy and tools), and 12 weeks to execute a marketing campaign.
The marketing checklist for getting started looks like this:
- Business Intention clearly defined
- Marketing Strategy approved
- Market Research completed for the chosen target market. The insights from this will inform more than 80% of your marketing efforts.
- The database of those perfect-for-you-prospects has been built
- Brand is perfectly aligned with your audience. You might need a brand refresh including a new logo, tag line, etc.
- Sales Funnel
- Website is upgraded to work as the backbone of your sales funnel
- Marketing Collateral prepared based on your target market
- Sales Collateral that positions, packages your product/service
- Social Media Skins that your Target Market care about are in place
- Media and supporting content prepared
- Content Plan
- Marketing Campaign (or a TABTF Minimum Viable Campaign)
Of this checklist, how much is done now, needs to be done and will get done later?
Finally, your b2b marketing strategy will map out what’s needed to move your business from where it is right now, to where you want to be in 6 months and then 12 months time. This portion covers specifics like target market, communication channels, website, sales funnel, campaigns and more.
We know where we are going, and what marketing needs to support. We know where we are right now, what’s missing, and what the priorities are to complete our checklist.
Mapping this list of actions over the next 90-days will ensure you take your strategy from the boardroom into real life.
When your b2b Marketing Strategy is anchored in your commercial goals, your marketing efforts can bring about tangible results within 16 weeks.
An effective b2b Marketing Strategy defines: Business intention, commercial targets (which inform the size and scale of your marketing), evidence across quarters that indicate your efforts are successful, what’s needed to get started, and an action list to make your strategy a reality.
Clearly defining a b2b marketing strategy is how the marketing functions gets to realise an ROI that is commercially sound.