Marketing a B2B business is a complicated job — and, with it, comes a whole new set of challenges.
Today, the B2B buying process has almost completely gone digital with two-thirds of buyers saying they prefer remote and self-service interactions over in-person ones. As a result, marketers have to cut through the noise of an overcrowded market, figure out innovative ways to drive better leads at lower costs, and craft a memorable online experience.
With so much at stake and so many approaches to choose from, it can be hard to know where to start. But with the right B2B marketing strategies in place, you will be able to easily generate high-quality leads, convert them into customers, and see those customers turn into revenue.
To help set you up for marketing success, we’ve hand-selected the very best B2B marketing strategies that top companies are using today, along with a bunch of examples that will help kickstart your next campaign.
Let’s get started ⚡️
What Is B2B Marketing?
B2B marketing refers to the actions that businesses take to attract, engage, and sell to other businesses. B2B target audiences are people who either own or are employed at a business, and they are typically split up according to company size, industry, revenue, personas, and other business-centric data.
Unlike B2C marketing which targets individual consumers, B2B marketing targets businesses and organizations. As such, B2B sales take longer and involve more decision-makers which means it’s important you use the right strategies to reach your target audience — without wasting time and resources on the people that will never buy from you.
Today, the best B2B marketers use buyer interest and intent data in the same way that B2C companies do — but they combine it with classic B2B lead qualification criteria to ensure they are targeting the most relevant audiences.
12 B2B Marketing Strategies to Start Investing in Today
Of course, one strategy isn’t going to seal the deal. To successfully market your solution, you will need to have multiple strategies in place. The best B2B marketing strategies work together to target ideal buyers, connect leads to sales ASAP, and improve customer lifetime value.
1. Go-to-Market (GTM) Alignment
Did you know that, according to Forrester, highly-aligned companies grow 19% faster and are 15% more profitable than non-aligned companies?
It’s true. Misalignment between your teams negatively impacts your business and your bottom line. And this is especially true when your go-to-market (GTM) team is out of sync.
Your GTM team is responsible for engaging and selling to target buyers as well as establishing a competitive advantage — which means that their work directly translates into revenue. While team structures differ at every organization, GTM teams typically consist of sales, marketing, product, and customer success.
With so many players involved, it’s easy to see how misalignment can occur. But without proper alignment, you are more likely to drive lackluster leads, end up having to deal with disorganized processes, and fail to meet your revenue goals.
Excellent GTM alignment requires a clear GTM team structure focused around a shared goal, ongoing collaboration on strategies, and transparency into shared processes and systems.
Want more advice on getting everyone aligned? Check out our ebook, 5 Ways to Solve the Trillion-Dollar Marketing & Sales Feud.
2. Account-Based Marketing (ABM)
For decades, sales teams have refined their selling by building lists of target accounts and then working to turn those accounts into leads through personalized sales prospecting — via cold calls, emails, and LinkedIn.
Similarly, account-based marketing (ABM) is all about reaching a specific set of target accounts — but through marketing.
ABM is not just one strategy. It relies on a variety of channels and tactics to deliver a hyper-personalized experience to target accounts. These tactics include pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, VIP events, tailored content, personalized direct mail and gifts, custom website experiences, and tons more.
At Drift, we go all in for our ABM accounts and we use all of our favorite channels to engage and interact with them. Meanwhile, for inbound accounts and lower-priority target accounts, we stick to using just a few channels.
One thing to keep in mind is that, to get a great ABM campaign off the ground, you need proper GTM alignment because marketing will need to collaborate with sales to decide which accounts to target and what strategies to use to nurture those accounts before passing them onto sales.
3. Conversational Marketing
By 2025, 80% of B2B buying will take place across digital channels. That means now is the best time to invest in new ways to engage buyers digitally.
Conversational Marketing leverages real-time conversations using channels like chatbots and live chat to create an experience that caters to buyers who are live on your website. For example, this chatbot on Gong’s website greets all site visitors with a cheeky hook, inviting them to start a conversation 👇
Conversational Marketing streamlines the buying process by allowing you to respond to questions quickly, assist buyers at every stage of the buying process, and connect qualified leads with sales — by either routing in a sales rep immediately or booking a meeting.
Want to learn more about how Conversational Marketing can help you create a digital experience that your buyers and customers will love? Check out The Conversational Marketing Blueprint.
4. Content Marketing
In 2021, we found that marketing leaders considered content marketing software to be the most critical for generating pipeline. And in 2022, according to Content Marketing Institute, 71% of marketers believe content marketing has become more important for their organization in the past year.
Now more than ever, marketing leaders are aware that content marketing is crucial to helping their teams succeed — and that’s hardly a surprise.
Excellent content has the power to capture and hold people’s attention which means you’ll get better results, be it click-through rates, conversations held, or attendance numbers. On the other hand, without great content to back up your other offers like ABM campaigns, digital ads, or events, you will struggle to bring in the number of leads you expect.
To ensure your content is relevant and informative, make sure to listen to your customers to find out what their needs, challenges, and goals are and source ideas from customer-facing teams like sales and customer success. This way, you know your content will lead to engagement.
5. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
68% of online experiences begin with a search engine. Search engine optimization (SEO) refers to all the work that marketers do to make sure their web pages show up on the first page for keywords relevant to their business.
This is a huge area of focus for marketers because SEO leads often close at a higher rate than outbound leads. This is due to the fact that SEO leads are actively looking for a solution to their problems and are typically towards the middle or end of their buying process.
There are two main ways to optimize your web pages. The first is to create long-form content with the goal of ranking for key phrases that top-of-the-funnel and middle-of-the-funnel leads search for. The second is to craft conversion-optimized landing pages that target high-intent keywords and competitor comparison keywords.
Keep in mind though that, while search rankings are important, ultimately your content and web pages should help educate and capture your audience — so make sure your copy is as engaging as it is optimized.
6. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising
If you’ve ever seen an ad at the top of your search results, then you’ve encountered a pay-per click (PPC) ad. PPC advertising is an advertising model where you pay for every click your ad receives. These ads can be shown in search results, social media feeds, and digital publications via display networks or direct placement.
Succeeding with PPC ads is all about knowing your numbers. By optimizing your ad creatives, landing pages, and nurture sequences, you can achieve a cost-per-acquisition rate that is profitable for your business.
However, not all campaigns have to be measured by acquisitions and profit. So long as you set a reasonable budget and actively monitor your campaign, you can also invest in PPC ads to raise brand awareness without expecting an immediate return on investment (ROI).
Check out our guide to B2B digital advertising for a more in-depth strategy.
7. Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is the perfect way to reach your target audience without paying for advertising.
While there’s a lot of opportunity in social media, it can be hard for B2B brands to establish a brand presence. Most people use social media to connect with friends and laugh at memes so boring and stuffy B2B content gets little to no engagement, visibility, or results.
Fortunately, there are a lot of active B2B audiences on Twitter and LinkedIn. 71% of B2B companies use Twitter to distribute their content and 93% use LinkedIn.
Even in these professional arenas, adding a human or emotional element to your content can go a long way.
Just take this post from Shopify which taps into the passion and entrepreneurial spirit of their ecommerce audience. By posting social media content like this, you’ll see far more likes, retweets, and comments than you would expect with your run-of-the-mill B2B content.
8. Employee Advocacy
It’s a fact that people want to connect with other people — and your buyers are no exception.
Employee advocacy allows B2B companies to create a space where buyers and businesses can connect on a human level. By posting company news, updates, and behind-the-scenes content, employees can massively increase brand awareness which often yields higher visibility and engagement than the company’s official account.
The more employees who are active on the platforms that target customers use, the better. With the right platforms, you increase the likelihood of a future customer consuming content that paints your company in a positive light.
On LinkedIn, job titles are always visible under a poster’s name, so every post that gets good engagement brings even more brand awareness, like this one from Dana Feldman at Gong.
9. Live, Virtual, & Hybrid Events
From webinars to large conferences, events have always been a mainstay of B2B marketing even when the pandemic made live events impossible.
Because B2B companies generally sell to specific businesses or people in unique roles, B2B audiences are typically smaller than B2C ones. When it comes to events, that works to your advantage: It means you have the chance to gather and connect with a large number of people in your target audience at the same time.
Your event strategy will largely depend on the audience that you want to reach. For example, you can host large events to attract a bunch of new leads or you can host a more intimate event to interact with your top target accounts. You also don’t have to spend tons of time and resources planning your own event. Instead, you can:
- Speak at B2B events hosted by companies relevant to yours
- Sponsor B2B events
- Attend B2B events and network with other attendees
10. Affiliate Programs
Marketing doesn’t have to be a solo job. With affiliate programs, you can offer a commission to influencers and digital publishers to help you acquire a customer (either rewarding them per sale or per lead).
Not only is affiliate marketing a worthwhile revenue source (as it accounts for 15% of all revenue generated online), but it’s also an excellent channel for brand awareness. This is because you’ll have hundreds or even thousands of affiliates selling your solution for you with your brand appearing in their newsletters, blog posts, and social media content.
Of course, affiliate marketing also comes with brand risk. So if you go this route, you’ll need to have an affiliate program manager to enforce clear-cut guidelines for advertising your brand.
Also keep in mind that larger companies have more complicated sales cycles where purchasing decisions will be impacted by the needs and opinions of several different people. So, if medium to large-sized companies make up your target audience, partnerships may be a better option than affiliate programs.
11. AI-Powered Lead Nurturing & CRM Automation
Customer relationship management software (CRM) and marketing automation are considered among the most mission-critical systems for generating pipeline. And it’s not hard to see why: both enable businesses to deliver better and more efficient service to buyers.
CRMs essentially act as a single source of truth about the customer. Marketers can use CRMs to target the right leads and nurture them with content relevant to their interests and activity. This helps marketers make the most of their creative assets and resources, as well as their campaign roadmaps.
CRMs can also help marketers figure out when and how to approach existing customers with product updates and launch announcements.
AI further speeds up these processes by automating tasks and providing data for marketers to leverage in their campaigns. Today, the top three outcomes that B2B companies saw with their marketing AI were:
- Creating personalized consumer experiences at scale
- Accelerating revenue growth
- Getting more actionable insights from marketing data
Together, CRMs and marketing AI not only provide a reliable source of customer data but they also help drive buyers further down the funnel by providing personalized and relevant customer experiences.
12. Post-Sale Marketing and Customer Expansion
While we’ve spent a lot of time talking about buyers and leads, let’s not forget the people who have already bought in: your customers.
The success rate for selling to an existing customer is 60-70%, far higher than the 5-20% rate for new prospects. This is exactly why many B2B businesses use a “land and expand” model. It’s much easier to sell one service or a handful of software seats and then build on top of that.
But don’t get us wrong — marketing to existing customers isn’t a simple task. This is another strategy where GTM alignment is crucial. Here, marketing, sales, and customer success teams all need to work together to successfully drive customer expansion.
Generally, marketers can take a broad approach by sending out announcements, advertising new offers, and offering trainings to help customers further understand what they can do with their solution. Meanwhile, account executives and customer success managers can take a more one-on-one approach with customers encourage expansion.
7 Effective B2B Marketing Examples
We’ve talked strategy. Now, here are seven great examples of B2B marketing strategies in action.
1. Qualtrics’ ABM
Qualtrics is a global leader in experience management, empowering organizations of all sizes to capture customer, employee, and market insights. With so many potential customers visiting their website, the Qualtrics team wanted to make sure that their website was tailored to all visitors — especially target accounts.
The solution? Qualtrics implemented Drift and used it to uplevel their account-based marketing (ABM) strategy by building out intent-based audiences in 6Sense and leveraging that data to create targeted Drift playbooks.
But the Qualtrics team didn’t stop there. They also made sure that their messaging reflects where the buyer is in their journey. By keeping track of the buyer’s position in the sales funnel, they are able to personalize their experiences and meet visitors exactly where they are, providing them with the most relevant content and the best user experience possible.
2. Lucidchart’s SEO
According to Ahrefs, Lucidchart — a company that offers a collaborative workspace for diagramming and visualizing data — ranks for over 356,000 keyphrases.
For 28,000 of these, they hold positions on the first page of Google. Some of their most high-intent rankings include terms like “flow chart creator,” “process mapping,” and “use case diagram” — all keywords that are highly relevant to their business.
While that is impressive on its own, what truly makes Lucidchart’s SEO strategy stand out is that their marketing team is not only great at driving traffic but at converting it too.
One way that Lucidchart streamlines their web pages for conversion is that they divide up their blog posts by category — and each category features a relevant and specific CTA in order to drive visitors further down the funnel. For example, a blog post about templates will have a CTA in the sidebar encouraging the reader to try out all their templates 👇
3. Teachable’s Affiliate Program
B2B companies that target small business owners can win big with affiliate programs. That’s because small business owners look up to business coaches and influencers to learn how to run and grow their own businesses.
Teachable, an online course-building platform, has harnessed this phenomenon well. Their affiliate program offers up to a 30% commission paid recurringly for as long as the customer continues their subscription.
As a result, bloggers, YouTubers, email marketers, business coaches, and other affiliates recommend Teachable to online entrepreneurs who want to create their own courses. And this translates into revenue for both the affiliate and the company.
4. Testlio’s Employee Advocacy
To win with employee advocacy, you don’t always need an army. Sometimes, you just need one very committed star.
Kristel Kruustuk, the founder of Testlio, is a great example of this. Although she’s stepped down from her role as CEO, she remains the face of the quality assurance testing company, whose clients include Netflix, Microsoft, and Amazon.
Kristel regularly goes viral on LinkedIn by celebrating the team at Testlio and their achievements — undoubtedly raking up big views from potential customers around the globe.
What does this example mean for your company? It’s a good reminder to start small. You can assist one chief evangelist in building up their personal brand and posting regularly. Then later, you can think about involving more and more employees throughout your organization.
5. Semrush’s Content Marketing
Semrush, a popular SEO research and tracking platform, regularly releases high-quality ebooks. This goes to show that content marketing is more than long-form SEO content. To win over your audience with great content, you also need resources that are more actionable, like templates and checklists.
Semrush also produces courses as part of their SEO Academy. Courses like this give your target customers a guided educational experience, which not only helps people understand and use your solution but also shows your commitment to educating your buyers and customers so they can succeed.
6. Employment Hero’s Marketing and Sales Alignment
For Employment Hero, an HR solution complete with payroll and benefits management, it was clear from the start that their digital experience needed to serve their customers. And that not only meant giving buyers easier ways to interact with them, but also refining the handoff between marketing and sales.
Before implementing Drift, Employment Hero found that it could take up to seven days for them to follow up with a request from their website. Now, buyers can easily get the information they need — instantly.
In addition, the team has deployed dozens of different chatbot playbooks that seamlessly guide website visitors from marketing content to sales conversations.
Scott Wilson, CRM Manager at Employment Hero, said, “With Drift, we have somewhere between 40 to 50 different playbooks running across the different parts of our site.” These include playbooks that cater to buyers and assist existing customers, as well as chatbots tailored to specific solutions pages.
With all these playbooks in place, Employment Hero’s marketing team has been able to provide valuable buyer data to their sales team so they can jump into the conversation knowing what leads are interested in, serve up the right content, and ultimately close deals faster.
7. Storyblocks’ PPC Advertising
As a provider for royalty-free videos, music, and photos, Storyblocks is a big proponent of diversity in media. They created the Diversity in Video Report to show content creators and advertisers how the demand for representation has grown.
Storyblocks uses this report in their LinkedIn ads to bring new target customers into the top of their marketing funnel. With this strategy, the company can grow their email list of marketers and content creators so they can nurture them and drive home sales.
With insights into what users search for when sourcing media, this report helps Storyblocks stand out as a brand that cares about diversity and inclusion while also showing marketers exactly where to turn for better, more diverse stock videos.
Turn Your B2B Marketing Strategy into Pipeline with Drift
As we’ve shared above, many B2B companies can win by driving higher-quality leads with ABM, social media, paid advertising, and SEO strategies, as well as by improving internal processes, such as with GTM alignment and automated lead nurturing.
But it’s important to remember that ultimately, the right marketing strategy for you will depend on your business needs — be it the solution your offer, your target audience, or your sales cycle.
However, as B2B deals become even longer and involve more and more stakeholders, you’re going to need a way to ensure opportunities don’t fall through the cracks. Drift Conversational Marketing does exactly that by empowering buyers to start conversations on their own, get answers quickly, and connect with sales with just a click of a button.
Want to see what a Conversational Marketing solution looks like on your website? Take Drift for a test drive.