What is B2B software marketing?
B2B stands for “business-to-business”, meaning selling solutions to other businesses, rather than directly to end consumers. So this type of software marketing is the marketing of software that is sold to businesses or organizations.
There are a number of ways in which B2B software marketing is quite a bit different from selling software directly to end consumers:
Because of the points above, business buyers don’t usually make immediate purchase decisions. Instead, they must progress through a series of stages called the “buyer’s journey”:
Depending on the scale and price of your software, the buyer’s journey can take weeks, months or in some cases even years.
If you're just starting up a B2B software company, a lengthy buyer's journey can be a significant challenge unless you are really well capitalized. There are various strategies to get momentum and early wins as a startup, including focusing on smaller businesses to start, getting pilot or POC accounts to provide early case studies, etc.
These are the two most important ingredients of a successful B2B software marketing strategy:
These are just some of the marketing strategies that will be important for B2B software:
Content marketing is very important in the B2B space, where your buyers are doing online research and starting to evaluate solutions even before they have engaged with you. Content marketing involves having high quality web pages, blog posts, and social media content that addresses your target customers' needs and concerns, beyond just a sales pitch.
B2B marketers often forget their most important target prospects: existing clients! Account-based marketing involves building strategies to upsell and broaden engagement within your established customer base.
B2B inbound marketing (particularly important is B2B SaaS inbound marketing) involves having content and SEO strategies that will pull customers to engage with your website, social media presence, blog, etc without you having to actively reach out to them.
Having a strong product marketing strategy before you bring your software to the market is particularly important in the B2B space: make sure your pricing, positioning and channel plans are in place before executing your go-to-market strategy.
Email marketing might involve nurturing a newsletter subscriber list, or sending individual target emails to prospects. But either way, your emails must focus on things that matter to your target buyer (not overt selling): provide solutions, and help them understand how you can help their business grow or solve their problem.
In B2B software marketing a professional web presence is a must-have, as is a strong presence in whatever social media your buyers use (often LinkedIn for B2B, but it doesn’t have to be). B2B internet marketing should be a key component of your go-to-market strategy.
Software-as-a-service companies require very specific B2B SaaS marketing strategies. This is because the customer value is spread over the lifetime of the customer, rather than as a larger up-front license fee. As a result, SaaS firms need to keep a close eye on customer acquisition costs in order to remain profitable. One way to do this is to carefully track your B2B SaaS metrics. Our SaaS business planning package can help you do that, or read more about SaaS marketing here.
Here are some other articles to help with planning your B2B software marketing: