There’s a lot of work that goes into finding the right influencer or key opinion leader (KOL) for your brand. How do you better the odds of getting a “yes” from the ones you really want to work with?
There can be plenty of speculation, and I am sure you have run into tons of advice for B2C brand partnerships but I’m here to get you the skinny for B2B collaboration bliss.
Who better for me to ask than our very own Jay Baer, founder of Convince and Convert and highly popular and sought after client experience and marketing speaker, author, and overall genius.
So let’s dig into what makes a great B2B influencer brand partnership. What spells success, what makes them cringe, what makes them intrigued, and what gets them to partake in a long-lasting relationship?
B2B Influencer Brand Partnership Insights with Jay Baer
Per the evolution of brand partnerships following a pandemic, what do brands need to consider when working with a B2B influencer?
For B2B in particular, the pandemic accelerated influencer marketing programs. This is because so much of B2B customer interactions have historically been done face-to-face. And with zero live events, something had to fill that awareness and lead generation (plus budget) gap. Influencer marketing definitely took up some of that slack.
While there are still far fewer “influencers” in B2B vs. B2C, there are a lot more than there were just a couple years ago. Thus, B2B companies have to pay more attention to who can actually drive desirable customer behavior, and how.
What incentives and arrangements work best for you as a B2B influencer?
This has always been true, and it’s even more true now that most companies have at least some interest in working with B2B influencers: treat it as a relationship, not a transaction. Doing one-off promotions for brands can work (a little). But it’s much more impactful when you can work with a brand over a period of months (or years), and really understand their products, their people, and their position in the market.
“Make influencer marketing a partnership, not a transaction.” - Jay Baer, Founder at Convince & Convert
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What tells you someone has done their research and you both have an aligned vision?
When brands reference work I’ve done previously, or even books I’ve published, and how that content aligns with their own go-to-market, you know they’ve done more than just look at Twitter follower counts, or some such.
What’s a turn off/ red flag when someone reaches out to you?
When they instantly ask about how many webinar registrations you’ll guarantee, or how many clicks the Linkedin post will accrue. That’s viewing influencer marketing as straight-up traffic generation, and that sells short the potential.
Which channel of communication do you prefer brands use to reach out to you?
I’m old. While I check seemingly a million “inboxes” of some sort every hour, email is still the easiest way for me to keep things organized.
How do you define success with your collaboration with a brand?
For me, it’s not so much data as it is a demo. A lot of the brands I work with are in the software business in some fashion. For me to ally myself with a brand in that category, I need to see what the software does, and firmly believe that it will help executives, marketers, and CX professionals (my core community). My general rule is that “If I wouldn’t pay for it, I won’t recommend others do”.
Are brands giving you creative freedom and flexibility?
I’ve been in the content creation and B2B influencer space for a decade or more. So I’m very comfortable going solo (or nearly so) when creating content and messaging and even ideas for full programs. That said, the more background I have, the better I’ll execute. Where it gets tricky – and this rarely happens – is when the brand wants you to say very specific things that don’t “sound like me.”
The other sticky wicket is when brands want to take an approach to the title, description, content for a webinar (for example), and I know it won’t be super interesting to an audience, but they insist on their positioning. This can be frustrating, because I’ve created more webinars personally than probably any B2B brand in the world, so I feel like I’ve got more data on what audiences want from that format.
Overall, what do you believe is the secret to successful influencer brand partnership?
The question says it all: make it a partnership, not a transaction. This is why Convince & Convert tries to work with a select number of great B2B brands each year, offering a full-scale program for each brand that includes multiple content types.