How to differentiate your B2B company…
As a competitor in the business-to-business (B2B) world, you already have a leg up from your typical consumer-based business. B2B entrepreneurs provide products, services and solutions that keep other businesses afloat — and that puts you in an extremely valuable role. So how do you make sure you become a preferred vendor and set yourself about from the competition?
As Business News Daily describes it, “B2B companies are supportive enterprises that offer the things other businesses need to operate and grow.” You are an essential piece of the puzzle, but your industry is likely packed with copycats and similar organizations.
Here are a few ways to differentiate yourself from to convince more prospective clients that you are the right partner for their business:
Conduct a competitive analysis
Research your competitor’s strategies, strengths and weaknesses in comparison to your own. Then identify your gaps and clearly outline ways to improve. One great resource for this research is social media. Browse through competitor social networks and make a list of the keywords they use, hashtags, top followers, amount of activity and quality of engagement they receive from the same type of audience as your own.
Tools that may help you in this research stage include Hootsuite, Brandwatch, and Unmetric. And one you’re likely already quite familiar with is LinkedIn, which you can use in sleuthy ways to uncover clues and solve the mysteries of how your competition engages with their customers and prospects.
Create a top-notch website
In B2B sales, your website isn’t the only way you generate traffic, interest and revenue, but it is often the starting point and launching pad. There are several website must-haves to keep in mind. For one, determine the purpose of your website, such as generating leads and downloads or educating clients about your services.
Next, be sure your website messaging reflects that main goal. Provide meaningful (and relevant) content, follow along with an editorial calendar to stay active, and provide a consistent design. To do this effectively, find talent who can help you assemble a website that suits your business’ many needs, whether it’s someone to help streamline your site for mobile devices or a graphic designer to establish your brand with logos and graphics.
Improve your customer experience
Customer experience in B2B can often mean dealing with many people in one company, from front-line staff right up to the CEO. And put simply: The B2B buyers often hold the power.
Forbes contributor Blake Morgan explains that “the space is getting more competitive, so if a customer isn’t happy with the service they are receiving, they can take their business elsewhere.” Your ultimate goal is to get the customer to choose to do business with you. Take time to understand your target market as well as their own needs and goals so that you can create a personalized experience.
More and more B2B businesses are turning to technology as well to meet customer needs, such as help desk software, live chat and CRM software. These tools help resolve customer issues faster, provide a constant source of contact, and show your commitment to helping the customer meet or even exceed their goals.
Improve your public relations
Landing a sale isn’t as simple as making a single phone call. You have to go through various touchpoints and business contacts before a buying decision is made. In fact, most prospective businesses have entire teams of employees whose input ultimately goes into the final buying decision, so you could have an uphill battle.
A good way to reach such a large group is with public relations. You can accomplish this by being featured in a media venue that your target customers will see. Contact the managing editor and give them your best pitch.
Other ways to get your name and expertise out there are even simpler. As a starting point, it’s good to post regular blog articles formatted for SEO, publish press releases on your website, or even offering your insight on a new trend, product or service via a comment or post on industry websites, forums and LinkedIn groups.
Setting yourself up as a strong competitor is important if you want your business to succeed. While the B2B sector is unique, differentiating your business is achievable. It will take some hard work and dedication, but with patience and diligence, you’ll get your business where you want it to be.