B2B Marketing 101: New Products Start At the Bottom

Learning how to market a new product normally starts with selling directly to the end-users. It’s cheap; it’s direct; and lets you see for yourself if there’s a strong demand for your product.

The simplicity of it all also allows you to build more personal connections with customers by opening yourself for direct feedback.

There is one obstacle though and that is you still need to identify a target market and the right channel to start with.

Why is this a problem? For one, there are so many communication channels to choose from (thanks to the internet). You can reach your market through your own website or via social media like Twitter or Facebook. On the other hand, you can still host the old-fashioned tradeshow where you share your products with a network of friends and friends-of-friends (who can then start selling them through community groups).

Getting the rough feedback from them is but a transition to your next step, adjusting your price to your actual target market. You’ll probably start with small businesses before hitting larger corporations given the varying levels of ease when connecting their decision-makers. (It’s also a good way to support those who are looking to use a new form of B2B product or service to further distinguish themselves from older albeit larger competitors).

Finally, you have to think about product sheets, photos, samples and a concise introductory letter to explain what they can benefit from you, highlighting figures like the profit margins, features and benefits, and proven sales records. In this regard, you might even say that the marketers of your regular products already have it easy!

This doesn’t even cover the possibility that targeting one particular target market will result in expansion to several others.

So while it sounds fun, what’s often forgotten about launching new products is that it’s the beginning. You could be basically starting over with handling fulfillments, returns, lead generation and a lot of other things that took a while to establish with your current products. With that said, here are some things that you may have forgotten after getting used to marketing and selling the usual:

  • The Right Buyer – One of your biggest challenges is finding the right buyers and in large numbers. You really have to go all the way back to identifying those with established the right connections in your target industries. You can’t always guarantee that the ones you’ve got now can promote something completely different.
  • Be Prepared – Develop a presentation and have the proper documents ready. You have to look back to the days when you first started working in sales.
  • Decision Maker Privileges – Here’s an example: Some mass retailers, such as Wal-Mart and other similar establishments, have local purchase programs that give managers authority to try local items. If you plan a new product to go global, you might want to target decision makers with similar authority.
  • Patience as always – Adaptation can take a year or maybe even longer. You should’ve already known this from the experiences with your other products so it shouldn’t be like you to get frustrated. Don’t stop if your product is considered a failure at the start because you know well enough that you just have to try again.

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