The industry term for this is "relationship marketing". Many professional service firms don't have a marketing department - they call this type of marketing "a hand shake" or "face time". The challenge of course is that building and sustaining that much interaction with all of your clients and prospects can be too time consuming. Technology can help, and it can be done in a genuinely personal way.
B2B strategies that can implement personalization and segmentation properly will amplify and enhance a more traditional approach. In the B2B world, "digital" is typically perceived as impersonal and inappropriate for a business that relies on human understanding and a relationship-focused sales approach. Additionally, the audience is already relatively small and segmenting may seem unnecessary. But, imagine your digital communications being used to reinforce what is being said during those one on one sales conversations that are happening.
At Flywheel, we know first-hand that B2B sales cycles are long. It can take months (and sometimes years) to nurture a lead and close a deal. The relationship throughout that time is particularly precious. It is important for you to be tuned to the unique needs, interests and business objectives of one company and the small group of decision makers that are involved in your deal. Layering in a digital component to this process can help ensure that contact is being made regularly. Insightful and creative content shows your client the value you bring.
B2B Sales cycles are also prone to ebb and flow as seasons, budgets and priorities change. It is remarkable how quickly a hot opportunity can sometimes cool off or disappear altogether (and vice versa). Knowing when to place that check-in phone call or fire off a friendly email is a guessing game. But, a clever, sustained content plan and digital outreach strategy can be extremely effective in making sure that when your clients priorities shift again, you are always top of mind.
A common hurdle when advancing your digital marketing is choosing the right tools. That learning curve alone can be enough to stop the process altogether. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Given how ubiquitous digital marketing is, there are very simple and easy to use tools that can get you going very quickly with tactics like segmentation and personalization. And, if the tools you are using are complicating the process then it's time to talk about finding a better option. The technology you use needs to get out of the way and let you focus on content.
Using consumer marketing as the comparison again, those marketing efforts put a large emphasis on design and being emotive. The thing you're buying will improve your life because it looks good, feels good and works well. There's lot of emotion that is built into consumer storytelling. B2B marketing is often guilty of ignoring everyone's inherent emotional responses. Ever been told you lost a job because your competitor just "seemed like a better fit?" No matter what, your clients aren't going to exclusively evaluate the cost/benefit of your offering. The intangible part is how your client reacts emotionally to what you are selling. Emphasis on perfecting the design and story you tell can provide tremendous value.