B2B Sales influencer marketing: A how-to guide

Unleash the Power of B2B Sales Influencer Marketing: Strategies to Connect, Collaborate, and Optimize for Success

Rory Sadler
June 23, 2023
February 24, 2024
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Unleash the Power of B2B Sales Influencer Marketing: Strategies to Connect, Collaborate, and Optimize for Success

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Okay, okay, we’ve all heard how important B2B sales are, how they’re different from customer-oriented sales, and how they’re growing at an unprecedented rate. Everyone knows it’s important, right?

But how the heck do you do it? Because it seems to be another example of elusive sales concepts, where most of the people who are really good at it shrug and quote the Karate Kid or something when asked for actionable advice on how to replicate their B2B sales success.

First: What is it?

You can’t hit a target you can’t identify, so it’s important to know what business-to-business (B2B) sales influencer marketing is. B2B influencer marketing is like business-to-customer (B2C) influencer marketing.

Both are when a company leverages the social influence of a person to market its products or services. The only difference lies in the targeted audience. We’ve all been exposed to B2C, where an influencer posts about the products they’re promoting on social media, bringing new business to their partner company that way.

A B2B influencer (also called a B2B sales influencer) is a person with sway in their specific industry. They have a high level of authenticity, authority, or impressive expertise in their industry. They have a lot of pull in their industry and are usually industry insiders, prominent consumers, specialized journalists, or a highly trusted employee. They get their influence not from their celebrity status but from their expertise and know-how.

B2B influencers can look like a lot of different people, such as:

  • Executives
  • Entrepreneurs
  • LinkedIn influencers
  • Keynote speakers
  • Thought leaders
  • Authors
  • Bloggers
  • Podcasters

We’d be remiss if we didn’t touch on LinkedIn influencers. These industry pros have built a following by sharing tips and advice with their audience. These audiences are usually highly niche, which can make the ROI much higher because their audience is much more concentrated.

Companies will collaborate with these insiders to produce content or simply partner to showcase their products or service. They leverage the expert's influence to make introductions and have added credibility.

How to use B2B sales influencer marketing?

Define your goals

Take the time to sit down and determine exactly what you’re looking to accomplish. Are you trying to generate leads or brand awareness? Maybe you’re more interested in building trust in the brand or positioning yourselves as a major player in the industry. The good news is that B2B influencer marketing is perfectly suited for all these goals.

This goal will determine how you navigate the rest of your campaign, so choosing a clearly definable goal is important. What does building more trust in the brand look like? How will you know that you’ve reached that goal?

What bite-sized goalposts can you identify on the way toward your overarching goal? How will you know you're getting these goals and on the right path? Defining this early makes the rest of the process more manageable and easier to navigate.

Define your story and focus

What’s the story you want to tell about your brand? What aspect of your company, product, or service do you want to highlight with your B2B influencer? You can use this story to focus on what makes you different, why a buyer should choose you, or other aspects that the creator you’re partnering with can highlight.

An important part of defining your story is understanding what kind of platforms you’re going to target. Different stories play with more or less gravitas on various platforms. The short snapshots you can get on Instagram might not work as well as leveraging a Facebook or LinkedIn post for your heartfelt story.

B2B influencers can leverage TikTok to shift a company's image. Influencers creating user-generated content (UGC) for a company can help that company pull away from that plasticky, perfectly polished aesthetic that leaves a bad taste in customers' mouths, instead moving toward real human content people can connect with.

Find and connect with B2B creators

Remember, B2B influencers aren’t always found in the same places as B2C influencers. Trolling Instagram might not work best for finding the right B2B influencer for you. Instead, start with your current customer list.

Most companies have at least one executive or team member with a strong social media presence so leverage your relationship with a company already using your product or service. Use the fact that these people are both highly influential and already fans of your product to create a partnership that highlights the benefits of your product.

If current customers aren't viable, you can always try reaching out to thought leaders and creators within your niche.

Once you’ve managed to find a B2B creator, reach out to them with your vision of what your partnership could look like.

Agree on campaign briefs

Now that you have a creator, it’s time to design and send out campaign briefs. This clearly maps out the deliverables that will define the success of the creator.

We say design and agree because the creator needs enough wiggle room to put their own creative spin on the content, speaking in their own voice. After all, their voice and authenticity are what you’re using for this marketing strategy, so you don’t want to squash it. Use this opportunity to collaborate with them, coming up with messaging that will appeal to their audience.

Track content and performance

With any kind of influencer marketing (or any marketing, really), you can't just "set and forget." It requires consistent measuring and tracking to see how pieces of content are doing. This will help you figure out what’s working and what isn’t.

Don’t keep this information to yourself. Remember to keep your creator looped in so they can adjust their approach. Keep the lines of communication open so you can work together to tweak content and performance.

Optimize as you go

Keeping an eye on content and performance will help you figure out how to connect better. Find ways to optimize what’s working.

As an example of optimizing, let’s say you start noticing that content from creators with acronym titles (CEO, CFO, etc…) do the best with your target audience. You can optimize that by working to create an Avengers-esque team of executive creators that can act as brand ambassadors to optimize that influence with your target audience.

Rinse, report, and repeat

Keeping detailed reports of your influencer marketing program will enable you to continue to grow it, keeping the executive team sold on the concept. This will simplify tweaking and optimizing. It also makes it easier to duplicate it later.

Get under the influence

Now that you know how to win friends and influence other businesses, you can leverage this kind of marketing strategy for more meaningful marketing. What’s so great about influential marketing is that it brings a human component into marketing that we can sometimes forget. It brings back the personal connection, relying on the relationship of business to influencer to business.

At trumpet, we love B2B influencing for this. We believe in reaching out to people and connecting with them on a deeper level, cutting through all the extra stuff marketing often has to connect personally. For more tips and tricks on marketing more personally, check out our blog.

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