The face of B2B sales and Marketing has changed rapidly over time. Termed as consumerization of B2B, there is a rapid change in the way offerings are purchased and dealt with. How Has Digital Marketing Changed the Way Your B2B Market Functions?
IT products that are flying off the shelf are cloud-based, social media enabled, mobile capable with less involvement of sales. The best examples being the android market or iTune store. These features, with easy self-service options & instant gratification, do not need sales pitch.
Below we cover how digital marketing has changed the way B2B sales & marketing functions in 2013:
- Social selling has gone mainstream: A look at the year 2012 shows that people preferred to make cold calls or send emails to book an appointment. In 2013, sales executives have taken to social media networks to connect with prospective clients. This has helped them add a personal touch, winning a higher response rate from clients and customers. Social media has also helped B2B marketers leverage contacts and networks of customers, colleagues, partners, while keeping an eye on their clients online activities.
- Sales executives have adopted big data: B2B sales leaders have embraced big data. This step has effectively increased their sales. Big data helps to identify and segment customers with highest contribution to the company’s revenues, find leads and study customer usage patterns. By teaming analytics & sales automation, these companies target prospects & customers – offering personalized services based on specific customer behavior.
- Customer engagement makes it to the priority list: Company’s don’t stop at making a sale and moving on to the next deal. With increased subscription based models, unsatisfied customers can unsubscribe from services at any given point. This has aligned organizations to chase and monitor customer behavior, encouraging engagement throughout the life cycle. Some companies have also appointed VP for customer engagement – dedicating them to up-selling and renewals
- The line between sales and marketing is blurred: The process of conducting sales and marketing has evolved. The outbound sale has become inbound sales, mainly due to online conferencing tools. Similarly, the inbound sales in being replaced by self-service and self-help tools and website resources. With this evolution, there is a very thin line separating sales and marketing. This has lead to an increased interaction and collaboration between marketing & sales teams.
- Laptops are replaced by tablets: Being lightweight and easy to use, tablets have become favorites of sales reps on the go. From shipping to product documentations & demonstration, this new gadget helps to do a quick research on prospects before meetings or capture leads at trade shows
- Sales tools have moved to the Cloud: Most companies have adopted cloud-based software for billing & subscription. This has offered increased visibility for customers billing cycle and is helpful in growing and renewing their subscriptions. Cloud-based products are also more stream-lined.
We all talk about social media marketing – be it discussing tweets that are gaining a lot of attention or Facebook pages that have millions of ‘Likes. Most often, we don’t know the purpose behind social media marketing and how it helps businesses increase sales.
The webs is pulsating with white papers, e-books and tell-all articles that are constantly discussing and guiding on how to get the social media marketing ‘right’. So, while you may be doing it right, do you have inkling as to why you are putting in so much effort? Have you ever paused and asked yourself this question?
Marketing is about campaigns – that have a set target or goal that the market is working hard on achieving. Say, you are selling a packet of potato chips for $.5 – as a part of promotion; you have a set goal in mind of increasing sales by encouraging customers to buy a $2 of soda to be consumed along with chips.
In a similar fashion, social media marketing too should have clearly defined goals. If you plan to run a social media campaign, without a goal – you are not marketing anything.
In this blog, I am going to list down some goals and how they can be achieved:
Goal 1: Selling a Product or Service Directly:
One of the easiest goals to define and one where you can send out clear messages.
- If you are attempting to sell products or services, try concentrating on a specific line or focus on a product and drive sales through that. In order to increase the sales, promote the campaign through tweets, facebook and linkedin. One of the most important factors that you must bear in mind is to add content that is engaging – if you want to coax people into making a purchase, the content should be able to bring the message across.
- If focus is on general sale and not a single product, focus on your knack at providing a brilliant service, high quality product or brand value. You may also choose to share your complete line of products – giving your prospects and customers an idea of what they may expect from you.
Goal 2: Using the estate on your blog:
Adsense, banner ads and Google adwords choose your site or blog, based on the traffic that your blog may generate. If the traffic on your site, meets their requirements, they may choose to show-case their ads with you. But, if the traffic is low, it will not be a lucrative option. In such a scenario, your social media marketing strategy should focus on driving traffic and encouraging repeat visitors. One of the best ways to make this possible is by creating exciting content and at the same time, encourage your visitors to share the content.
One of the other popular options SEO backlinks- is an effective way to generate more traffic. However, to make this a reality, you need to increase SERP (search engine results page) – by sharing content with other websites that have backlinks to your website. This can only be made possible if your content is great. Content that is dull and low quality may not encourage this.
Marketing Goals is all that matters
The most important part of any social media marketing is to have some form of goal – it may or may not be related to sales or products. Your goals could also be targeting at increasing your fans, followers, users or generate traffic. As long as you have a goal, you can utilize social media to reach that goal.
To push your goals, include a call-to-action in your messages – this will encourage your readers to share it with other.