4 B2B Marketing Scenarios: One Size Does Not Fit All

Join #B2BChat on Twitter every Thursday at 8:00 PM EasternB2B marketing discussions on Twitter and blogs have a tendency to focus on singular topics, such as Twitter, marketing automation, or lead generation, as if they are right for everyone and we just need to do them well.

However, the people B2B marketers want to reach are ultimately trying to solve a challenge or embrace an opportunity based on their unique business.

Shouldn’t B2B marketing solutions be just as unique?

For a recent #B2Bchat discussion (#B2Bchat is an open discussion hosted on Twitter each week), we looked at four different scenarios, loosely pulled from the experiences or situations of #B2Bchat regulars.

All of the discussion and setup happened on Twitter, so the scenarios and responses are light by necessesity, yet they show a range of very specific possible solutions.

Scenario 1: Growing an Account Without Intros

You work with one division of a Fortune 50 company and are looking to grow the account into other divisions. Because of internal politics, introductions are not a possibility (hey, scenarios need a challenge).

How do you expand the relationship into other divisions?

Scenario: Expand Relationship Into New Divisions of an F50 Client. #B2Bchat Highlights

Highlights of Scenario 1 discussion from #B2Bchat on 5/24/2012. You sell promotional products. You work with one division of a F50. You cannot get an intro (it’s political, sorry, it just won’t happen). How do you grow the account into additional divisions?

Storified by Eric Wittlake · Wed, May 30 2012 01:24:49

A1. Promo company – drip campaign of customized product to the prospect? #b2bchatMaureen Blandford
#B2Bchat A1. Use social media (#in) to discover entries @ other divisions. Connect. Invite for best practices sharing session / event.Albert Smit
@MaureenB2B If the rules are that I can’t get intro’d, I would still do heavy reconn before strategizing. #b2bchatSandy Hubbard
A1. Targeted marketing program to other divisions highlighting support and success of current customer. #b2bchatCasey Carey
LinkedIn ads targeted on title/company and/or direct mail – high impact dimensional piece. #b2bchatCasey Carey
A1. Need a door opener, here are two possibilities: Targeted high touch campaign (treat like net new) or procurement ($ rollup). #b2bchatEric Wittlake
S1: Try to provide some value-adds to the other divisions, like a pilot program or sample project, so they can visualize the ROI #b2bchatLaura M. B. Ashley
S1. Also, go as high as possible to present how economies of scale can benefit broadly. #b2bchatLaura M. B. Ashley
S1: Connect on LinkedIn with buying team at 1st div…leverage their connections to correspond with other divisions #B2BchatDanny Hanssel

Scenario 2: Small Business Storage and Backup Solution

You sell a storage and backup solution for small businesses. Your product has a number of elements that differentiate it, but your buyers are relatively unsophisticated about the category and it is not a priority for them to learn more about it.

How do you drive demand for your product?

Scenario: IT Storage and Backup for Small Businesses. #B2Bchat Highlights

Highlights of Scenario 2 discussion from #B2Bchat on 5/24/2012. You sell a small biz storage/backup solution. It is a differentiated product, however it is sold to a busy and unsophisticated (in your category) buyer. The market is crowded. How do you create DEMAND for your product?

Storified by Eric Wittlake · Wed, May 30 2012 01:27:12

A2 If you are a small startup you prob don’t have big sales staff…make a big splash at national industry events #b2bchattraci browne
S2. Money back guarantee – if you don’t love it, send it back no ?s asked. @tracibrowne #b2bchatCasey Carey
S2. Messaging needs to create a sense of urgency around potential pain. #b2bchatCasey Carey
A2 in these situations, I rec clients lead w/sales messaging in client biz pain. That’s a differentiator for this type of account #b2bchatMaureen Blandford
A2. Busy buyer with other priorities: Really simple content on reducing risk and making choices. Respect their time. #B2BchatEric Wittlake
A2. Also consider trade in with quick start consult. Particularly if there is an ongoing rev stream. Remove Barriers! #b2bchatEric Wittlake
A2 zap power so they lose everything then knock on door ๐Ÿ˜‰ #b2bchattraci browne
S2. Hmmmm. The "unsophisticated buyer" part makes this one hard. Have to agree with the free trial suggestions. #b2bchatGerald Moczynski
Partner with trusted IT providers who will recommend the product, appreciate the solution, seamlessly implement. #b2bchat A2Lois Martin
A2 Prospect won’t give any time unless we are direct re how much better life will be post-rollout #b2bchatMaureen Blandford

Scenario 3: Creating a Completely New Category

You are a small startup that has created an entirely new type of offering. Your solution is delivering significant process improvements for large insurance companies. The entire category is unknown and addresses a pain point that has been accepted for so long that it is no longer acknowledged as an addressible pain.

How do you get high-level sales meetings?

Scenario: A Small Startup Creating a Completely New Category: #B2Bchat Highlights

Highlights of Scenario 3 discussion from #B2Bchat on 5/24/2012. You are a small startup that has created a new software category that improves processes in big insurance companies. Results are incredible for the few adopters, but entire category is unknown. How do you get high-level meetings?

Storified by Eric Wittlake · Wed, May 30 2012 01:29:14

A3. I’m a big fan of figuring out where decison-makers gather in relaxed atmoshphere. It’s worth paying for that access. #b2bchatGerald Moczynski
Host a seminar for continuing education credit, required of all insurance professionals to retain their licenses each year. #b2bchat A3Lois Martin
At the CE seminar you will have the opportunity to network with all pros within agencies and promote your SW #b2bchat A3Lois Martin
A3# If its a broker product start w/their top agencies create a internal demand/req #b2bchatMediaCollective
#B2Bchat #b2b A3 create the right Advisory Board. use their high level network to get started.Albert Smit
A3. Establish 3rd-party credibility with charter customers incented to act as advocates and thought leaders. #b2bchatCasey Carey
A3 If there are already great results, LEAD w/that in all verbal/written messaging. "Your peers are seeing…" #b2bchatMaureen Blandford
S3: Identify CEO,CFO,CIO at top target firms and engage at conferences, shows and online. Send prof. teaser emails to get attention #b2bchatDanny Hanssel
A3. Prime PR opportunity!! You should be the news of the industry. Media roadshow, openhouse, get press! #b2bchatEric Wittlake
S3. Fund "thought leadership paper" with key industry analyst to define problem, opportunity, solution of new category. Mkt madly. #b2bchatCasey Carey
A3 webinars are good for frictionless/demo’s but make sure to add in value vs. straight pitch solve a problem = open ears #b2bchatMediaCollective
And persistence!! @MaureenB2B: Anyone noticing how many of these scenarios require smart thinking and a lot of 1:1 connecting? #b2bchatLaura M. B. Ashley

Scenario 4: Expanding from IT to Business Offerings

You are a company historically known for IT hardware and are a respected supplier of increasingly commoditized products for the IT organization. You are expanding into managed services and addressing business pain points and need to begin selling directly to senior business executives (some solutions may even be threatening to your historical IT audience).

How do you drive sales of your new higher price point and more profitable services to a new business audience?

Scenario: IT Firm Moving to Managed Services. #B2Bchat Highlights

Highlights of Scenario 4 discussion from #B2Bchat on 5/24/2012. You are a IT hardware provider, adding managed services. You are well known at the IT Director level but need to sell to Executive level. How do you drive sales of new, more profitable managed service and consultative offerings?

Storified by Eric Wittlake · Wed, May 30 2012 01:13:19

A4. Read the news!! Many tech firms re-orging–try to catch the C-level when they are thinking about how to restructure. #b2bchatLaura M. B. Ashley
S4: Enlist IT Dir -.make him/her a hero w/bosses when he delivers proposal w/charter customer incentives,e.g. cover transition exp! #b2bchatDanny Hanssel
@dannyhanssel S4 I agree w/Danny. If we’re not obvi, we can help scared prospects behave more strategically internally. #b2bchatMaureen Blandford
A4. Offer "Assessments or Audits" to establish domain expertise & identify services opportunities; free or discnt’d #b2bchatCasey Carey
A4. A maturity model is always a nice way to provide a services assessment and framework for opportunities. #b2bchatCasey Carey
S4 is hard #b2bchattraci browne
Message should center on predictable, stable network and predictable, stable spend. #b2bchat A4Lois Martin
A4. (1) PR: Your big recognized biz, throw your weight around and get coverage of new position.Eric Wittlake
A4. (2) Develop a transition program with credit for HW biz is bringing into the new MS relationship. #b2bchatEric Wittlake
A4. (3) (the hard part) Move messaging away from product. Solve exec pain point, not IT dir pain. My #2 gives you cost-advantage #b2bchatEric Wittlake
@wittlake Yes, and some IT Directors may have some knowledge of the C-execs’ pain points. Someone earlier suggested an Advisory Bd. #b2bchatGerald Moczynski

Best practices and guidelines can be valuable perspective, but these examples are a useful reminder that the real difference maker is when you identfy the opportunities that are uniquely right for your business.

Your Turn

Do you also see the one size fits all discussion of specific solutions in blogs and on Twitter? If so, how valuable are these recommendations, and how could they be made more valuable to you?

Share your views in the comments below or with me on Twitter (@wittlake).

Interested in #B2Bchat? Join the discussion on Twitter every Thursday at 8:00 PM New York time using the #b2Bchat hashtag and follow @b2b_chat for an announcement of each week’s topic.

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