B2B Influencer Marketing: Everything To Know in 2024

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Updated on
November 28, 2023

In today's fast-paced business landscape, establishing credibility and trust is paramount for B2B companies looking to thrive. Traditional marketing strategies are evolving, and a new contender has emerged on the scene: B2B influencer marketing. While influencer marketing is often associated with B2C brands, its potential in the B2B realm is undeniable. This blog post delves into the world of B2B influencer marketing, exploring its benefits, strategies, and why it's a game-changer for businesses aiming to enhance their credibility and drive success.

The Shift in B2B Marketing Landscape

Historically, B2B marketing relied heavily on direct sales tactics, cold calls, and industry events. However, with the rise of digital platforms and the increasing importance of social media, the way businesses interact with each other has transformed. Decision-makers and professionals are now seeking authentic, valuable content that informs and educates. This shift has created a ripe environment for B2B influencer marketing to flourish.

The B2B influencer marketing landscape is gaining considerable attention and financial momentum. The sector surpassed the $22 billion revenue mark by the close of 2022, an impressive feat even when compared to branded social media marketing.

According to Hubspot's 2022 Marketing Industry Trends report, influencer marketing has emerged as the preferred strategy for marketers this year. This trend holds true for brands that have recently embraced the concept, driven in part by the rise of smaller, specialized influencers across various social platforms. In 2023, hubspot's  consumer trends survey shows that 31% of social media users prefer to discover new products on social media through an influencer they follow over any other social format or channel.

These influencers, which can include employees, customers, or industry experts, don't necessarily require a massive follower count. However, an actively engaged audience is crucial. Collaborating with these micro-influencers to target specific audience segments can deliver a substantial return on investment (ROI) without straining budgets.

If there are lingering doubts about the profitability of influencer marketing, consider this: Companies are generating $5.20 in revenue for every $1 spent on influencer marketing, as reported by InfluencerHub. A Nielsen study in conjunction with TapInfluence confirmed that B2B influencer marketing yields an impressive 11x ROI compared to traditional advertising.

To make the most of this strategy in 2023, here's what you should be aware of:

  • Understanding influencer marketing
  • Mechanisms of influencer marketing
  • Identifying B2B influencers
  • Evaluating its effectiveness

This guide will address the most prevalent questions regarding the integration of influencer marketing into B2B marketing strategies, ensuring a profitable outcome in the current year.

Top 3 B2B Marketing Challenges

B2B buying decisions are often made by groups

Sales cycles tend to be longer

Markets tend to be smaller

The Essence of B2B Influencer Marketing

B2B influencer marketing revolves around identifying and partnering with influential figures who hold sway over your target audience. These influencers are not necessarily celebrities but rather individuals with extensive knowledge, experience, and respect within a specific industry or niche. By associating your brand with these thought leaders, your B2B company gains instant credibility and access to a highly engaged audience.

Some common B2B influencers include:

  • Executives
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Keynote speakers
  • Thought leaders
  • Authors/bloggers
  • Podcasters

Building Trust through Authority

In the B2B realm, trust is the cornerstone of successful relationships. Decision-makers seek out partners and solutions they can rely on for the long term. This is where B2B influencer marketing shines. When a respected industry influencer advocates for your brand, their endorsement adds a layer of authenticity and authority that traditional advertising simply can't replicate.

These influencers have already established a strong rapport with their audience through insightful content, expert opinions, and educational resources. As a result, when they vouch for your product or service, it carries more weight than a direct sales pitch. Their endorsement helps bridge the trust gap that often exists in B2B transactions.

Driving Growth through Thought Leadership

In the B2B space, making purchase decisions often involves thorough research and consideration. Prospective clients are looking for more than just a solution; they're seeking a partner who understands their challenges and can offer innovative insights. This is where B2B influencer marketing plays a pivotal role.

Collaborating with influential thought leaders allows your brand to tap into their reservoir of knowledge and perspectives. By co-creating content, participating in webinars, or speaking at industry events together, you position your brand as a thought leader in its own right. This not only helps attract new leads but also nurtures existing relationships, encouraging repeat business and referrals.

List of Influencer Marketers in the B2B Space

B2B Influencer Marketing Dynamics and Distinctions from B2C

As an entrepreneur, you might have observed the diminishing returns of paid advertising in recent times. This is where influencer marketing steps in, offering an authentic voice for your products and potentially boosting sales while reducing expenses.

Jay Baer notes that despite challenges like scalability and disclosure, influencer marketing is here to stay. The presence of numerous influencer marketing software firms backed by venture capital solidifies its significance. However, Baer cautions that choosing influencers requires discernment, as influence should not be confused with audience size.

In the B2B landscape, some considerations hold particular importance for initiating an influencer marketing campaign:

  1. B2B campaigns generally require longer timeframes compared to B2C.
  2. Identifying the voices your customers listen to is pivotal, often favoring micro-influencers with high engagement over massive follower counts.
  3. You'll likely need to seek out influencers instead of waiting for them to approach your brand.

Notably, some exceptional influencer programs have reversed this dynamic, with influencers voluntarily participating due to the brand's content and community quality.

Benefits of B2B Influencer Marketing

  1. Building Credibility and Trust:In the B2B arena, trust is the cornerstone of every successful partnership. Influencers, who are experts and thought leaders in their respective niches, bring with them a level of credibility that can significantly enhance a B2B brand's reputation. When an industry influencer endorses a B2B product or service, it acts as a valuable stamp of approval. Potential clients are more likely to trust a brand when it's associated with a respected figure within their industry.
  2. Reaching Targeted Audiences:Influencers have spent years cultivating engaged and loyal followings within specific niches. B2B brands can leverage this by partnering with influencers whose audiences align with their own target demographics. This precision targeting ensures that marketing efforts are directed towards the right decision-makers and stakeholders, maximizing the chances of generating quality leads.
  3. Humanizing the Brand:B2B marketing often grapples with the challenge of appearing impersonal. Influencer marketing injects a human touch by putting a relatable face to the brand. When an influential figure engages with a brand on a personal level, it becomes easier for potential clients to connect with the brand's values and mission.
  4. Generating High-Quality Content:Content is king, and influencers are masters at creating captivating, relevant content that resonates with their audiences. By collaborating with influencers, B2B brands gain access to a stream of high-quality content that can be repurposed across various channels. This not only saves time and resources but also ensures that the brand's message is delivered in a way that resonates with the target audience.
  5. Expanding Reach and Visibility:Influencers have a far-reaching online presence that can extend a B2B brand's reach beyond its traditional boundaries. When an influencer shares content about a B2B product or service, it's exposed to a wider audience, increasing the brand's visibility and potential for growth.
  6. Enhanced SEO and Online Authority:Backlinks from influential sources can significantly boost a B2B brand's search engine rankings and online authority. When influencers mention or link to a brand in their content, it adds credibility in the eyes of search engines and potential clients alike.
  7. Driving Lead Generation:Influencer marketing has the potential to drive lead generation by attracting the attention of decision-makers and influencers within other companies. A well-executed influencer campaign can lead to partnerships, collaborations, and networking opportunities that can propel a B2B brand forward.
  8. Staying Ahead in Industry Trends:Influencers are at the forefront of industry trends, making them invaluable sources of insight and knowledge. By engaging with influencers, B2B brands can tap into the latest trends, innovations, and market shifts, allowing them to adapt their strategies accordingly.

Is B2B Influencer Marketing Suitable for Your Brand?

If your company provides products or services to other businesses, exploring B2B influencer marketing could be beneficial. Here are a couple of factors to consider:

Growing Interest in B2B Influencer Marketing

Influencers are commonly associated with promoting brands on platforms like Instagram and TikTok. They authentically introduce new products, highlighting their value in their own lives. You likely follow some of these influencers and can attest to the impact of their endorsements. Although B2B influencer marketing is not as prevalent as the familiar B2C counterpart, its effectiveness is comparable. This is becoming evident to B2B brands.

According to a recent survey, around 26% of B2B marketers expressed plans to venture into influencer marketing for the first time in 2022. Another 17% anticipated it becoming a significant contributor to business growth.

Research indicates that influencer marketing can yield 11 times greater ROI compared to many other digital marketing approaches. B2B companies are now recognizing the potential benefits and are increasingly interested in adopting this strategy.

Priority on Building Brand Awareness in B2B Marketing

While influencer marketing can address various B2B marketing objectives, the primary focus is often on building brand awareness.

Here's a breakdown of the top five goals that B2B companies achieve through influencer marketing:

  • Brand awareness: 91%
  • Generating demand and leads: 85%
  • Establishing trust: 81%
  • Educating audiences: 79%
  • Nurturing leads: 68%

Where Does B2B Influencer Marketing Take Place?

B2B influencer marketing is present across major social media platforms, but LinkedIn appears to be favored by most CMOs over Instagram, TikTok, and other dominant B2C channels.

Here's the distribution of social media platforms predominantly utilized by CMOs to implement their strategies in 2022:

  • LinkedIn: 81.1%
  • Blogs: 7.8%
  • YouTube: 5.8%
  • Instagram: 4.1%
  • Facebook: 2.1%

Exploring the Popularity of LinkedIn in B2B Influencer Marketing

LinkedIn boasts more than 875 million users spanning 200 countries, all of whom are professionals. Approximately 21% of these users hold senior decision-making positions. Additionally, around 58 million companies are listed on LinkedIn, positioning it as an ideal platform to market products or services to the intended audience.

For those considering a B2B influencer marketing approach, LinkedIn offers a compelling environment to engage with potential customers.

Real World Examples of B2B Influencer Marketing

1. Adobe's Creative Voices Influencer Program

Adobe, a global leader in creative software solutions, recognized the potential of harnessing influencers to showcase their products' capabilities. They launched the "Adobe Creative Voices" influencer program, which collaborated with creative professionals like graphic designers, photographers, and artists. These influencers created captivating content demonstrating the remarkable things they could achieve using Adobe's software suite.

Through partnerships with influencers who were already respected figures within the creative community, Adobe managed to humanize their brand and foster deeper connections with their audience. By showcasing real-world use cases and success stories, the campaign effectively demonstrated the practicality of Adobe's products in a way that resonated with their target audience.

Adobe's ambassadors are social media marketing, business, and creativity leaders from the Adobe Express community passionate about helping others find their voice online and beyond.

2. IBM's #NewWaytoWork Campaign

IBM, a titan in the technology industry, leveraged B2B influencer marketing to promote their innovative approach to modern workplace solutions. The #NewWaytoWork campaign sought to position IBM as a thought leader in the evolving landscape of work and business technology.

IBM partnered with influencers from diverse backgrounds, including technology thought leaders, futurists, and business consultants. These influencers shared insights, trends, and predictions related to the future of work, often tying these discussions back to IBM's solutions. By engaging thought leaders who were already influential within the technology and business sectors, IBM effectively amplified their message and positioned themselves at the forefront of workplace innovation.

3. Cisco's Champions of Change

Cisco, a global leader in networking and IT solutions, recognized the potential of B2B influencer marketing to build credibility and trust within their industry. They launched the "Champions of Change" campaign, collaborating with IT professionals and experts who were already respected voices in the field.

The campaign featured blog posts, videos, and webinars where these influencers shared their insights and experiences with Cisco's solutions. By showcasing real professionals who had successfully implemented Cisco's products to solve complex challenges, the campaign resonated strongly with other IT professionals seeking solutions for their own organizations.

4. SAP's Tech Unknown Podcast

SAP, a leading enterprise software company, took a unique approach to B2B influencer marketing by launching the "Tech Unknown" podcast. This podcast featured in-depth conversations with industry thought leaders, futurists, and innovators, discussing emerging trends and technologies impacting businesses.

SAP's choice of influential guests and the insightful content they produced helped them establish themselves as a trusted source of information and guidance in the ever-evolving tech landscape. The podcast not only showcased SAP's commitment to staying at the forefront of technology but also positioned them as thought leaders and collaborators within the tech community.

The Rise of B2B Influencers

Gone are the days when influencers were only associated with fashion, lifestyle, and travel. The B2B realm has its own set of influencers who wield considerable influence within their niches. These individuals are respected authorities, industry veterans, or niche experts who have garnered a loyal following through their expertise and thought-provoking content.

  • Neil Patel

Neil Patel is a name that resonates with anyone remotely involved in digital marketing. He is the co-founder of NP Digital and has become an undisputed thought leader in the field of online marketing and entrepreneurship. Through his blogs, podcasts, and videos, Patel provides valuable insights, tips, and strategies for businesses looking to scale their digital presence. His expertise extends to SEO, content marketing, social media, and beyond.

  • Rand Fishkin

Rand Fishkin, the co-founder of Moz and SparkToro, is a prominent figure in the world of SEO and inbound marketing. His journey from Moz's humble beginnings to creating an influential marketing software platform has made him a sought-after B2B influencer. Rand's candid insights into the challenges and opportunities of the digital landscape resonate with marketers and business leaders alike.

  • Ann Handley

Ann Handley is a veteran B2B influencer who focuses on the power of storytelling in marketing. As the Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs and a bestselling author, she champions the importance of crafting compelling narratives that connect with audiences on a deeper level. Handley's emphasis on empathy and authenticity in B2B marketing has helped countless professionals reshape their strategies.

  • Jay Baer

Jay Baer is a customer experience and marketing expert who has co-authored multiple bestselling books on the subject. His company, Convince & Convert, provides advisory services to businesses striving to improve their customer engagement and digital marketing efforts. Through his presentations, podcasts, and content, Baer offers a fresh perspective on turning customer complaints into loyalty-building opportunities.

  • Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner, CEO of Marketing Insider Group, is renowned for his insights into content marketing and employee advocacy. With a focus on humanizing B2B marketing, Brenner encourages brands to create content that resonates with real people and addresses their pain points. His vision aligns well with the evolving trends of authenticity and connection in the B2B landscape.

  • Mari Smith

As a leading expert in Facebook marketing and social media strategy, Mari Smith empowers businesses to harness the power of platforms to drive growth. With her engaging presentations and courses, Smith navigates the intricate world of social media algorithms and ad strategies, offering valuable guidance on how to effectively reach and engage B2B audiences.

The Role of Podcasts in B2B Marketing

Podcasts have undergone a remarkable transformation in recent years. From being primarily an entertainment platform, they've evolved into a versatile medium that appeals to a wide range of audiences, including professionals and decision-makers in the B2B sphere. The reasons for this rise are multifaceted:

  1. Convenience and Accessibility: Podcasts provide a unique advantage in the busy world of B2B professionals. They can be consumed on the go – during commutes, workouts, or even while doing routine tasks – making them a convenient way to absorb valuable insights without disrupting daily routines.
  2. In-Depth Exploration: Podcasts offer a platform for deep-dives into various subjects. B2B marketers can leverage this to explore industry trends, share expert knowledge, and dissect complex topics, showcasing their expertise to a captive audience.
  3. Authenticity and Connection: The conversational nature of podcasts fosters a sense of connection between hosts and listeners. B2B marketers can utilize this intimacy to build authentic relationships with their audience, humanizing their brand in the process.

Integrating Influencer Marketing into the B2B Buying Journey

Gone are the days when sales teams held exclusive knowledge for buyers. Nowadays, with search engines granting us instant access to information and a decreased reliance on face-to-face interactions, buyers swiftly gain an understanding of their needs.

Therefore, it's crucial to grasp your audience's experience: their thought processes, the solutions they're searching for, and their approach to finding answers. Conducting this research empowers you to formulate a documented plan that aligns your content with the different phases of the buyer's process.

However, a lack of profound audience understanding can create a gap between your business and potential customers. This often results in sharing content that doesn't truly resonate with readers, leading to waning interest.

In general, the average B2B buyer cycles through their purchasing journey multiple times, revisiting the six purchasing stages defined by Gartner:

  • "Identifying the problem. 'We need to address an issue.'"
  • "Exploring solutions. 'What options are available to solve our problem?'"
  • "Building requirements. 'What precise functionalities do we need from the purchase?'"
  • "Selecting a supplier. 'Does this fulfill our requirements?'"
  • "Validation. 'We believe we have the right solution, but we must ensure it.'"
  • "Creating consensus. 'We need everyone to be on the same page.'"

To prevent losing potential prospects, it's important to consider the buyer's current stage in their journey, determine how to effectively communicate with them, and select the appropriate channels for reaching out.

The B2B buying journey is a complex process that involves multiple stages, from awareness and consideration to decision-making and post-purchase evaluation. Unlike B2C transactions, B2B purchases typically involve longer sales cycles, larger investments, and a focus on building relationships. Here's how influencer marketing fits into the B2B buying journey:

  • Awareness Stage:

At the beginning of the B2B buying journey, potential buyers are identifying challenges and seeking solutions. This is where influencers can shine by creating informative content that addresses pain points and offers valuable advice. Influencers can share their expertise through blog posts, videos, webinars, and social media content, positioning themselves as credible sources.

  • Consideration Stage:

During this stage, buyers are evaluating different solutions and vendors. Influencers can provide in-depth reviews, comparisons, and case studies to help buyers make informed decisions. Their insights add a layer of trust and authenticity that traditional marketing efforts might lack.

  • Decision-making Stage:

Influencers can play a significant role in the decision-making process by offering personalized advice, answering questions, and addressing concerns. They can also facilitate connections with vendors, creating a bridge between buyers and sellers.

  • Post-Purchase Stage:

The journey doesn't end with the purchase. Influencers can continue to add value by providing tips for successful implementation, sharing best practices, and offering ongoing support. This helps to build long-term relationships and showcases the influencer's commitment to the success of their audience.

Strategies for B2B Influencer Marketing Success

  • Identify Relevant Influencers

The first step in any successful influencer marketing campaign is identifying the right influencers. For B2B brands, the focus should be on thought leaders, industry experts, and professionals who have a strong reputation in your niche. Look for individuals who actively share insightful content, have a substantial following of fellow professionals, and align with your brand's values and objectives.

  • Set Clear Objectives

Before diving into an influencer marketing campaign, define your objectives. Are you looking to increase brand awareness, generate leads, or drive conversions? Setting clear goals will help you choose the right influencers, craft relevant content, and measure the success of your campaign.

  • Collaborate on Relevant Content

Effective B2B influencer marketing goes beyond product endorsements. Instead, focus on creating valuable, informative content that resonates with your target audience. Collaborate with influencers to develop thought-provoking articles, industry insights, case studies, and informative videos. This content should demonstrate your expertise and provide value to your audience.

  • Showcase Authenticity and Trust

Authenticity is key in B2B influencer marketing. Encourage influencers to share their genuine opinions and experiences with your brand or products. Authentic endorsements from respected industry figures can build trust and credibility among your target audience.

  • Leverage Different Platforms

While LinkedIn is a natural fit for B2B influencer marketing, don't limit yourself to a single platform. Depending on your audience and goals, consider utilizing other social media platforms, industry forums, webinars, and podcasts to reach a wider audience.

  • Develop Long-Term Relationships

Building enduring relationships with influencers can yield significant benefits for B2B brands. Long-term collaborations allow influencers to deeply understand your brand and its values, resulting in more authentic content that resonates with their followers. Moreover, repeated interactions can solidify your brand's position as an industry leader.

  • Measure and Analyze

Just like any marketing effort, measuring the effectiveness of your influencer campaigns is crucial. Track metrics such as engagement rates, website traffic, lead generation, and conversion rates. Analyzing the data will help you refine your approach, optimize future campaigns, and ensure that you're achieving your desired outcomes.

  • Compliance and Transparency

In B2B influencer marketing, compliance and transparency are vital. Ensure that influencers disclose their relationships with your brand, as required by regulations and guidelines. Transparency builds trust and credibility among your audience.

Finding influencers for your campaign

No matter which approach you intend to take when establishing your B2B influencer marketing initiative, without identifying suitable influencers, you'll struggle to connect with the appropriate business audience.

To maximize your chances of success, it's crucial to grasp the B2B buyers you're aiming to reach. To achieve this, develop a detailed B2B buyer persona, essentially a thorough profile of your desired buyer.

Once you have this comprehensive profile, delve into researching businesses that closely align with the services you provide. Explore the websites they frequent, the trade organizations they belong to, their interactions on Linkedin, and their social media follows.

By accumulating and leveraging this information, you'll be equipped to paint a vivid picture. This understanding will guide you in tailoring content to engage with them effectively and in identifying industry influencers to leverage. At this stage, you'll have a solid notion of the influencers worth connecting with. However, if you require assistance in identifying the best candidates, the following tools can aid you:

  • BuzzSumo
  • Followerwonk
  • Pitchbox
  • GroupHigh
  • Traackr
  • Onalytica

Establish a comprehensive buyer persona, conduct thorough market research, utilize the aforementioned tools to pinpoint the most valuable influencers for your marketing endeavors, and you'll be ready to establish new business relationships swiftly.

After sourcing your influencers, it's time to implement your strategy. An effective B2B influencer marketing approach comprises three additional components:

  1. Develop a content campaign tailored to the influencers you're targeting.
  2. Formulate a secondary marketing campaign aimed at the influencers to enhance awareness among a broader group of potential buyers.
  3. Monitor key metrics pertaining to reach, sales, and brand awareness to gauge the ongoing success of your campaign.

Becoming an Influencer Yourself: The Art of Personal Branding

Mastering the art of personal branding can open doors to numerous opportunities. So, if you're looking to position yourself as a B2B influencer, here's your comprehensive guide to getting started:

Understanding Personal Branding

At its core, personal branding is the process of intentionally shaping and managing the way you present yourself to the world. Just like companies have unique brand identities that distinguish them from competitors, individuals can also create a personal brand that communicates their values, expertise, and personality. It's about showcasing your unique strengths and attributes in a way that connects with your target audience on a personal level.

The Foundation: Authenticity

Authenticity is the cornerstone of personal branding. Your personal brand should be a genuine reflection of who you are, what you believe in, and what you bring to the table. Trying to emulate someone else's style or values might lead to short-term gains, but it's authenticity that builds lasting connections. Take the time to introspect and identify your core values, passions, and strengths. Your personal brand should be an extension of your true self, not a mask you put on.

Defining Your Brand

  1. Identify Your Unique Value Proposition (UVP): What sets you apart? Define the skills, experiences, and qualities that make you unique. How can these qualities benefit others? Your UVP forms the backbone of your personal brand.
  2. Craft Your Story: Every powerful personal brand has a compelling story behind it. Share your journey, including your challenges, successes, and lessons learned. A well-crafted narrative humanizes your brand and helps others connect with your experiences.
  3. Target Audience: Determine who your target audience is. Tailor your brand messaging and content to resonate with their needs, interests, and aspirations. Speak directly to them and provide value that addresses their pain points.

Building Your Brand Online

In our digital age, the online realm is where your personal brand can truly flourish. Here are some strategies to consider:

  1. Consistent Visual Identity: Choose a consistent color palette, typography, and imagery for your online presence. This visual cohesiveness enhances brand recognition.
  2. Social Media Engagement: Engage thoughtfully on social media platforms that align with your personal brand. Share valuable content, participate in relevant discussions, and showcase your expertise.
  3. Content Creation: Establish yourself as a thought leader by creating and sharing insightful content. This could be in the form of blog posts, videos, podcasts, or infographics. Consistency is key.
  4. Networking: Build meaningful relationships within your industry or field. Attend events, webinars, and conferences to connect with like-minded individuals and potential collaborators.
  5. Website or Portfolio: Create a personal website or online portfolio that showcases your achievements, projects, and the value you bring. This is your digital home base and a space to tell your story in more depth.

Maintaining and Evolving Your Brand

Personal branding is an ongoing process that requires maintenance and adaptation. Keep these points in mind:

  1. Listen and Respond: Pay attention to feedback and engage with your audience. Address questions, acknowledge comments, and use feedback to refine your brand strategy.
  2. Stay Current: Industries and trends evolve. Keep your skills up to date and be open to learning. A relevant personal brand is a dynamic one.
  3. Stay True to Your Values: As you evolve, ensure that your personal brand evolves with you. However, always stay true to your core values to maintain authenticity.

Measuring ROI in B2B Influencer Marketing

Challenges of Measurement for B2B Businesses

While there may be more pressure on B2B firms to provide evidence of success in marketing campaigns, there are numerous challenges facing companies seeking concrete evidence of campaign success. Some of these are due to the nature of the B2B business relationship. However, some of these issues are more inherent in influencer marketing overall.

B2B products are often large and complex. It is typical for B2B companies to produce niche products, for whom there are few potential customers. As a result, many B2B companies sell to only a small number of clients, but they often involve high-value contracts.

Marketing in this situation can be tricky. You have to pinpoint your target market and make your marketing campaigns far more focused than most B2C companies have to.

This situation also emphasizes the importance to B2B companies of retaining customers. If you have only a few high-value customers, each one is of much value to you, and you would feel their loss keenly.

The typical B2B buyer follows a slow, well-researched journey before he or she finally decides on making a purchase. It is not like a standard B2C purchase where a consumer sees a promotion, like what he or she sees, and buys there and then. B2B firms usually have long sales cycles.

As a result, it is difficult to know for sure which item of marketing leads to a particular sale. This lack of a clear pathway Is particularly so with content marketing. The typical B2B buyer goes through many stages before signing a contract.

According to a recent Forrester survey , an average B2B buyer performs more than half his or her research online. That means that he/she will  have seen many different items of content, including a range of material presented by your influencers.

Source: forrester.com

The buyer will likely have seen a mix of content across digital and social channels, from peers, on YouTube, at events, and through sales reps, before he/she makes any decision.

Indeed, if there is a significant B2B purchasing decision to be made, it is unlikely it will be up to a single buyer to make the decision. The person researching the purchase will look at a range of options and, depending on company policy, could well formulate a short list to give to a team of people to make the ultimate buying decision.

B2B influencers do not restrict themselves to the traditional online platforms. They are far more likely to have physical meet-ups with their followers than B2C influencers. B2B influencers will often speak at conferences, trade shows and even local business events, such as After Five networking occasions.

The lack of a clearcut buying process provides an immense challenge when it comes to measuring the effectiveness of influence. How do you measure the effectiveness of somebody who talks positively about your product at a local trade show? This is particularly the case for a genuine supporter of your product whom you are not paying for their praise.

It also means that it is difficult to isolate particular B2B marketing messages. It is tough to know how much impact one specific blog post or social media message has on a company’s buying decision. But, taken as a whole, an entire B2B influencer marketing campaign could have an immense impact, and ultimately change the views of a buying company.

How do you measure the ROI of B2B influencer marketing?

So what are your goals for your influencer campaign? If you’re struggling, here are a few common goals for a B2B influencer marketing campaign:

  1. Increase brand awareness
  2. Reach new target audiences
  3. Increase sales
  4. Manage brand reputation

To measure these you’d want to use metrics like:

  1. Clicks
  2. Impressions
  3. Conversions
  4. Sales

Leveraging B2B Influencers for Optimal Results in 2023

Several content trends will dominate influencer marketing in 2023:

  • Video content retains its prominence, with Instagram Reels and TikTok fostering collaboration.
  • Diversity and inclusion efforts extend to influencer marketing for effective change and alignment with brand values.
  • The "No-Edit Edit" gains traction, focusing on authenticity through subtle photo edits.
  • Authenticity gains importance, encouraging real-life personality representation.
  • Ongoing partnerships yield superior results, requiring multiple touchpoints to drive sales.
  • Micro and nano-influencers shine with their high engagement rates.
  • New social platforms like TikTok and creator tools offer fresh avenues.
  • CGI influencers, like Lil Miquela, emerge as a novel marketing force.

The Future of B2B Influencer Marketing

As B2B industries continue to evolve, influencer marketing will likely remain a critical strategy for building trust and driving growth. The authenticity and authority brought by influencers will continue to resonate with decision-makers who value expertise and insights.

In the digital age, where information overload is common, B2B influencer marketing cuts through the noise and offers a beacon of trustworthiness. By strategically partnering with industry influencers, B2B companies can position themselves as leaders, foster meaningful relationships, and ultimately, thrive in a competitive landscape.

For the future of B2B SaaS selling, particularly the trend towards leveraging "workfluencers" on LinkedIn for marketing and sales, aligns with several emerging trends and strategies in the B2B SaaS marketing space.

  1. B2B SaaS Marketing Evolution: There's a growing recognition that B2B SaaS marketing needs to adapt and evolve. Traditional channels like email, calling, and SEO/SEM still play a role but face challenges like saturation and increasing costs. In response, there's a move towards more innovative and less saturated channels to reach targeted audiences more effectively and with lower Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC).
  2. Role of LinkedIn in B2B SaaS Marketing: LinkedIn is becoming increasingly important for B2B SaaS companies. It's a platform where professionals are already thinking about work-related content, making them more receptive to B2B marketing efforts. This environment is perfect for SaaS brands to expand their reach, build brand awareness, and grow their user base through both organic and paid advertising options.
  3. Workfluencers as a Strategy: Leveraging B2B influencers or "workfluencers" who have strong content and followings aimed at target verticals is becoming a viable strategy. These influencers can showcase solutions with practical use-case videos and business case metrics, providing real results and adding credibility. This strategy aligns well with the increasing importance of personal branding for employees, where individual team members act as brand advocates, leveraging their networks and credibility to benefit the brand.
  4. Content and Storytelling in B2B SaaS: Content marketing remains a cornerstone in B2B SaaS marketing strategies. With the rise of generative AI tools, creating unique and quality content that stands out is more important than ever. Using storytelling frameworks like Pixar's or Animalz's can help in crafting compelling narratives that resonate with your audience.
  5. Video Marketing: The rising popularity of video content across platforms like Instagram Reels, YouTube shorts, and TikTok indicates a shift in content consumption preferences. Video marketing is a potent way to engage potential customers, providing an effective way to reduce friction in the sales cycle and boost social media engagement rates.
  6. Influencer Marketing in B2B SaaS: Influencer marketing, traditionally seen in the B2C space, is making its way into B2B SaaS. This approach involves working with influencers to create content, reach out to target audiences, identify new audiences, amplify core values, and test launch products.

These trends indicate a shift towards a more integrated and personal approach in B2B SaaS marketing, where building relationships, leveraging personal and influencer networks, and creating engaging, high-quality content are key to success.

Conclusion

B2B influencer marketing is more than just a trend; it's a strategic approach that can reshape the way B2B companies engage with their audience. By collaborating with industry experts and thought leaders, businesses can build trust, credibility, and authority in their niche. As the B2B landscape continues to evolve, influencer marketing provides a powerful tool to foster meaningful connections, drive success, and create a lasting impact.

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