Is your company still investing the bulk of your marketing budget in old school tradeshows?
Do you think that social media marketing is just for kids and consumer companies?
If so, it may be time for you to accept the fact that B2B buyers today favor do-it-yourself online options for researching and buying products and services. A recent Forrester report forecasts that one million US B2B salespeople will lose their jobs to self-service ecommerce by 2020.
That makes it sound like you still have time to prepare for this change, right? Not so fast.
The Forrester research also found that nearly 75 percent of B2B buyers say that buying from a website is more convenient than buying from a sales representative. Further, 93 percent say that they prefer buying online rather than from a salesperson once they've decided what to buy.
Not only that, but another study by CEB found that 57 percent of the B2B purchase decision is complete before a prospect even contacts the supplier. Before you get so scared that you stop reading, it is important to consider that customers with a clear idea of what they want to purchase - such as inexpensive and transactional purchases or re-ordering a similar solution - will surely be conducting most of the purchase research online.
But complex solutions that require the consent of multiple stakeholders will lead a prospect to seek out potential vendors earlier in the engagement process.
Yes, it is true that your prospects have more power than ever before, but this fact also leads to an opportunity for businesses that are able to differentiate themselves earlier in the sales process. The best way to do this is through great content on your website and through your marketing channels - including social media!
So, do you know if it is important for you to get in front of your prospects earlier? Is this trend relevant to your target customer? If you know your ideal buyer as well as you think you do, then you also know the answer to this question. The answer is that you need to take your content marketing strategy more seriously.
And if your marketing team keeps recommending that you drop another $10,000, $20,000 or more on the same old tradeshows that only yield a list of poor prospects for you the past few years, then we should talk. Unless you would prefer for your sales and marketing team to keep marketing to these lists of lukewarm prospects and wasting your precious resources, that is.
Otherwise, we'd love to look at your content marketing plan and see if we can help you boost your numbers. PWMG has helped many suppliers to commercial foodservice, hospitality, manufacturing and supply chain industries to improve their ability to be found by the right buyers through our proven inbound marketing approach. We'd love to help you, too!