Building a marketing strategy for a B2B company – Where to start?

Your boss asked you to take care of the new marketing strategy. But starting things from scratch is difficult and painful. Building and implementing a marketing plan is no easy task, even for a small company. Senior managers are resistant to marketing tactics, so your best shot at convincing them is a data-driven and sustainable plan. 

So what is the first thing you do? You look for information on the internet but all advice is directed at consumers’ business models. You can’t seem to find marketing resources for B2B companies, whose strategies are far more complex than B2C companies. 

Hopefully, you are able to get a deliverable without a lot of work, even if you’re a single person team. This guideline will help you kickstart your marketing plan as quickly as possible. 

What you have to keep in mind is that your main goal is to use your resources as efficiently as possible, reaching the companies with the highest conversion rate. These will be your ideal or best-fit customers. To get the target list of companies who would pay a higher price for your services because they are getting a lot of value from it, follow these 3 steps:

Step 1: Determine the current situation of your business

The first thing you need to do is to know where your company is standing right now. You have to find out as much as possible about the current situation of your business:

  • Identify the current most profitable customers. According to the Pareto principle, 80% of your revenue should come from 20% of the customers. 
  • Analyze and understand your main customers’ firmographics.  It is really helpful to find the common characteristics. Depending on the business model of your company, you have to select what data you’re more interested in. It could be:
    • Industry: what products or services do they offer. a logistics company will have different attributes than a healthcare company. Hence, the message, channels and overall marketing tactics will be different. Your message and content will be much more tailored to what their industry needs and cares about. 
    • Company size: how many employees? Annual revenue? Market share within their industry.
    • Geography / location: will affect how you handle your business meetings or which geographical regions you can direct your advertising. 
    • Products or services they are currently buying from you: how much and at what price are the customers purchasing?
  • Determine each segment’s value: now you can determine the size and value of segments. How much revenue are each of these segments representing the total value? 
  • Identify the most valuable segments. 

A word of caution

Be wary of making a customer’s profile just with this data! A customer profile is a much deeper and thorough tool that lets you get the deepest insights of a customer. Right now we are trying to broadly define your current situation. Don’t invest too much time on this stage, you’ll get back to make a deeper analysis later on, incorporating customer’s behaviours and needs into the mix. 

Step 2: Measure market size

It let’s you know how large the market segments you’re addressing. There are three ways to approach this:

  • Demand side: determine the size employing end-user data. Since it’s really difficult to find information with a high level of granularity for the specific segment you’re looking at, I don’t recommend this method. 
  • Bottom-up: calculate the size of each company that is part of the market. This method is useful with industries that are highly concentrated. 
  • Top-down: determine the size based on reports and macro data. This is a great place to start for a high level assessment. Although the values won’t be so accurate, You can cross-check the values using different sources. 

Some tips for this step:

  • Remember to keep things simple and avoid becoming lost in the details. 
  • If you are unsure about the data you’ve found, you can seek validation from your clients. 
  • Document your sources of information. 

Now you can determine the largest potential segments by size. 

Step 3: Identify potential customers

Look for companies with the same firmographics and who could benefit from the service / product you are delivering. They have to be within the largest potential segments defined in the previous step. 

Where to find them?:

  • Companies listings 
  • Company data tools like LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Zoominfo or DiscoverOrg, or Mintigo. 
  • Facebook

This is your target list of potential customers. They are the ones you should approach with your marketing strategy. 


How to define a target list of potential customers with a high conversion rate: 

  • Step 1: Define the current situation of your company determining the main customers, segmenting them and value their size.
  • Step 2: Determine the market size to know each segment’s true potential.
  • Step 3: Identify potential customers within the largest market segments. 

Next steps

You have to define the message you are delivering to each segment. So don’t consider buying a contact lists tool yet. 

You can also look at your sales pipeline and make an informed guess about which are the most and less valuable leads. If the prospect is not included in one of the most valuable segments, then maybe it’s not that profitable. You and the sales team won’t spend time chasing the wrong leads, and focus the marketing efforts in the target accounts. 

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