In an age of marketing when everything seems to be focused on digital media or web based advertising, it is easy to forget that the basics of good B2B marketing should still be the bedrock of any organization that sells to other businesses. Business to Business marketing is about longer term relationships, tends to be based more strongly on real trust (not just “flashy brands”) and has a true element of objective value.
To be sure, businesses don’t buy services from other businesses because they’re on the shopping binge, or because they want to impress someone. The motive always starts with “how do we make money, save money, or add value to our offerings?” Before you start knocking on their door (figuratively or literally), answer at least on the three questions. This is essentially your value propositions VP.
How does your company help the prospect add value, save money, or make more money? If you don’t have a solid answer to at least one of these, then it is not a good prospect. Once you have determined a good set of prospects, your target market, you can start working out your marketing approach.
Too often companies get excited about a marketing approach (ie digital marketing) before they actually understand what they have to offer. This prevents them from putting the best communication program together.
So, assuming you have your value proposition, you can start considering the best ways to communicate it.
This is perhaps the oldest formal channel in sales and marketing. It has fallen out of favor because it is hard. That’s it. It’s hard. Developing a strong sales team requires time and focus from good sales managers. But, once done, Outbound sales teams can be a valuable engine for driving your revenue.
Consider Outbound Sales teams when the sales cycle is long and involved. More complex sales are best served when the prospects have a steady point of contact, can ask questions and receive timely responses. Often with these types of services, the individuals with whom the prospect interacts is far more influential than the brand / company the individual works for.
For simple to moderately complex products that are replenished periodically, direct mail and catalog programs tend to serve as consistent reminders. Often these programs augment sales teams, focusing on the lower volume prospects that are more transactional in nature. With the direct mail programs, companies need to keep an eye on the buying companies. Sometimes large prospects may purchase a one-off item from a catalog or direct mailing. These can serve as a lead generation tool for the sales team.
For high value transactions, trade pubs may be a good option. While typically too expensive for smaller, infrequently purchased products, trade pubs can be a good lead gen source for items that have a higher ticket price or tend to be purchased in large volume, or lead to often repeated transactions.
Whether you are selling large equipment, small replacement parts or professional services, understanding how you add value to your prospects will be essential in know what communication channels best convey your value proposition. Don’t get to caught up the to flashy new things. Focus on what works, even if it is boring.