In some ways business to business marketing is a lot like selling directly to customers. In other ways it is very different. Two ways that they are similar is the effectiveness of direct mail marketing and the power of selling by attacking a prospect’s pain points.
Using these methods together can be a powerful sales tactic that leverages your postal list. So how do you take a business mailing list and effectively use direct mail to target a company’s pain points and maximize your direct marketing efforts?
Business to Business Marketing – Think like a Problem Solver
The first step is to change your mindset from a sales person to a consultant or business resource. You will not be selling products or services to businesses; you will be selling solutions to their problems. When you are designing your direct mail piece you should never focus on the product or service you are trying to sell. Instead you focus on how what you are providing will make your potential customer’s real pain less painful.
Let’s look at a quick example.
Let’s say that you are selling customer relationship management software. Your software might have a lot of great features like databases, automated sales, customer support, and many other great tools. You should not focus on the features that you offer in your direct marketing. You should focus on your customer’s pain. They are probably tired of missing out on business opportunities because they do not have the tools manage relationships with customers. So you focus your mail piece on the fact that with your software they will never have to lose out on business opportunities again. Your software will end their pain.
By focusing on your potential customer’s issues, you will help them solve their problems, and be looked at as an expert in your field. You do not want to be seen as just a vendor, but as a valuable resource. This will not only help you get new customers but keep them for the long-term; while turning them into a great source for referrals.
Business to Business Marketing – Find Your Target Market’s Pain Points
In order to maximize your postal list with direct marketing and pain points, you first need to identify what your target market’s pain points are. This will allow you to reach out to them through direct mail and make them interested in your solutions. They will need your services or products in their lives because they will eliminate a problem that they have had for a long time.
There are businesses out there who are probably begging for the solutions that you have for their problems, you just need to reach them with the right message. The best ways to find these pain points are to talk to your current customers, talk to potential customers, and conduct research into the industry.
Hopefully you are already communicating to your current customers and collecting important data from them.
What do they like about your product or service? What problems do your products or services help them solve? They can possibly give you ideas that you never thought about before. They also can be great as a reference providing you with social proof. You might design a direct marketing piece that says, “John’s Incredible Sandwich Shop used to lose business every day because they didn’t deliver. With our affordable food delivery service they never have to worry about losing a customer who wants delivery again!” With this type of mail piece you are identifying a pain point, explaining how you can eliminate it, and providing social proof that you have already done it for another business.
Any time you talk to a potential customer you should also be gathering pain point information. This will not only help your marketing efforts, it will help you close the sale with that particular prospect. Too many business to business sales people try to tell and sell. They focus on the features of their service or product and tell potential customers all about them. They then try to sell them on the features. Instead when you are trying to make a sale you should engage the business owner or manager in a dialogue about their business challenges.
However, do not go too far to the extreme. For example, some sales people may start out by bluntly asking a prospect directly what is not working in their business. This is a good way to turn the prospect defensive and lose out on a lot of valuable information. Instead start by getting the prospect to talk about their business in general. Ask them a lot of open-ended questions. Get them comfortable with talking to you. Most of the times the problems they have will start to come out and you can ask clarifying questions. Take notes for future use and close that sale by articulating how your product or service can end some of those problems.
In the age of the Internet research is easy to do online. Use your favorite search engine to search blog posts and news articles about your target market. What are the common themes that you find how can these be related to your business? For example, maybe you sell online marketing services. During your research you see that a big trend in the restaurant industry has been to buy a bunch of Facebook likes. You then read a blog post from a restaurant owner complaining that they have a bunch of Facebook likes (probably without admitting to buying them) and they can’t figure out how to turn them into customers. If he is having this problem there is a good chance other restaurant owners are as well. So you design a direct mail piece identifying their problem of converting Facebook likes into customers. You then attack their pain by letting them know that your service engages Facebook follower and turns them into real customers. Send this direct marketing piece out to your postal list and wait for the phones to start ringing off the hook!
Business to Business Marketing – Get Your Message In Front of Your Market
After you have started to think like a problem solver and identified your target market’s pain points, you need postal and email lists to reach them. One of the best and most cost effective ways to do this is through direct mail. Direct mail enables you reach a wide variety of businesses at one time, in a way where you control the message. You simply design the mail piece in a way that identifies a problem and how you can solve it, and then purchase a postal list to send the mailer to. Even in the digital age where technology seems to be taking over our lives, direct mail is still a top marketing channel. Why do you think you still receive all of those mail pieces from politicians every election season? The truth is direct mail has the lowest cost-per-lead and highest conversion rate of any type of advertisement.
The Direct Mail Association (DMA) Factbook reports that 65% of people have made at least one purchase as a result of direct mail. It has also been reported that an average response rate for business to business direct mail is 4.4%. That is considerably higher than the email response rate which is a pitiful 0.12%. We are sure with the right message that targets your potential customer’s pain points you can achieve a rate that is much higher.