The Importance of Services Marketing in the B2B Sector
The biggest mistake you can make when selling in a B2B tech space is to go around and try to “sell products.” You have to realize that if you’re selling high-ticket items to large businesses, you’re dealing with high-powered decision makers. Hence, you’ll do much better if you approach these high-level players and “offer them your services.” This is where services marketing comes in.
What is services marketing though?
Services marketing is simply a concept that came about through evolution. In the early day marketing was almost entirely about helping manufacturers sell more physical goods, and hence most traditional marketing concepts were based on this assumption. One day, however, marketers realized that marketing services is different than marketing traditional products. It involves a different approach and a serious shift in how you approach the customer.
Interestingly enough, if you look at the definition, services are intangible things where consumption is inseparable from production. The thing is being produced and consumed at the same time. This is unlike a physical product which can be produced, shipped to a warehouse, and consumed many years later.
And this actually gets at the core of what selling a service entails
Selling a service is about selling a set of experiences, activities, and processes, all of which are intangible. Services marketing itself is about marketing these same intangible things, whether they represent the bulk of a product, or are merely delivered in connection with a purchased good.
Now, if you operate in the B2B tech world like most of our clients, most, if not all of your products are probably a service of some kind, so all of this should probably resonate with you quite easily. Switching to a services marketing strategy just means that you focus on selling the experiences, activities, and processes that a potential customer will get access to.
That’s the easy part though, and most of your competitors are going to figure this one out as well. The real secret lies in an untapped source that allows for some amazing services marketing. And this something which most of your competitors are leaving on the table. Many marketers in B2B tech forget is that there are a lot of additional services that are tied to their products. And that is things like customer support and training.
It is very often these additional services that get a decision-maker to go for your solution over another. So ideally, you should focus on marketing those just as much as (or even more than) the core product’s main features and general benefits.
Customer support in Services Marketing
You probably already have a customer support team with the proper training and resources to assist your clients. If this is the case, why not advertise this amazing service to your potential customers?
Think about it this way. A decision maker seeks assistance in growing their business. If you do things right, you can present your customer service as a “team of people that can help their business become more productive and grow faster.” Obviously, the specifics will depend on your exact product or services, but in general, this is the angle you want to take.
Focus on the customer service a business gets access to when they become a customer. Think of this customer service as an ally that’s there to help them reach their business goals.
How to market your customer support
It’s always good if someone else is talking about the quality of your customer support. Make sure that your promotional materials include a lot of customer reviews and testimonials. This is especially crucial if some of the feedback is coming from well-known companies that you work with. Businesses generally take into consideration the opinion of big and successful players.
Ideally, you want to demonstrate that your customer service is an integral part of your brand. When a business strikes a deal with you, they are paying for access to your amazing customer support. It’s almost like they get to outsource a big chunk of their hassles to this great external team that solves things for them.
Meanwhile, don’t forget to mention any unique selling points you might have. If your customer services differ from the competition, be sure to mention it. Some simple examples include:
- Offering 24/7 support over the phone
- Assigning a dedicated account representative to each new client
Customer Retention in Services Marketing
You’ve heard this before – it costs 500% more to acquire a new customer than it does to strike a new deal with an existing one. It makes sense to do whatever you can to optimize your customer retention. How can you do that? Simple! Just focus on building optimal customer satisfaction.
It really is that simple: customer satisfaction = customer retention
All of this makes sense, right? But, did you also know that you can view “ensuring customer satisfaction” as a service, and market it just as you do any other service? In that sense, your high customer retention is something you can focus on in your services marketing strategy.
How to market your customer retention
Unlike marketing your customer service, bragging about your customer retention is a little tricky. It sounds kind of weird to say “our customers are not running away from us!” In fact, people assume this is true by default. Why would you not retain customers?
That’s why you want to be more subtle about it, and use a more indirect approach. If anything, you can directly brag about customer satisfaction and showcase your customer loyalty. From there, indirectly let potential customers know that you have a high customer retention rate for a reason.
In essence, improving your customer satisfaction and retention is the key here, and the marketing easily follows from that point. So let’s look at some things you should focus on starting today.
Constantly improve your services and products based on feedback
This is crucial in the B2B sector. While B2C businesses can get away with commissioning surveys, you have to understand that your situation is a bit different. You want to cater to and understand the needs of high-powered decision makers in large businesses.
Demonstrate to your clients that you’re ready to go the extra mile to meet the needs of their business. You can do this by asking them what they are gaining from your relationship, what they would change and how you can help them achieve their goals. Listen to what they say carefully and assure them you will adapt and evolve to meet their needs.
You must show value to your existing customers. Don’t expect your clients to keep calm if you remain stagnant. Part of your marketing strategy should be focused on getting new leads, but you must not forget to keep old clients happy at the same time. That means continually growing alongside them in a symbiotic relationship that benefits both sides.
Measure things objectively
As a B2B company, you probably have the ability to do your own research. It’s good for a high-level overview, but sometimes you need an objective measurement from a third party. You can also, however, compare the results of your in-house research to the third-party research results. Either way look at those measurements and see how you can improve your services.
Build a community
All of this effort to keep your customers happy should ideally be marketed by them as well. In fact, you should consciously work to encourage them to market your company. You can encourage them to speak at events, contribute to content and share their experiences with you on social media. Building a community is great for keeping your existing buyers, and encouraging your potential clients to become future clients.
Training in Services Marketing
Most quality SaaS and PaaS companies offer good training resources for their products and services. Unfortunately, most of them fail to market this benefit which can be quite appealing to potential customers.
How to market your training services
A lot of your best customers will come via a referral of some sort. This means that they have heard about your services and products from an existing customer. Now, wouldn’t it be amazing if your existing customers bragged about your exceptional training to their business contacts?
The obvious way to get that going is to actually produce some exceptional training that really helps your customers get the most out of your service. But don’t stop there. Be sure to nudge that process further by marketing your training resources to your existing customers. It’s not enough to simply create exceptional training and assume companies will use it if and when their employees need help with using your stuff.
It’s not enough to simply include a link in that welcome email or mention it in your onboarding materials. Continue marketing your training on an ongoing basis to all of your existing customers. This will ensure that your customers get better results, thus increasing their satisfaction. It will also ensure that more of these decision makers and their employees will spread the word about your training, generating plenty of referrals.
Pay attention to your website
This is an issue that goes back to taking your training services for granted. A lot of SaaS and PaaS companies will spend lots of time creating an amazing training program, but then literally bury it somewhere in the back of their website.
Your training should be front and center. Your website should proudly put emphasis on the training programs and services that your customers can utilize.
Produce high-quality content at all times
High-powered decision makers in large businesses love consuming valuable long-form content. They are always trying to improve their leadership and management abilities, so they’re constantly learning.
Therefore, the job of your content marketing team is to produce lots of high-quality and valuable content that these decision makers will enjoy consuming. Not only does this let you do brand marketing and improve your image in their eyes, but it’s also a great opportunity to advertise your training resources.
Make sure to inform your content marketing team that all the content they produce should be constantly referring to and “selling” your training services and resources. In fact, they should treat this as if the training was the “product” that they are selling.
Bonus hint: If you need help doing quality content marketing, don’t hesitate to contact us at any time. Our team has years of experience crafting super-effective content marketing plans for many large businesses in the B2B tech field. We’d love to see how we can help you reach your goals.
Consider getting a marketing partner on your side
Whether you need help with implementing services marketing or just want to get leads on an autopilot, it always helps if you have a team of experts on your side.
There is a reason that most B2B players in the tech field are outsourcing their marketing to specialized agencies such as DemandZEN. They realize that digital marketing is evolving at a breakneck pace and it can be hard to keep up with all the latest trends, shifts and cutting-edge marketing technologies.
When you allow a team of experienced marketing experts to handle the most strenuous parts of your marketing and lead generation, that lets you focus more on what you do best – create great tech and services for your customers.
If you’re starting to think about partnering with a marketing team, you need to look for one with the same values and goals as yours. You need someone who understands and cares for your company almost as much as you do. Having a partner in achieving your goals will only bring you success more quickly.
At DemandZEN, we provide lead generation and marketing services for businesses just like yours. We can help you with your content marketing, lead generation, SEO and pretty much all it takes to get the amount of business you deserve. To see how we can work together to help grow your business, feel free to contact us here.
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