Marketing

Basic B2B Training for Your Marketing Team

New marketing talent on your B2B team? Make sure they understand the unique nuances of B2B marketing and sales.

Business to business (B2B) is a huge segment in the marketing world. As you add members to your team, some will have previous experience navigating that world. Others are more familiar with business to consumer (B2C) marketing and interested in making the jump to B2B. What can a marketing director focus on to help new talent get up to speed and make the maximum contribution to their team?

Explore sales cycles: B2B has a completely different sales cycle than the B2C world. Often, sales processes can take weeks or months. They may involve multiple meetings, different types of documentation, and levels of engagement that are rarely seen in other areas. Explore the customer journey for B2B overall—and your product or service in particular. Outline the typical sales process, and also offer examples of where the sales cycle took longer or was atypically fast.

Understand the dynamics of multiple purchasers: When a consumer decides to buy a product or service, it’s an individual decision. Does he or she need the object? Can he or she afford it? Does it offer what he or she is looking for? In B2B, there are often multiple decision-makers who represent different interests. A software purchase might involve IT, finance, and end users. Each aspect of the sale must address different types of considerations, from ROI to the ease of use. Help your marketers understand how different campaigns may speak to multiple stakeholders.

Dive into the reseller ecosystem: Rarely are B2B sales strictly direct to customer. Many organizations work through resellers, vendors, partners, and other complicated relationships to reach into the market and widely distribute their products and services. For those outside B2B, this web of relationships can be confusing. Explore how your firm partners with other players to reach customers and what role those organizations play in marketing.

Trade shows and networking: Few industries have as robust an event scene as B2B. If your marketing hire hasn’t attended a trade show, outline the shows and conferences you participate in each year. Make sure he or she understands event goals, audiences, and what you’re doing there. Whether you’re speaking for thought leadership or selling on the trading floor, it’s helpful to understand how trade events fit into your marketing process.

Marketers from outside B2B can bring fresh perspective, energy, and ideas to the table. Set them up for success by introducing them to some of the unique nuances of the B2B world. Start broadly, and then help them acclimate more quickly by focusing on the individual needs of your organization.