B2B Sales Start Online
If you have a business that only works with other businesses and you think your target audience isn’t online, think again.
It’s a drastic misconception that large businesses don’t take web search and online activity into account when they decide who to work with. A survey of last year’s B2B trends shows that now, more than ever, web search and vendor websites are the first place companies find their partners.
In his December 2013 article, Ben Taylor outlines the findings of the 2013 Demand Gen Reports’ B2B Behavior survey and concludes that buyers are doing their homework online before deciding who to call.
Where Are They Looking?
According to the survey, web search is the primary medium for buyers who are looking to find another business to work with -- 45.9% of buyers list “web search” as their first source. The next most important piece of data was vendor websites, and right after that was still the old standby: word of mouth. Social media continues to grow, with blog posts as the biggest deciding factor, and LinkedIn right behind them.
As Taylor points out, this practice is actually making for pretty happy buyers. In the survey, 79% of participants said they were happy with their decision, as compared with only 21% in 2012.
Since buyers are able to do more research about a company online, they do a lot of shopping around before they even make contact with the company. Buyers wait longer to interact with a salesperson -- that means that they may rule you out before even interacting with someone from your company.
Good Online Marketing Strategy = Good Sales.
Think With Google’s article from back in February of 2013 cites research from the CEB’s Marketing Leadership Council that shows that on average, 57% of a sale happens online in the B2B market. Your web presence, search engine rankings, and layering of various marketing channels are all important ways to represent yourself as a high-performing competitor.
If you’re B2B, instead of simply incorporating digital into your marketing strategy, your strategy should in many ways actually start online.
The More Information, The Better.
When participants in Demand Gen Reports’ study were asked how the buying experience could have been improved, many of them said that more pricing and product information would have been helpful, along with support during the implementation process and access to content specifically related to the individual buyer.
Since buyers now have the ability to research so thoroughly, educational content on websites is also an important factor. They want to know that the business they are considering working with is knowledgeable and up-to-date -- a leader in the industry who will help their company become a leader, too.
Brand Yourself The Best!
With so much business taking place online, pressure to offer the lowest bid is high. The more professional your representation online, the higher the price you will be able to charge for your service.
And if you’re doing SEO and Pay-Per-Click, it’s a win-win, providing your potential clients with substantial information to make the sale, and boosting your visibility to get more traffic in.
The best part of all this in my eyes? You get to make the rules. You know what you have to do, now go out there and show them who you are.