There is always a first time: the first time a potential customer strolls past your trade show booth, the first time someone visits your website from a Google search or the first time they view your LinkedIn page. The goal is to turn that first time into a second, third and fourth contact because the pathway to converting a prospect into a sale in a B2B transaction can span months or even years, depending on the amount of the investment required.
And this is where an integrated, strategic marketing approach comes into play. There is no single tactic that acts as the silver bullet of success; most scenarios require a sustained, integrated and cohesive plan.
Your firm has a sales force, and a good one too. Highly trained and extremely knowledgeable about your product line. Why isn’t that enough?
An integrated marketing strategy is never intended to take the place of the sales force but instead is designed to give them assistance and tools to help further the conversation with prospects in order to close the sale.
In this digital age it takes a lot more effort to be offline than ever before. We are surrounded with information on any device in the room, including cell phones, which travel with people everywhere. Seventy-four percent of adults, according to one study, keep their smart phones within reach while they sleep.
Flipping the Script: Buyers Take Back Purchasing Power
With all of this available information, almost an overload, the buyer has taken back purchasing power. Most members of a sales force help educate potential buyers about product value over time, rather than a hard push. In addition, a sales person cannot operate on the same bandwidth as a sponsored post on social media, time and physical constraints make that impossible. Digital marketing acts as sales support, delivering warm leads that have a level of product/brand familiarity already.
Most often, before getting to the step of talking with a sales person, the buyer exercises due diligence. They research facts, make comparisons and read reviews. What do others think about their experiences with your product, company or customer service? What does your web site tell them about your interaction with their industry or application niche, the breadth of your product line or quality controls? Rest assured that whatever the hot buttons for your clients, they’re looking up that information.
This actually leads to a level of comfort where the buyer feels like they have a good read on your corporate culture, practices and even personality. The buyer definitively wants reassurance about product quality and perhaps safety or service, depending on the goods being purchased.
We’ve all heard the adage that the key to any relationship is communication. That isn’t any different in a business relationship, although the methods used and the type of information transmitted will look different for every company.
These strategies can include but are not limited to:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Content development
- Paid online advertising
- Social media marketing
- Email marketing
Each of these tactics overlap to reinforce key messages. Content is repurposed and reformatted for distribution through a variety of different mediums. This helps keep your company’s name and products in front of potential customers.
Multiple efforts and multiple touch points help give the prospect the confidence or trust level to reach out for more information in a direct fashion. Ideally, the continuum might look something like this:
- It starts with an ad in a trade publication, which
- Leads to a search online for a web site
- Viewing a social post from LinkedIn a month later
- Stopping by your booth for a brief chat at the next trade show
- Signing up to receive the company newsletter
- Watching a few newsletters fly by before
- Clicking on an article of interest
- Forwarding that article to a supervisor
- Filling out a contact form on your web site or
- Picking up the phone for a direct call
- Closing the sale.
It all begins with discovery. We take a deep dive into what makes your business tick, your goals and your plans. Then we start strategizing. Not all companies execute every tactic, depending on their needs and internal resources. We work with you, where you are, to support your value message. Give us a call at 800-779-2445, or find us online. Let us help move your prospects through the marketing continuum to turn strangers into satisfied customers.