Customer-Centric B2B Marketing

By Bob Hennessey

B2B Marketing Sales Lead Secret

Customer-centric B2B marketing is the best-kept secret to selling consultative products or services. Before we explore what makes customer-centric B2B marketing the choice for small business B2B marketing, we first need to understand what most companies use as their marketing approach.

Where does marketing originate?

Most of our marketing methods come from large corporations selling their products or services to consumers. This marketing method is called B2C, or business-to-consumer marketing.

Ninety-nine percent of all companies and individuals market their products and services based on B2C marketing. Why, because we are exposed to it every day, and then we mimic it and apply it to every marketing situation rightly or wrongly.

The marketing approach that big corporations employ in selling to consumers is capabilities and capacities. They say we have this ability or this capacity to _________, fill in the blank. What does this mean? It means that most people can’t wait to tell you what they can do for you. Even though they don’t care what it is you need, they just want you to buy what they are selling.

Most business-to-business marketing and selling approaches are also, either capability/capacity or a derivative called information selling. This approach is let me educate on why you should buy from me. I am smart, and I know what you need, that’s why I know best, and you should, therefore, buy from me. Unfortunately, neither of these approaches comes close to addressing why someone buys from one person versus another, relationship.

Businesses do not want to buy based on what you have to sell no matter what your features/benefits, or even because it’s on sale. Fooling them into buying something they don’t want or need may result in a one-off sale, but does not create a customer.

You may be creating barriers to sales if:

  • Potential clients do not respond to your marketing because it all sounds, looks and says the same thing.

  • People avoid meeting with you because they do not want to “be sold” anything.

  • Prospects lack trust because they are tired of salespeople who will say or do anything to obtain a sale.

  • Prospective clients take a defensive posture because they don’t want to be hustled into purchasing unneeded or unwanted products/services.
Long-term, loyal customers buy based on the power of the relationship you forge or don’t forge with them. Things like creditability, trust, integrity, and putting your client first are essential.

Reduce Cost & Increase Your Customer Base

Customer-centric marketing is as its name says; centers on the needs and wants of the customer, and not about what the person who is doing the selling wants you to buy.

It recognizes the sale is the natural result of creating a solid relationship built on listening and problem solving, not forcing someone to buy. It begins with building customer rapport and ends with a lasting business relationship that generates continuing sales.

Customer-Centric B2B Marketing-Create Relationship Sales

  1. Ask probing questions to understand the real problems of your prospect.

  2. Seek to gain insight into all the concerns of your potential customer, explicit and implied.

  3. Focus solely on building a well-satisfied customer and a mutually beneficial relationship will follow.

  4. Never ask for the order. Successful selling is the natural result of a relationship built on listening, caring and problem solving. Prospects ask you to help them.

  5. Don’t fixate on overcoming objections, avoid objections in the first place. Trying to overcome objections often leads to arguments & lost sales opportunities.

  6. Customer acquisition begins with building rapport and ends with a lasting business relationship.

People often confuse the method used to deliver a marketing message with a type of marketing. Many people equate telemarketing, direct mail, magazines, newsletters, email, and Web sites as marketing. These are not marketing approaches they are delivery methods used to distribute marketing messages.

The key to successful B2B marketing is not about how you deliver the marketing message; it is all about the marketing message you deliver, to the right audience, at the right time. Delivering the right message to the right audience at the right time achieves "perfect message alignment".

Customer Centric B2B Marketing

The formula for B2B marketing success is understanding the differences between and among these marketing approaches: 

  • capabilities/capacities

  • consultative/informative

  • customer-centric

Then applying the appropriate approach to your target audience, (B2C or B2B), coupled with a multi-layered approach to utilizing delivery methods, all at the proper time. 

Customer-centric marketing delivers a competitive prospecting edge. Why? Simple it builds trust because your focus is on helping your prospective customers first before you sell them anything.

Customer-Centric Marketing Benefits

Selling becomes effortless because there is no sales pitch, offer to help a person become more successful, and you will benefit, too.

  1. Enjoy increased referrals, the best form of marketing and least expensive.

  2. Reach prospects before they begin to seek solutions from others.

  3. Eliminate wasting marketing dollars on ineffective marketing approaches

  4. Pre-qualified prospects call you.

  5. Focus on profits, not response rates. Quality, not quantity is the way to a profitable ROI on your marketing investment. One hundred replies and no sales = $0 profits, but ten responses and three sales are money in the bank.

Using customer-centric marketing principals and B2B inbound marketing techniques, MyMarketingDept is helping small business sell more products and services affordably. Before you spend any money on your next marketing campaign, to unlock the secret to customer-centric marketing success.