Your B2B Startup Needs a Buyer’s Guide

Your B2B Startup Needs a Buyer’s Guide

One of the big differences between selling to businesses vs selling to consumers is the buying process. Most Consumer products are lower priced and purchased quickly because if you make a poor choice, you aren’t out much more than beer money. In B2B not only is there more money on the line, buyers often have to justify a purchase to their boss. A poor choice can cost the company big dollars and (often more importantly) damage the buyer’s reputation. This is precisely why a Buyer’s Guide is such a powerful piece of marketing content. It is designed specifically to meed the needs of a prospect that has been tasked with making a purchase decision. It’s a piece of marketing content aimed directly at the hottest prospects in your pipeline. The Buyer’s Guide is Targeted at a Critical Stage in the B2B Buying Process For B2B purchases, the buying process usually includes a stage where prospects try to figure out what their options are and which ones are best suited to them. For startups selling to businesses, this stage is particularly important. Often the solution is in a new or shifting market space and figuring out the competitive alternatives is a task in itself, nevermind trying to figure out which option offers the best combination of functionality, features, support, community, etc. For enterprise products, the evaluation phase might be a months-long process that includes a formal RFP process and/or a Proof of Concept. However for many lower-priced B2B solutions, the evaluation process is much more informal and looks more like a manager saying “Go figure out what we should buy and come back...

A Startup Marketing Framework (version 3)

Years ago when I was consulting for startups, I created something I called “A Startup Marketing Framework“. I used it mainly as a tool to describe the kinds of things that I could help folks with. Startups found it useful and it is still a popular piece of content on this site. Last week I had a startup pull out a printed version of the framework (from 2011 no less!) and I decided there were a couple of changes I wanted to make to it. Below is the new and improved version 3. Framework Assumptions As with previous versions, the framework does not attempt to cover things that I would consider to be more “Product Management” focused (like product roadmap for example). I’m taking a purely marketing point of view here.  The Framework also assumes that you have a product in market, you feel fairly confident that you have a good fit between your market and your offering and you are ready to invest in lead generation. If you aren’t there yet, there are things here you won’t need to (and more importantly, shouldn’t) worry about yet.   Lastly, my background is B2B marketing so like most content on this site, this has a B2B slant to it.  That said, I think most of it applies to a B2C startup. Market Knowledge Market Category and Segments – Based on your interaction with early customers, these are the segments that have the most affinity for your offering and are the target of your marketing efforts.  These need to be well-defined and very specific.  I’ve had folks ask me where buyer/influencer personas fit and I include those here as part...
A Startup Content Marketing Cheatsheet

A Startup Content Marketing Cheatsheet

In the past year we’ve seen a shift in the way startups are thinking about content marketing. Two years ago most of the content marketing conversations I had with startups started out as discussions about SEO, ranking and keywords. Content quality from a prospect point of view was largely an afterthought. A lot of that thinking has changed both because of apparent changes to the Google algorithm, as well as changes in the way buyers behave online where they are increasingly bombarded with not just too much content, but too much crappy, irrelevant and downright useless marketing content.  Getting found by prospects on the internet is (finally) becoming less a matter of sneaky tricks to game Google and more a battle to provide informative, useful content that prospects seek out, enjoy and gleefully share among their peers. But many startups don’t know where to start. In my experience the best way for a startup to begin building a content library is to put themselves in the minds of their prospects and think about what content is needed at different stages of the buying process. Understanding the Buyer’s Journey One of the most common mistakes I see startups make with their content is that they create too much content that focuses only on one particular stage of the buyer’s journey. For a startup selling to businesses, typically a buyer will move through a set of stages on the way to making a purchase. This is increasingly not a linear journey as a buyer may move back and forth between actively researching solutions, building a short list of possible vendors and actively evaluating a...

Weekend Startup Marketing Reading April 20

I’ve been on vacation this week and spending more time on the beach than on the internet. That said I did come across a couple of neat posts this week. Enjoy! William Mougayar of engagio had a great post over on StartupNorth this week about his lessons learned over the past 3 years. I agree with a lot of what he has to say here about relationships, the danger of believing your own story if nobody else does and how helping people is important. I don’t agree with him that selling to enterprises is a dead end – but I do agree that it’s very, very different from selling to individuals. (full disclosure, I am an advisor to engagio) Mark MacLeod at startupCFO had a nead post called Vision can Come Later talking about startups that start as services businesses that later transition to product businesses and the resulting domain expertise that comes with that. His thinking is very much in line with mine on that topic – there is no substitution for hands-on market experience. The Content Marketing Institute has a summary of the results of the Brandpoint 2012 Digital Content Marketing Survey with some interesting data around social content, outsourcing and storytelling. Earlier this week I posted about what startup folks are looking for in a marketing hire. MarketingProfs has a related post this week called 7 Traits of an Ideal Marketer. I agree with all of this in particular the desire to have marketers that have had some sort of sales training and also the need for great writing skills. That’s it for this week. I’ll...

Weekend Startup Marketing Reading

Here’s this week’s batch of interesting stuff for startup marketers. The folks from the startup Pipedrive, a pipeline management tool wrote a great post looking back at how they grew to 1,000 paying customers. The post includes a great discussion about how they learned to say “no” to customers that wanted one-off features, how they ramped up their growth by spending more time with key influencers and removed as much friction as they could in the their sign-up process. This is a great lessons learned post. An older article on Demand Gen Report, “Why Demand Generation Shouldn’t be Focused on Marketing Qualified Leads” inspired this post this week from B2B Digital Marketing called “Looking beyond Sales and Marketing Alignment“. The original article looks at the problem of Marketing’s continued struggle to provide good leads to sales and proposes that the solution to the problem is better orchestration and coordination between Marketing and Sales. We are focusing too much on MQL’s (Marketing Qualified Leads) when in a perfect process all leads should be marketing influenced as well as sales influenced. In the second article, the author takes this line of thinking one step further to make the argument that sales and marketing should just be “aligned” but actually “integrated”. These are two great articles to read if you are struggling with lead generation process issues related to a salesforce. Over at SingleGrain there was a really interesting post on using competitive research to analyze a new market. This post describes the process the writer used to launch a new online business website from a very SEO-centric perspective. He describes the...
Page 1 of 3123