Have We Been Wrong About B2B Tech Marketing?

Author: Joe Abi Mansour

From productivity solutions like Microsoft 365, Zoom & Google Workplace to cloud infrastructure like AWS, Microsoft Azure and IBM Cloud, to bespoke enterprise solutions, Statista forecasts B2B tech to continue growing at a CAGR of 7.93% until 2028.

Enterprise tech brands understood that B2B is a whole different ball game than B2C. And for good reason. It is. But it has been treated differently in the wrong area: Creativity.

We assume that a person in the context of their work environment is an uninspired individual who's not moved by creativity. This unfounded assumption dilutes the creative and content potential of the brand.

Where B2B and B2C must be treated differently however, is in the process: Using the traditional sales funnel by taking leads from awareness to consideration to conversion, actually misses a few key steps that are unique to the B2B tech industry.

But first, what do we know about today's buyers? And how are they buying?

Millennials and Gen-z are shaping today's business landscape and with it, the solutions their companies adopt. According to Merit, 73% of 20-35 year olds are involved in the purchase decision process at their companies.

Most importantly, we're not selling to a single decision maker. We're selling to an entire organization, with people from a wide array of disciplines, and who have quite different needs. According to Gartner, the typical buying committee includes 10 stakeholders on average, from varying departments. IDG goes further to state that more than 20 different stakeholders have some sort of influence over any enterprise tech purchase.

And these are people who live in a constant continuum between their personal and professional lives: You can see them taking social media breaks at work, but you're just as likely to find them researching work-related topics on a beach during their vacation.
As they migrate to a new generation of digital platforms, with TikTok being the number 1 platform in MENA in terms of time spent according to, it is quite obvious that they're not there looking for entertainment only; they're also talking shop. From the deepest technical topics to lighthearted office humor, they create and consume all kinds of content centered around their industry and profession.

Winning in this industry means treating it differently in the right areas: Bringing back creativity to the content strategy, but also being mindful of the -often overlooked- blind spots in the B2B tech sales funnel.

1. Internal Appetite

Wedged between “awareness” and “consideration” is one of the most important steps in adopting enterprise tech solutions: Gauging internal appetite. That’s when key decision makers ask themselves if the solution will widely be utilised across the organization and what value it will bring to different functions and departments.

For this step of the funnel, enterprise tech players need to tailor their messaging around the different disciplines present in their clients' organizations.
Why does this solution matter to IT managers? What about the finance department, sales, HR, engineering? On TikTok, these professionals exist within communities where they share and exchange professional expertise, tips, and even jokes about their profession. The sheer size of these communities and the views they amass is a great testament to these behaviors: #marketing videos have more than 21 Billion views[1], and #teacher content got a staggering 87 Billion views[2]. B2B tech brands that create content aimed at building relevance among these communities, end-up building internal appetite within organisations, turning them into hot leads prime for conversion.
As employees understand the value of the solution in the context of their own function, they become much more prone to pre-pitch the solution internally, thus paving the way for the sales team.

2. Internal Sell-In

If we examine the stretch of time between consideration and conversion, we can identify another important blindspot: Internal sell-in.
Your key decision maker (or internal hero) is sold on the solution. Now it's their job to sell it internally to procurement, management, IT, finance, heads of departments, etc.

The only catch is that your sales team is not in the room while the solution is being pitched to important decision-makers. The question becomes: Is your internal hero equipped with the correct facts and figures to succeed? Is (s)he able to answer common questions?
According to GlobalWebIndex, IT and consulting key decision makers on TikTok are 16% more likely to use social platforms for work-related research.
Today's decision-makers get their information from 3 sources of truth:
  1. Branded content for key features, facts & figures.
  2. Industry experts For unbiased opinion and product comparison.
  3. Other users for authentic content based on real-world, hands-on experience.
TikTok allows brands to effectively empower internal heroes with the right resources in order to effectively sell the solution internally. This can be achieved through 3 streams: Branded always-on content that brings to life the key information about the solution, collaborating with the right industry experts through the TikTok Creators Marketplace, and stimulating the engagement of existing users.

3. Internal Adoption

When you're buying sports equipment, the sales person doesn't really care if you end-up running on your treadmill every day or if you hang your clothes on it. The sale is made and paid for.
This is not the case in B2B tech: In this industry, the signing of a contract doesn't conclude the sale. It's internal adoption that does: Are employees using your solution? How frequently? And are they extracting maximum value from it?

The answer to these questions determines contract renewal after the first year or the trial period. It also determines your ability to sell add-ons and upgrades.

And it all hinges on education.

When was the last time you went to the help section of your email client, your video editing software, or your cloud stack? Exactly. You don't. You just go online and look for the exact information you need, when you need it. “How to do VLookup between two sheets?”. “How to attach a document to a calendar invitation?”. And you find a 1-min video answering your exact question instead of drowning in countless pages of documentation.
As the behavior and needs of users is shifting, documentation is becoming:
  • Decentralized: Everybody has something to contribute. The brand, experts, and other users.
  • Atomic: One feature, one tip, one trick at a time.
  • Contextual: Specific to a particular use-case, profession or need.
This on-a-need-basis learning model adopted by today's professionals, coupled with the fact that it's impossible for a brand to single-handedly answer all the corner-cases, in all the languages and in all contexts, makes this blindspot particularly tricky.
Winning brands are leveraging TikTok to develop a voice within different communities and empowering creators to develop educational content, turning industry experts and regular users into generators of documentation at scale.

In short

In today's business environment, B2B tech marketing wins through creativity and not at its expense, as long as marketers keep in mind the full process that drives a purchase decision.

While the traditional funnel gives your brand the right to play and the right to compete in a market, it is only by being mindful of these blindspots that B2B tech brands can earn their right to win, and the right to dominate their market.

So next time you're thinking of your admittedly important awareness, consideration and conversion stages, it's also beneficial to think about what's happening between these steps, when you're not in the room, and ask yourself if you have the right strategy in place to win these hidden yet crucial stages of the funnel.