Making matters worse, you’re typically dealing with multiple decision makers, each with his own specific wants, needs, and biases, demanding some sort of complex payment option that you may or may not be able to provide. It makes it nearly impossible to get a fair read on where (or when, exactly) the chips will fall, if they ever do.
But the complexity of the business deal should never make you think businesses aren’t consumers, too. Each person you’re dealing with is a consumer, and she’s going online just like a “traditional” consumer to gather information about your offerings.
She’s conducting her research, looking at her alternatives, and weighing her options against her needs. And with all of the great technology available, the comfort level of businesses dealing with you virtually has grown exponentially. The convenience alone makes virtual consumer-selling techniques a necessity in the business-to-business marketplace.
So one question remains: If businesses are like consumers, then how, exactly, do you leverage consumer marketing technology to grow market share in the business marketplace?
1. Hone Your List
Because your list consists of businesses, each entry will have some kind of digital footprint. Conduct a quick search to gain insights on a company’s potential needs. A company’s stage and rate of growth are always good barometers.
For example, if a company is hiring—and hiring consistently over a period of time—that’s a good indication it’s growing. A growing company is more apt to be in the market for your products or services than one that’s stagnant.
Apply “a change in hiring” to your modeling to hone your list and increase the chances of contacting the right parties. It may take a bit more legwork, but instead of blindly reaching out to a million prospects, you’ll be more likely to zoom in on 50,000 who actually want what you can offer.
2. Map Out Potential Customer Touch Points
Businesses appreciate chat just as much as your average consumer—maybe even more so, given the fact that businesses often do more with less. In other words, you’re dealing with some serious multitaskers here.
Look at each point where a potential customer may want to interact with you, and ask yourself whether your company is equipped with that functionality. If not, understand that businesses expect that option. Establish a multichannel approach for reaching (and being reached by) customers.
3. Engage In Ongoing Conversations
Spam may be alive and well, but it doesn’t do much to trigger an actual conversation with business buyers. Instead, you leave them wondering why that email found its way into their inboxes, wasting your one chance to make a strong first impression.
Regardless of whether someone is in the buying cycle, a well-orchestrated digital marketing strategy is crucial to nurturing prospects. Start ongoing conversations through targeted emails and messaging. Without ever uttering a word, you’re demonstrating how you’ve taken the time to learn what that individual needs.
4. Use Data To Your Advantage
Many companies use software for marketing orchestration. Input your list, and it’ll trigger marketing messages to your prospects. But if your list isn’t enhanced with data that gives you details to help you personalize, you’re still likely to spray messages with no relevancy to the recipients.
Leverage data with strong analytics. Analytics provide insights into how to build out your touch plan. However, make sure you have the ecosystem to understand what the analytics tell you. Without one, you won’t be able to make the changes and improvements necessary to keep your messaging relevant to business buyers.
With business-to-business sales, it’s important to never lose sight of one simple fact: You’re asking a person to conduct business with you. Just because your interactions take place in the business environment doesn’t make that person any less human. She wants to understand how your product or service can solve a problem; it just happens to be a business problem.