Did you know that there are a lot of similarities when it comes to marketing to consumers (B2C) and marketing to businesses (B2B)?

We can all agree that B2B marketing is innately different from B2C marketing – it is more logic-based than centered on emotion. But while its effectiveness requires different tactics, many of the challenges are similar.

It all starts with a plan, and often, hiring a consultant to get you started can help in the process. Here are just a few top-level things to include in the plan to make sure your B2B marketing efforts are successful.

Who is your audience? It requires research and market information to narrow down audiences in B2C marketing, but the challenge of identifying B2B targets can be far greater. If you don’t make this a priority, your ability to generate quality leads for your services will be significantly impacted. Using customer intelligence can be a crucial aid to defining your ideal targets – not only to present additional opportunities to current customers, but also to potentially identify new ones. Conduct an in-depth analysis of your current customers to assist with predicting new targets within your industry – when did they last purchase? How often do they purchase? What is the value of their purchases? – as well as to showcase more beneficial services to your current customers.

What’s your budget? Securing the appropriate budget and allocating resources to marketing efforts is a significant challenge for most B2B marketers. B2B marketing departments sometimes struggle with small budgets because of the difficulty in proving that efforts can be connected to business goals. Those individuals approving budgets want justification and return on investment. Prioritize your company’s must-haves and outline marketing vehicles that would work for each, and provide historical data to justify the chosen platforms. Most importantly, include how these efforts can have a positive impact on revenue growth.

Tracking and Evaluation. Detailed tracking practices are an integral part of the success of your marketing efforts and the fate of your annual budgets for these efforts. B2B marketing can be tough to evaluate and optimize – in fact, tracking is one of the most widely reported challenges among B2B marketers. However, decision-makers often don’t trust marketing that isn’t measured. A few easy ways to evaluate your efforts are by volume (this can include impressions and website traffic), engagement (social media interaction, email response and opt-outs), and conversions (qualified leads who become customers). Also, this may sound redundant, but evaluate your tracking on occasion as well. Metrics can change with your goals and your services and even your customers.

Hold on to your customers. Don’t get me wrong. It’s important to focus on obtaining new customers, but I’m also a huge proponent of fostering relationships with current clients and customers to keep them with you for years to come.

Customers are loyal if it’s a two-way exchange. Make sure you’re listening to their feedback and taking action in response. Build not just a rapport, but also a community with your customers. Keeping them engaged and making sure they understand how valuable they are will help maintain the relationship while possibly obtaining new leads through their testimonial.

All businesses are different and have their own nuances and issues, but these are just a few top-level things to consider in your B2B marketing efforts. Putting together a solid marketing strategy and plan and having a marketing consultant help you get it in motion can help you best determine where the opportunities are, focus on refinements and make your marketing efforts as effective as possible.

A version of this article originally appeared in the July 20, 2017 edition of the Sacramento Business Journal.