There’s 3 major, non-negotiable stages that your B2B marketing strategy should progress through.
It’s the first 3 BEs of our 5 BEs Framework.
(For those of you who are new around here, our 5 BEs Framework is our Framework for building a B2B marketing program that consistently drives revenue for your business.)
The 3 major stages are:
- Be Ready – deeply understanding your customers
- Be Helpful – building relationships at scale
- Be Seen – amplifying your helpful content and narrowing your focus with ABM
These are the non-negotiables that underpin every solid, customer focussed B2B marketing strategy. Before we give you more detail on each of these 3 stages, let’s look at why they should be a core part of your marketing strategy.
Why Our 3 Major Stages Are Essential
B2B marketing is fundamentally about building trust. The reason that trust is so important is because when you’re asking someone to buy your product, you’re actually asking them to take a risk.
Let me explain.
Most people can just do their jobs in their 9-5, keep the status quo the and have the career progression of the person before them. When you ask someone to buy your solution with the promise of making their life better, that person then often has to convince a few key stakeholders in their company that they need your solution. They’ll likely also have to present a strong business case for doing so. The risk in advocating for your product is – well – what if it doesn’t work as you’ve promised?
That’s something that can make someone look silly to their colleagues, or even worse be addressed in a performance review.
The only way to reassure someone that you won’t let them down is to build trust with them. So that’s why your B2B marketing strategy needs to be based on building trust with your dream customers, not ‘hacks’ and ‘tricks’ on platforms.
Now let’s go through each of the 3 stages:
Stage 1 – Be Ready – Deeply Understand Your Customers
If you’re going to build trust with your Dream Customers, you have to first deeply understand them. Only once you deeply understand them will you know exactly what their pain points are and how you can best help solve those pain points.
We recommend marketers start with an 80/20 analysis of to find their ‘best’ customers. These are the customers that fit your business like a glove. It often reveals a segment of customers that share firmographic, demographic and psychographic qualities that help make them your Dream Customers.
After that, we need to understand their pain points, motivations, KPIs, sources of influence, buying journey, and more. This is called an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). It’s where you detail the firmographic, demographic and psychographic qualities of your Dream Customers. We recommend compiling this information on each member of the buying committee within your ICP. The best way to collect this information is to conduct a series of 1:1 interviews with your best customers.
From your customer interviews, you should also have insights that allow you to position your solution to highlight your competitive advantage in the eyes of your Dream Customers. You then want to roll this positioning out with messaging to all your customer facing assets to communicate it (things like your landing pages, social profiles, marketing collateral etc.).
The final stage in ‘Be Ready’ is mapping the buying journey, and listing your Dream 100. The Dream 100 is not a list of your top 100 Dream Clients – it’s a list of places that your Dream Customers are already gathering. Now you know where they’re hanging out so you can help them with their pain points.
Stage 2 – Be Helpful – Build Relationships At Scale
Stage 2 is about how to start building relationships with your Dream Customers with the mindset of ‘being helpful’. Being helpful means helping solve the pain points of your Dream Customers with helpful and educational content programs.
Many businesses fall short at this stage because they don’t know how to create content programs that:
- Are truly helpful
- Scale with small teams
- Are determined to be ‘successful’ enough to justify further investment
We have created a content repurposing framework that enables small B2B teams (even teams of 1) to create seriously impressive and helpful content programs. We share exactly how we create 1 podcast, 12 LinkedIn posts, 1 article and 1 newsletter in just 4.5 hours a week on Episode 24 of The B2B Playbook podcast.
We also measure both leading and lagging indicators to help determine the success of our helpful content programs. If you love listening, check out the episode where we share the metrics that you should be measuring and reporting on.
Stage 3 – Be Seen – Amplify Helpful Content & Narrow Focus With ABM
Once you’ve done the hard work in stages 1 and 2, stage 3 becomes a LOT easier. Stage 3 (Be Seen) is about amplifying your most helpful, educational content with paid media.
So that means using platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Tiktok – or wherever it is that your Dream Customers hang out, and pushing your best content to the buying committee of the key accounts. This guarantees the delivery of your helpful content, and accelerates the trust and relationship building process.
You can also use paid media to educate on the benefits (and *shock* even sometimes features) of your product. The easiest way to approach this is to create content for each of the 5 Stages of Awareness, and use paid media to push this to the buying committee of target accounts.
Kevin and I detail the 5 Stages of Awareness and how you can create content for each in Episode 28 of The B2B Playbook Podcast.
We also encourage marketers at Stage 3 to test a pilot Account Based Marketing program. Account Based Marketing (ABM) is where you select a handful of accounts based on your ICP, and create custom content, experiences, and work in tandem with sales to win them over as clients. Even if your sell a product with a low ARR that doesn’t justify the time spent on wining over each account, the mindset of tailoring your marketing and experiences to a segment can still make your marketing far more effective.
Kevin and I ran a mini-ABM series on The B2B Playbook. Catch our introductory episode here.
These 3 Pillars Are Helping Us Create Demand
These 3 stages may seem simple, but so few marketers work through them properly. That’s why:
- Their Google Ads and Facebook campaigns never scale
- Most businesses have little overarching marketing strategy
- There is confusion about who their ‘Dream Customers’ are
- There is a lack of alignment between sales and marketing
This strategy puts your customers at the heart of your business. That lets you build it on people, not platforms. It’s what helps you build affinity for your brand, and actually stimulate a desire for it. No longer are you just competing in the market of the 3% of people who are in ‘buy mode’ right now, but you’re actively creating demand amongst the other 97%.
That’s how you scale and how marketing can consistently contribute revenue to the business.
Strategy, Templates & Tools To Drive More Revenue With Marketing
Our 5 BEs Framework teaches b2b marketers exactly how to drive more revenue with your marketing.
We share our Framework step-by-step every week on The B2B Playbook.
There’s 3 ways you can learn and implement it in your own business:
(P.S. The B2B Incubator gives you strategy, templates and tools you need to implement this in your business over 12 weeks. Click here to find out more or apply now).
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