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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

B2B Marketing Love

Show your love today by looking to make a referral.  Actively listened and see if there is an opportunity for you to connect someone with a need with one of you referral partners.  Today:  give to get.

Small Biz Trends gives you several things to love in Branding, Marketing, Self-Development, Social Media, Finance and more.

Is there anything said in your marketing beyond asking "Are you ready to buy?"  Show a little love and big-time differentiation by reaching out to your prospects in a new way.

And since it is Valentine's Day - a special invitation to fall in love with your business again.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What Kind of First Impression is Your Website Making?

Prospective buyers are forcing B2B marketers and salespeople to rethink the discovery process.

Determining whether a buyer is qualified used to be the job of the seller.  You'd have a few discovery meetings by phone and in person to determine need, fit, and a desire to move forward.  Buyers are now taking over the process through search engines and conducting their own research before they ever get on the phone with you.

The good news is:  if your website provides the information the prospect needs to move forward with you, you have a qualified opportunity.

The bad news is:  if your website is dated and lacking compelling content, you may never know you lost an opportunity.  The prospect simply won't include you on their short list.

What kind of experience does your website offer?  Is it time for an overhaul?

Here are some articles to help:

Your Role in Building Your New Website

What Type of Saleperson is Your Website?

B2B Marketing - Inbound Marketing is Occurring: Are You In the Market?

A final note:  make sure that your website is built in such a way that it is EASY for YOU to make changes and add content.  My preference is working with websites using WordPress.  Do invest thousands of dollars in a website that make you dependent on the website designer to make any changes or to add content.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

B2B Marketing - Great Content Your Best Investment

Your website is your 24/7 marketing pitch.  It should showcase your unique value proposition.  It should answer the questions:  Why do you do what you do?  Who do you serve?  How does your service or product benefit your customers?

Is that reflected on your website and blog?

Before a prospective customer ever wants to receive a phone call from you, they want to search out your website and determine for themselves if you have something that can help them.

Here are some resources that can help you make your website and blog a destination location.

98 New-School Content Marketing Articles

B2B Marketing - Why Content is Your Best Investment

Think about the questions prospects ask you - and answer them in a blog post.  Ask your customers what problems you solved for them and what they were able to accomplish as a result and write a blog about it. Give your website visitors an idea of what it would be like to have you working on your behalf.  Give them every opportunity to qualify themselves.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What do MoneyBall and B2B Marketing Have in Common?

How do you compete with the likes of the New York Yankees when they have four times as much money as you do to spend on players' salaries?  The answer to the question is the subject matter of the book MoneyBall which has recently been made into a movie.

In an excellent article by Lisa Shepherd posted on Canadian Business Network, Why B2B Marketing Is Like MoneyBall, Shepherd suggests that you have to figure out a way, usually contrary to conventional wisdom, to beat the big guys with deeper pockets.

I love the notion of blazing a path free from the rest of the "me too" crowd. Mimicking what the majority is doing will not result in a breakthrough for your business.

You can also out-personalize the competition.  You can out-deliver the competition.  A good question to ask your customers is why they chose to go with you rather than a larger company - what is it that they most value?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Problem with B2B Sales Pitches

Outbound marketing can take many forms - direct mail, email, telemarketing, advertising, etc.  Most of the time these outbound communications are sent to an audience that has no knowledge or relationship with you or your business.  And typical the results are dismal.

But despite poor results, we keep emailing blasts, picking up the phone - perhaps because activity gives the appearance of at least trying.

Stop and think for a moment what kind of reaction your pitch is getting from the recipient.  In a Forbes article, Sales Approaches That Are Doomed To Fail or Backfire, David DiSalvo talks about the likely response.

This is a classic example of avoiding the Marketing Hourglass - a term Duct Tape Marketing coined to describe the phases a prospect must go through to become an ideal customer:  Know, Like, Trust, Try, Buy, Repeat, Refer.

Inbound marketing is a much more effective method of providing the prospect with the information they need to move along that path.  People prefer to search to get initial information on the products and services they wish to buy. Does your website offer information that they will find useful and is written from the perspective of solving their problems; rather than describing what you sell?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Before You Ask For The Referral: B2B Marketing Advice

 Most customers defect to a competitor due to perceived indifference on the part of their current solution provider or vendor.  I’ve heard statistics as high as over 70 percent.  Defection due to price, superior product generally occurs at a much lower rate.

Ask any business owner and they’ll tell you that referrals are the best source for generating new business.  But how does your customer feel if they haven’t heard from you in a long time and now here you are asking for a referral?

So the critical question is what are you doing to show your customers that you care?  What do you do proactively to show that you care about them and the success of their business?

That monthly eNewsletter is not enough.  Your outreach must be genuine and personal.

Print out a list and commit to calling 5 customers a week just to check in and find out if what you implemented for them is working well for them.

Once a week, take a customer out for lunch.

Prioritize your list of customers based on how profitable, delightful, reference-able they are and every other week send one person on the list a business book that you’ve found particularly helpful.

Keep a stack of postcards or logo’d note cards by your computer and drop a personalized note to a customer every day.

Not only will you cultivate a better relationship – less susceptible to defection and more conducive to referrals – you’ll probably uncover a number of projects that you can do for them.

You may also be interested in reading: 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Cloud Computing Leveling the Playing Field for Small to Mid-sized Businesses

More and more I've been drawn to cloud computing.  I doubt that there's a more reliable email system than Gmail.  Purchasing via amazon.com has saved me countless hours and miles on my car.  GoToMeeting.com allows me to work with clients all over the United States and Canada.

Cloud computing is revolutionizing business and coming to an accounting department, a nonprofit organization and warehouse near you.  Maybe even within your business.  Here are some articles that I found on the benefits of cloud computing:

Cloud Computing:  The Biggest Innovation in Financial Software Since the 80s

Do I Need to Worry About Security with Cloud Computing?

Cloud Computing:  Fewer Headaches, Lower Cost