Business-to-business marketing can be a tricky thing to conquer. Odds are, as you are trying to grow your MSP, you are making at least one of these B2B marketing mistakes.
1. B2B marketing is a misleading categorization.
Businesses don’t buy anything. PEOPLE in businesses buy things – and they buy their IT services (and anything else business-related) the same way they buy everything. They have the same emotional needs, motives, desires, and hot buttons. The guy who’s cheap about IT services is going to be cheap about other things too. The woman who buys first-class will buy everything first-class. Therefore, you are foolish to think that because you’re selling to “businesses,” you need to change your “tone,” images, messaging, etc. Which brings me to the next point…
2. The greatest mistake “business-to-business” marketers make is being FAR TOO BORING.
The word they like to use: “professional.” They think because they’re selling to businesses, they need to be more reserved. More conservative. More “middle of the road.” Don’t do anything too silly or outlandish. Be clever or cute but keep it within the rails of PROFESSIONALISM. They fear criticism and want to mimic the likes of Microsoft or IBM. Guess what? You’re not Microsoft or IBM, so who’s kidding who? Their ads don’t exist to sell anything. Their ads exist to keep investors happy and generate general “awareness” for stockholders. You, as a small business owner, can’t afford to play that game.
I’m often told that the marketing campaigns I create are improper because they are selling to a “sophisticated” buyer. Nuts. I’ve met a LOT of CEOs, and when you get beyond their facade, most of them have the maturity and impulses of a five-year-old. I don’t mean that in a derogatory way, but simply to point out that people are people. CEOs buy with PERSONAL interest in mind – how will this make me look? Does this make me look smarter? Larger than life? Will this make my competition jealous? My brother-in-law envious? If you’re selling to an IT leader, you can bet your bottom dollar they are not as interested in helping the company as they are in keeping their job. They have PERSONAL motives for making decisions and can be swayed by jealously, greed, or fear of looking foolish, too late, too slow, or ignorant.
3. Stop thinking it’s ALL based on price.
Another stupid assumption made by MSPs is that everyone buys on price. As a buyer of IT services who spends over $12,000 a month, I can assure you it is NOT…and I’m not the “oddball” on this. Serious entrepreneurs are investors. We invest in people, technology, marketing, tools, buildings, and other assets. Only a VERY small percentage of prospects make their decisions based solely on price. Almost everyone has a complex matrix of considerations for choosing one provider over another. Still, if you allow yourself to believe most choices are price-driven, it will focus your energy and attention on the WRONG things. This will cause you to completely miss the mark with those buyers who don’t have the “cheapest price” as the first, second, or even third consideration when making that choice.
Never forget, ALL great marketing is based on constructing a relevant, interesting, and VALUABLE offer that your prospect finds irresistible…then establishing trust and “safety” for the prospect to move ahead. In doing so, any and every tactic you can use to sell soap to housewives can be used to sell what you sell. So don’t overlook that toolset.