The internet has changed buyers’ pre-sales engagement dramatically. In the past buyers would engage directly with sales reps to find solutions to their product or service needs. Nowadays buyers have access to more information than ever before, which influences how they make purchasing decisions.
A dramatic change in pre-sales engagement
Today buyers are researching products and services, reading reviews, and comparing prices from different sellers. And with a number of decision-makers involved in the buying process, this has certainly influenced the average sales cycle.
“The average sales cycle has increased 22% over the past 5 years due to more decision makers being involved in the buying process”Forrester’s SirusDecisions
Increased online competition
As more companies leverage digital marketing to reach new customers, this means that there is increased competition for your prospective customer’s attention, who as mentioned earlier, have the option to compare companies against each other.
With B2B marketing, brands must understand how crucial this is. If you don’t want your Brand and marketing messages to be ignored, it is now extremely important that your marketing communications be more targeted and personalised.
Positive or Negative digital user experiences
Buyers today expect exceptional digital experiences, this is what they have become accustomed to elsewhere. If your Brand is not using digital technologies more effectively to influence the buyers’ experience, this could have a significant influence on the success or failure of generating leads and sales.
Regardless of the channels which a buyer may wish to use to engage your brand or where they are in the buying process, buyers expect a quick, convenient, and frictionless experience with your brand. This makes them feel important and prioritised, which will be a consideration when they make their final decisions. For your buyer, this could look like the convenience available to them to engage and receive a prompt response from your Brand whether via live chat or social media platforms; or the ease at which they find the content on your website that supports them along their buyers journey.
How can B2B marketing help Brands leverage and compete in the new B2B buyers landscape?
Brands that want to compete online require a robust B2B marketing strategy. Here are our recommendations on how Brands should be competing to capture the market.
Have a strong online presence and become more competitive online
In order to get in front of your prospective customers, your Brand needs a strong online presence and will need to invest in digital marketing strategies including lead-generation activities that will attract, engage and convert prospects.
Integrated Marketing Communications
When it comes to B2B marketing, consider the fact that your prospective customers can engage with your Brand across multiple channels. Implementing an integrated marketing communication strategy across all these channels will ensure that your brand message is being delivered consistently regardless of the marketing channel.
Invest in creating a positive digital experience
A positive digital experience could include having a well-designed website that is also mobile-friendly and offers easy and intuitive navigation to find important and relevant content. Having sufficient information and content on the website to inform and educate the buyer on their journey; the use of technologies such as live chat, chatbot for customer services, and lead generation purposes will ensure that the experience with your Brand is a positive one.
Improve your SEO (search engine optimization) visibility and ranking
With prospective customers rarely visiting page 2 of Google Search, your Brand will need to invest in SEO strategies and activities in order to build visibility and ranking which will help attract prospective customers on their buyers journey.
Use social media more effectively
Social media is an excellent channel for creating brand awareness. There are a number of social media strategies that can be used to drive traffic, generate leads, create awareness, build influence and offer customer service and support.
Consider Google Pay-Per-Click
While SEO is a long-term digital marketing strategy, Google Pay-Per-Click (PPC) is a strategy that will raise the visibility of your Brand through paid text and display ads. This digital strategy is ideal for creating brand awareness and attracting prospective customers who are ready and closer to the decision-making process.
Automate marketing processes
Marketing automation technology, such as Constant Contact Lead Gen & CRM will help your Brand streamline and optimize your marketing processes which will create business efficiencies by saving time and resources.
Some examples of marketing automation could include email marketing campaigns such as welcome emails, abandoned cart reminders, promotional emails or other types of email communications to customers or leads based on their behaviour or preferences.
Lead generation strategies and activities can be automated to deliver the right message to the right people at the right time based on their behaviour and engagement with your website and communication channels. With lead nurturing and scoring your sales agents can reach out and engage with the most promising prospects at the right time.
Marketing automation also offers a personalised experience. As leads sign up to your database, they can be nurtured with warmth and care through personalised email campaigns and landing pages that build brand connection, relationship, and loyalty.
Invest in a CRM system
There are many benefits to a CRM (Customer relationship management) system, including improved personalised experience with your customer or prospect when your your sales agents understand your customer data, history and preferences. A CRM system offers improved business efficiency with task management and reporting.
Use Data Insights
Technology is helping necessary to help identify strategies that are working well against those that aren’t. With these insights your brand can optimize existing marketing strategies, improve on targeting and better understand the needs and preferences of prospects and customers.
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