Business strategy: how to communicate with your customers?

Having your Cloud and Telecom business already well established, taking your first steps as an entrepreneur or thinking about this project... it is a lot of questioning! Indeed, to develop a long-term business, it is not enough to just have a technical proficiency of the offered solutions. There are many other keys to success: the sales strategy, the richness of your catalog, the ability to stay trained and up to date, the customer relations but also the ability to use marketing and to communicate with customers. In this regard, here are a few tips on how to build and implement a B2B communication strategy for your Cloud and Telecom company.


In brief:

- Why marketing and communication are essential to the development of your business

- What are the basic principles to know

- The indicative timetable for planned updates


1. B2B marketing and communication: for what, for whom?

Marketing consists of designing and promoting your offer by adapting it to the needs of your customers and taking into account the specific issues of your sector of activity. Through marketing, you activate different channels to get in touch with your leads and future customers. It is therefore a question of being visible, communicating and increasing your reputation in order to ultimately bring new customers to you.

In our operating scheme, we will speak of B2B or Business to Business marketing: companies talking to companies. This terminology contrasts with B2C: "Business to Consumer", from a company to an end consumer (an individual). While some of the basics are identical between the two, there are inevitably nuances and specificities specific to B2B marketing.

Many marketing opportunities exist for companies:

- Events, press, sales aids: trade fairs and meetings, press presence, sales documentation, goodies, fleet branding, etc.

- Digital marketing: website, social networks, email campaigns, webcasts and webinars, writing content for a blog...

Unlike B2C, the decision to buy or subscribe to a service does not depend on a single person but on a group with different levels of authority. We can note the common triptych of prescriber, buyer, decision-maker, for example. In a company, there are many stages (and sometimes it takes a lot of time) between the appearance of the need and the final choice. It is therefore essential to be visible and to be able to be among the first choices or to be able to respond to calls for tender. In the last ten years or so, the Cloud and Telecom activities have faced an expansion of the competition. All the more reason to take care of your image and communication with your customers (and future customers!).


2. Step by step: good practices for good communication

Having a dedicated marketing person, or department, is not always possible in a business, especially in a small business. It can therefore be useful to know some basic tips to avoid being lost and to offer maximum growth opportunities to your business from the start.


Tip 1: Assert your purpose

The starting point for good communication is to know yourself. Define your key message and how you want to be perceived. Answer these questions: Who am I? What do I do? What are my strengths and weaknesses? What are my value propositions? You will answer these questions for your company as an entity but you can also do the exercise for yourself as a leader.


Tip 2: Create your graphic identity

The impact of your message will not be optimal if it is not accompanied by a well thought-out image. Get a graphic designer to work on your brand's visual charter: it concerns your logo, your website and all your communication tools (publications on networks, commercial tools, goodies, etc.). The important thing is to be consistent and it is the repetition of the message + image duo that will help your brand grow.


Tip 3: Identify your personas

Once this is done, you need to know who you want to be visible to. Construct identity cards of your customers: this is what we call buyer personas. This methodology will help you build your messages, your content and your communication tone. Everything is factual, you just have to start by answering these questions: what is the profile of my target (age, profession, socio-professional category, etc.)? What are their problems, issues and fears? How do they get information? The more you know about your targets, the better you can communicate with them. To answer these questions and get an even more accurate profile, don't do it alone. You can get information directly from your client or from those who regularly work with them (sales, technical, etc.).


Tip 4: Keep your message simple and
simple and clear

No communication without repetition: this is the golden rule to remember in all circumstances. The simpler your message, the easier it will be for your customers to remember. Next, develop your communications by always capitalising on your main message in order to define your communication territory. Also think about defining a tone for the dissemination of this message: it must be adapted to you and your target. Be regular in your communication rhythm: consistency is an ally of visibility.


Tip 5: Set simple and measurable goals
and measurable goals

Setting goals is essential. They allow you to take a step back from your actions, to make adjustments if necessary or to confirm a success. They are illustrated by KPIs: " key performance indicators ". KPIs are used in all areas of a company: sales, technical, marketing, accounting and finance. For our purposes, the main KPIs are: number of contacts and leads, awareness, engagement and impression rates on social networks, opening and click rates for an emailing, SEO referencing if you create content, etc. Follow them regularly to remain reactive and to know the impact of your actions. An action has not been successful? Identify the reasons and improve the next one!


Tip 6: Select the right B2B communication materials

Being present everywhere is not a guarantee of good communication: choose the channels that correspond to your activity and will allow you to achieve your objectives. However, a website and a LinkedIn page remain essential. Update, animate and show your strengths on a daily basis! And, above all, go out and meet your targets... To communicate with your customers, give priority to events, either in person or online. Also remember that for service companies, one of the most effective promotional channels is word of mouth and recommendations. Beware, this can be a double-edged sword because dissatisfied customers are more likely to express themselves than satisfied ones. It is therefore important to take care of your customer relations and not hesitate to put forward customer cases and concrete examples of successful projects.


Tip 7: Don't forget competitive intelligence

There is no shortage of competition for your business. It is therefore important to remain alert to what is happening around you. Make a list of your main competitors and regularly monitor their product news (innovation, prices, etc.), their commercial events, their marketing actions (via social networks, for example) and corporate information (results, new agency, takeover, etc.). The aim is not to copy but to remain competitive with your clients!


3. Updating: managing your communication over time

For your business, marketing and communication are levers that should not be neglected since a company's image is at the heart of its customer relations. It helps you recruit (by supporting the sales team) and build loyalty. Your image is a living thing, it must evolve according to your activity, your customers, your competitors, the market... Here is a reminder of the fundamentals to be updated regularly.

- Social networks: it is important to post at least once a week. If you have a lot of news or create a lot of content, you can go up to 3 or 4 times a week. However, be careful not to drown your audience with too much content and remember to vary the type of content (photos, videos, sliders, article sharing, etc.). To help you, you can build an editorial calendar and find recurrences in your communication (according to topics, dates or events for example). You can start with a classic spreadsheet or use more advanced planning and programming tools (Buffer, Hootsuite, Sendible...).

- Sales aids: this includes presentations, brochures, business cards, product pages on the website. They should be updated as soon as necessary when elements change. A trade fair can be a good way to keep this information up to date.

- The company/who we are page: at least once a year if you communicate your annual results or your number of employees in particular. Particularly in B2B, this is often one of the most visited pages: these are reassuring elements for prospects who are discovering your company. This is particularly true in the case of a word-of-mouth recommendation, this page is an area dedicated to reassurance. It should give confidence in your company and highlight your company values or atmosphere.

- Market knowledge: it can be interesting to do a market exercise every year or so to complement your regular competitive intelligence. Taking stock of the SWOT, for example, gives you a broader view: what are the strengths and weaknesses of my company? What are the opportunities and threats in my wider environment? You should not hesitate to do this exercise with several people or, at least, to compare the views of several people. This reflection will also allow you to see if your vision is shared internally: your employees are also essential vectors of communication!

- The Internet site: for this essential communication space, it is necessary to plan a redesign approximately every 3 years. This makes it possible to keep up with graphic and usage trends. The notion of user experience is of great interest, especially for websites. A visitor arriving on your home page must be able to find the information that interests him quickly and understand what you are offering.

- Visual identity (logo, colours, typeface, etc.): this point should be developed according to your needs. If you have started your activity with provisional elements, this can be done quickly, once you have perhaps framed your activity more clearly. A global redesign can be done every 5 to 10 years. But it has to be part of a complete strategy, an evolving positioning and meet a real need. However, this change must not  transform your essence. The main thing is that your customers are not lost.

All major changes (website and visual identity) must be thought through in advance and in depth. Firstly, because these are time-consuming projects, but also because you may need to call on external service providers. Your specifications must therefore be complete, precise and relevant. These changes should not be too frequent in order to maintain a lasting coherence for your image and your communication.


Gathering all these good practices may seem "overwhelming", it is not necessarily a question of doing everything at once, especially if you are a small organisation without a person dedicated to these tasks. The key is to keep them in mind and try to apply them as much as possible, even if it is gradually. Try to see marketing and communication as an important support to your business activity. The two have a very close transversal relationship. For the rest, you can also count on external help: graphic design, strategy consulting, website development, press relations agency... At Sewan we have also developed automated tools for our partners so that they can access a batch of personalised content that can be easily distributed. On your marks, ready? Communicate!



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