Business to business or B2B startups have all the same challenges as any other new business trying to get a start and establish itself. However, there are some challenges that are specific to B2B startups. The five following challenges are some of the top B2B selling challenges to overcome:
- Generating leads – Unlike retail businesses, B2B startups don’t have a path bringing customers to the front door. Instead, many have to proactively market and reach out to customers to get their attention, and hopefully their business. More than 50 percent of B2B companies mark lead generation as their greatest ongoing challenge. One key way to overcome this challenge is to be razor focused on their target segment.
- Brand awareness & development – The second priority and challenge for many B2B startups involves developing their brand in such a way that it is readily recognized. Nearly 40 percent of businesses in the category mark brand development as the next step once they have their lead generation working at a comfortable enough level. One key way to address this challenge is to focus on one message.
- Organic Search – A good number of B2B have a major problem figuring out how to make search engine optimization work for their marketing on the Internet. It doesn’t help that the major search engines keep changing the rules of which SEO features work better and which ones don’t. Further, SEO structure and coding takes time to understand, and a B2B startups don't have the time or resources to figure it out. So often the need to rely on consultants without the knowledge and expertise of the business or the B2B selling process. Organic search takes time to pay dividends, B2B startups must be consistent in their content generation.
- Social media marketing – As simple as the format may be for those in their teens and 20s, social media as a marketing tool still seems to be a major challenge for many B2B founders, both in terms of committing regular resources to the effort as well as generating a successful response from readers and followers.
- Long Sales Cycles – For many B2B startups, this is a major challenge and a stark reality. Many startup founders make serious mistakes in under-estimating the time it takes to close initial sales. Human factors play a major role in the long sales cycles. One key way to address this challenge is preparation, pre-sales customer preparation is not simply about pitch decks, it is more important to understand the specific issues faced by customer you are pitching to.
- Demonstrating Value - As a new company, you have a new product or service. Your first customers decided to adopt your solution as they have a clear and present need. While your subsequent customers are likely to adopt the solution based on these referrals, it is very difficult to demonstrate long-term value in the short time frame. One key way to overcome this challenge is to focus on some key near-term benefits, with the promise of major long-term value.