March 13, 2017

3 B2B Marketing Tips to Help You Understand Your Prospects

It's important for all businesses to understand their prospects, but this is especially true for B2B companies. These three B2B marketing tips can help you speak your prospects' language and create relevant brand touch points.

A CMO's Guide to B2B Lead Generation [Free eBook PDF]

Why is prospect research especially important for B2B companies?

b2b-marketing-tips-understand-prospectsModern B2B marketing isn't about spewing the message that your brand wants to send.

More importantly, it's about offering the talking points that your prospects need to hear.

In business-to-business marketing, the customer lifecycle tends to be much longer.

In fact, the average sales cycle has increased 22% over the past 5 years due to more decision makers being involved in the buying process, according to Salesforce.

This means that your prospects are doing more research and exploring more options.

If your content is highly relevant, you will shine above competitors. But without relevancy, you run the risk of seeming out-of-touch and losing prospects in the extensive research phase:

67% of the buyer’s journey is now done digitally. – SiriusDecisions

This long sales online buyer's journey also means that your sale is driven by relationship building. You're often not dealing in short, sporadic purchases — so there are high pressures to truly relate to your prospects' pain points and sensibilities.

Marketers who dig deep into their prospect's point-of-view can emerge with a clear advantage above competitors. These three B2B marketing tips will help guide your research.


B2B Marketing Tips #1: Become Your Prospect's Audience

In the strategy playbook of understanding your prospects, this tactic goes farther than most.

The objective here is to become your prospects' prospect. That is, play that role of your prospects' dream customer, and consume the materials that they would consume.

Using Social Media To Engage IT BuyersHow can you do this?

  • Subscribe to your prospects' newsletters
  • Explore their product and service lines
  • Check out their free offers
  • Opt in to their trials

And generally, just be an engaged "customer" for your prospects.

The ultimate goal is to learn how to market to your prospects by allowing them to market to you. If you can dig into the mindset of your leads and learn their strategies and thought processes, you can create proposals that better appeal to their way of thinking.

You'll get an in-depth understanding of what your prospect is trying to do to grow business — which products and services take the forefront, which tactics they're employing, and who their target audience is.

Then, you can use this information to target your own marketing to the pain points or strategy holes that your prospects are apparently missing.

And when you discuss how your product/service will help them, you'll know exactly who they're targeting, and which language will resonate.

Tip: After this research, audit your existing content and ensure that you're covering the main pain points and goals of your ideal prospect.

B2B Marketing Tips #2: Leverage Social Media Monitoring

With priority leads, it's good to be a fly on the wall.

You can learn much about your prospects with social media monitoring. Twitter and LinkedIn are hot spots for learning, since they are friendly to a professional connection (unlike Facebook or Instagram.)

Follow your prospects' company profile, but go farther, too: Connect with leadership teams' personal profiles.


Small businesses most likely have a handful of people sitting at the helm, and you probably know their names. But for bigger companies, think about people in key places, such as the CEO or any sales and project managers you might deal with.

Monitor social media for topics that your prospects find interesting:

  • What are they commenting on?
  • Which articles are they sharing?
  • Do you have any shared connections?
  • Would any of their previous experience lend to an interesting perspective now?

These insights can only help a sales call. You'll drive better conversations and show that you did your research.

B2B Marketing Tips #3: Consume Their Blogs

A prospect's blog is a goldmine to find several pieces of information:

  • What topics do they consider themselves "industry experts" about?
  • Which audience are they targeting?
  • What are subsets/ancillary products of their main business model that are also important?

If your priority leads have online blogs, follow them. Read their posts, check out their archives, and take notes on these questions above.

Like our earlier tips, this strategy will help you wrap your mind around the business goals and offerings of your lead. This will lead to a more relevant demo, proposal, or sales call — and increase the chances of closing the sale. (This is often called "inbound sales.")


Identifying with your leads is one of the most effective ways of selling to them. These three B2B marketing tips will help you research your prospects and emerge with more relevant talking points and content.