Businesses operating in 2019 face a very different environment than those which began operating several years ago. Technology has drastically changed the way businesses make purchases. Naturally, B2B firms have had to change the way they market and sell their products and services. This article focuses on how you need to tweak your sales strategy to incorporate technology and adapt to modern buyer behavior.
Offer Personalized Sales Service
This doesn’t simply mean referring to frequent buyers by name. In 2019, it means using a robust customer relationship management program to understand the businesses you serve. You need to be able to give them exactly what they need. You should use the data collected by your CRM to create a perfect user experience. Examine buyers’ purchase histories, learn their needs and discover their pain points. This enables you to anticipate the products or services they need and contact them when you have something to offer them.
A CRM system can also help every member of the sales team to offer the same level of service to a buyer. Regular buyers usually develop a relationship with one sales representative. If that person who knows them well isn’t available, they may not get the same experience. When you have a record of the buyer’s preferences, past purchases and their last interaction with a rep, it makes it easier for anyone to serve them well.
You should also seriously consider offering the tools and services which buyers are asking for, especially when you stand to gain. More and more buyers, especially large ones, want their suppliers to be Punchout-enabled. If you’re getting repeated requests for this, maybe it’s time to invest in Punchout Catalogs.
Embrace Real-Time Messaging
There was a time when sales teams did all their work during regular office hours. Buyers wouldn’t expect to get a response if they called your business at 6 p.m. unless you were in a specialized field. Today, buyers and potential buyers send emails or social media messages at all hours of the day and night. And, given the increasingly globalized world in which we live, it may actually be an acceptable time to do business where they are.
Your sales strategy needs to take into account the fact that buyers want to communicate on their terms. This doesn’t mean you need to have someone fielding calls 24/7. Research shows that as much as 30 percent of website visitors expect a live chat feature and that when it is deployed, sales increase. Employ the use of a chatbot to acknowledge queries and provide links to general information or frequently asked questions at a minimum. This way you don’t lose a sale because there was no one available when a potential buyer saw something they wanted.
Use Online Feedback to Guide Your Strategy
What are buyers saying about you online? Most businesses which serve customers know online reviews can make or break their business. The same applies to B2B businesses. The difference is that B2B buyers are more likely to use LinkedIn than other forms of social media to look for reviews and recommendations. If there are frequent complaints about your after sales service or your level of responsiveness, this may turn off potential buyers. Not only do you need to pay attention to what is being said, but you need to tweak your operations accordingly where possible. Word of mouth and third-party endorsements still carry more weight than advertising.
Don’t Ignore Search Engine Optimization
As noted above, B2B buyers do online research. In fact, as much as 89 percent of B2B researchers use the Internet and 73 percent of traffic to B2B sites comes from search engines. If you can’t be found online easily, you’re losing a large percentage of leads. Most people don’t even go past the first page of the search engine results so if you’re on page two for leading keywords, they won’t find you. This means you need to put a lot of effort into creating high-quality, user-friendly content which adds value to your target market. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly and incorporate video to help you rise up the results pages. Learn more about Search Engine Optimization here.
Use Permission-based Marketing
This is another technology-related tip. In the age of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), even if you don’t do business with European companies, buyers have become increasingly sensitive to how their information is being used. You need to proactive transparent about how data will be used and ensure you ask for permission when collecting data. You need to assure them that their private information will not be leaked or used for nefarious purposes.
If you operate within the European Union or European Economic Area, you also need to be aware that you can be punished if you don’t adhere to the regulations. Countries around the world are likely to pass similar laws in the not too distant future so you should make sure your company is keeping an eye on the developments.
A successful, modern B2B sales strategy means offering a personalized customer experience which embraces the technology buyers use. You will be left behind if you don’t do this. Use the tips above to help you craft a strategy in line with your company’s goals.
This article has been written for Times of Startups by Melissa Stanley. Melissa is a veteran tech writer and editor who has worked in several eCommerce companies so far. She has been covering technology online for over five years. She is Client Service Manager of PCGT – PunchOut Catalogs.
A Business Owner’s Guide to Integrated Marketing
Marketers face a dozen different challenges in today’s business world. Consumers turn to different platforms and types of media to consume information.
If you’re a marketer and you miss one of these platforms, you miss out on expanding your customer base. You also have to keep the brand experience consistent across the different marketing channels.
Marketers overcome these challenges by implementing integrated marketing campaigns. These types of campaigns have improved effectiveness by 57% over standard marketing campaigns.
What is integrated marketing? Keep reading to find out what integrated marketing is and how you can create a complete marketing campaign.
What Is Integrated Marketing?
Integrated marketing is a method of marketing that ties together the dozens of marketing channels to create a clear and consistent marketing campaign.
What usually happens to a business is that they do very well on one marketing channel. For this example, we’ll say Facebook. They try to expand their marketing to Instagram, but it doesn’t go very well.
That’s because the business just reposts the same exact content on both channels without regard to the audience. People are on Facebook and Instagram for different reasons. If you don’t take that into account, then your content will fall flat with users.
Integrated marketing campaigns give your brand consistent messaging to give consumers the same experience. It’s also flexible enough to tailor content for each marketing channel.
The best integrated marketing campaigns cross-promote the different marketing channels, so your followers can follow you throughout the web.
Benefits of Integrated Marketing
Is integrated marketing worth it? Integrated marketing solutions are more effective. That alone should make it worth it.
Some of the other benefits of integrated marketing will shine a light as to why these campaigns are so effective. For example, when you have an integrated marketing campaign, you give your brand more chances to get seen. That keeps your brand top of mind.
The more consumers see your brand, the more likely it will inspire trust and loyalty with your company.
Another reason why integrated marketing campaigns work is that they’re cost-effective. You can make minor adjustments to your marketing collateral rather than recreate the wheel with every post.
How to Create an Integrated Marketing Strategy
Do you see why an integrated marketing campaign makes so much sense for your business? They save your business money and make money at the same time.
How can you take these insights and apply integrated marketing to your own business? These are the steps to create an integrated marketing strategy.
Create Marketing Goals
You’re about to invest a considerable amount of time in an integrated marketing campaign. You should decide what you want the integrated campaign to do for your business.
Perhaps you want to promote a new product or service. You might want to increase brand awareness or drive more traffic to your website.
Write down the 1-2 most important goals for your campaign.
Map the Brand Experience
The brand experience is every single touchpoint a customer has with your company.
For example, you get direct mail pieces printed and mailed to people in the Chicago area. The direct mail campaign directs people to the website. You also have social media posts that direct people to your website.
Once they purchase, they may interact with your customer service team.
All of these things will help you figure out the steps you need to take to create your integrated marketing campaign. In the example above, you need to make sure you have a Chicago printing company print your mail pieces.
Keep the Experience Consistent
Consistency matters most in integrated marketing campaigns. There are two levels of consistency in your marketing campaign: the consistency in the amount of content you post and brand consistency.
Brand consistency is hard for many businesses to achieve because they don’t understand what the brand is. A brand is an emotion that people feel when they think about your company.
You want to convey that emotion with every piece of content. Take Nike as an example. The brand is that everyone is an athlete and Nike’s products help people reach their athletic potential.
Nike’s content can be categorized as aspirational. That is the one thing that is consistent in the company’s posts and commercials.
You need to think about what your brand stands for and what your main marketing messages are. Once you have your messaging down, you can then create content that supports the message.
You also need to keep visual consistency. Write up guidelines as to what colors should be used, fonts, and how the logo is used.
To help you create a consistent posting schedule, you can use a social media scheduling tool.
Break Down Data Silos
The one thing that you need to be aware of is that your business can still run in silos, even if you have an integrated marketing campaign.
That’s because you still have to turn to different platforms to manage content and analytics. If you have several people handle content marketing, you run the risk that they will get siloed.
The best way to break down these data silos is to invest in technology. There are great tools that help you manage content and data in one dashboard.
Some of these tools let you schedule content in advance.
Create a Successful Integrated Marketing Strategy
Your customers are diverse, and you want to serve them all at the highest level. The only way you can do that well is to run an integrated marketing campaign.
What is integrated marketing? It’s a way to develop the same marketing message and brand consistency that resonates with your audience. These campaigns are cost-effective and they get great results.
Do you need more marketing tips? Check out the Marketing section of this site.
How Can Video Marketing Help Your Business?
Trying to get the word out about your business in the modern era can be quite difficult. There’s more competition than ever before. While the internet has increased the ability of the average business to connect with consumers, it has also created a wall of noise that can be difficult to break through.
If you’re looking to find an effective way to get the word out about your enterprise, you might want to consider video marketing.
Video marketing has been shown time and time again to be highly effective at capturing the attention of consumers and bringing them to your door. Ready to learn more? Read on.
Search Engines Love Video
Whether we like it or not, the success of your business marketing online will rely a lot on how high Google and others tend to want to rank your website. Prioritizing SEO is important if you want to be sure word about your business is easy to find.
Luckily, Google has been increasing the amount of importance that video holds in their ranking system. Increasingly, the presence of video content on your website will help you climb the ranks of their results.
With a few videos in hand, you can build a formidable SEO strategy and see an increase in traffic to your online site.
Just take a look at the large audience of a platform like YouTube to see how much the modern consumer prefers video content over text content. Most people these days would rather watch a video to learn about a subject as compared to having to read about it.
This means that if you’re hoping to connect with consumers in an organic way, you might actually turn them away by sending them towards a wall of text. If most consumers prefer videos, it’s best to provide that for them.
Keeping your consumers happy is likely to produce better results for your business in the long run. Any video marketing agency is likely to tell you this.
Connect With Consumers
The real reason you’ll want to embrace the pivot to video? Customers simply respond better. A video is an immersive experience. Customers who watch video content tend to connect with and remember the information far more than what they read.
Part of this is just human nature. A human will naturally feel a greater connection to another human on screen talking to them than they will to a wall of text. This is why video marketing for business can be so powerful.
Videos are able to evoke emotions better than just about any other medium. The power of video really cannot be understated. The combination of voice, image, music, and more can combine to create something really compelling.
You can read on here if you’re interested in learning about the power of video and why it’s essential for today’s marketing efforts.
Importance of Video Marketing
It’s important for any business in the modern era to consider the power of video marketing. If you’re in the process of attempting to get the word out about your business, contacting a video marketing company might be your best bet.
Need more advertising advice and information? Keep scrolling our blog for more.
The Importance of Branding for your Business
In order to understand what branding is, try to answer the following two questions.
When you are out there trying to figure out the best Laptop for you, what brand name comes to your mind?
Along with the brand name, are you also able to visualize the logo associated with the brand?
If yes, you are probably brand aware and the company or companies that come to your mind first are those who have successfully created brand awareness.
In simple terms, branding is what makes people search for particular products. It allows companies to reach inside the minds of their prospective customers.
Why is branding important for your business?
- Branding helps you prepare for long term business
Branding helps people understand the core philosophy of your business and therefore, in the long run, helps people identify with your products or services better. When you invest in branding, you invest in the future of your company. When all your hard work that you put in your business starts paying off, your brand gets even stronger and futureproof.
- Branding helps communicate better
A good brand always communicates a story better and if your branding strategy is in place, you can communicate the core philosophy of your business with your customers in the way you desire. Branding strategists need to understand that the purpose of branding & marketing is to not just make people aware of the brand but also teach them what a particular brand stands for.
- Branding helps your prospective customers recognise your business better
A good brand is one that evokes emotions in the hearts of those who see that brand’s logo or text. One of the major components of a brand is a logo because, as the “face” of a business, it’s what people instantly see and recognize. According to Tyler, the founder of Green Cardinal Design, logo for a particular brand should be simple enough to be memorable, but powerful enough to give the desired impression of your company. One good way for brand awareness is by placing your company logo into your merchandise like in a swag pack.
- Branding helps bring referral business.
Branding promotes Word of Mouth marketing and in turn brings your genuine customers. People wear brands, eat brands, listen to brands, and they’re constantly telling others about the brands they love. On the flip side, you can’t tell someone about a brand you can’t remember.
- Branding helps advertising process easier.
If your brand is well defined, your advertising and marketing process gets easier. Once you know what kind of company you are or are not going to be, have that story in place and targeted what emotions your customers should feel when working with you, it’s only natural, then, that your marketing and advertising efforts will tighten up dramatically.
- Branding helps build trust
People are more likely to purchase from a business that appears polished and legitimate and appear committed towards providing the goods and services as promised.
In your overall branding strategy, you naturally focus on making your brand appear trustworthy which helps immensely in the long run. You might have heard people buying only a particular brand of electric cable or only a particular brand of mobile phone. This is simply because these companies have successfully created an element of trust in the minds of its customers.
- Branding helps hire good talent
Once your brand is well established, hiring good talent is going to be a major concern. However, if you have invested in the branding process, good talent will automatically be attracted towards your company.
Branding process starts at the very first moment you start working for your company. Apart from the actual product or service, it is one of the most important factors that will determine how successful your business will be. It is therefore really important to focus on the branding process of your company from the beginning itself.
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