Tackling B2B sales challenges
Selling a product or a service to another business today is a tough row to hoe. One might argue that it is easier than catering to B2C markets; still, you'd find it isn’t a simple activity.
In reality, B2B customers is not really a one market. In fact, it’s a generic label that describes hundreds of markets, each with their own requirements, buying process and decision-making unit (DMU).
Business customers respond best to tailor-made messages that provide solutions to their problems and circumstances. So it only makes sense for B2B marketers to plan and customize their selling and marketing strategies.
The role of B2B marketers appears to be complex and complicated in the world we live in today. The new and evolving advancements of the world of technology has led to media fragmentation and channel diversification over time, making it a formidable task nowadays to select the right mix of media and channel combination for any type of marketing, be it B2C or B2B. And it is predicted to get tougher in the future as a result of ever growing technologies.
Here are some of the current key challenges of B2B selling and quick ideas on how to resolve them:
Challenge 1: Pinning down the right people
B2B purchasing often involves multiple decision makers. Finding, attracting, reaching and engaging all the stakeholders in the DMU is a real dilemma, specially when there are gatekeepers such as SPAM-detecting email clients/company receptionists, etc. How do we target and reach the decision makers in an organization?
Research is the key to success before targeting whether it’s a B2B or B2C offer. Conduct thorough research over the phone/the internet to identify the key decision makers in the B2B prospect organization. Use their gatekeepers to gain knowledge about the key stakeholders and determine how to influence them. Use permission marketing to send them emails or when calling them.
Challenge 2: Buyer driven business
According to the Gartner Customer 360 Summit 2011 Report, by the year 2020 customers will manage 85% of their relationship with the enterprise without human interaction. Using specialized Sales Personnel to approach B2B clients will not be sufficient. So how exactly can we win sales without personal contacts?
Automate workflows and integrate them with the databases to target or retarget different types of customers, such as new/old customers, warm/cold leads & brand advocates and communicate with them. Also it is essential to involve some staff members to monitor these systems and evaluate and adjust them when necessary.
Challenge 3: Differentiation is the decider
As a B2B seller, with customers taking longer to buy from you, the importance of continually standing out and elevating your brand over your competitors’ is an essential hurdle you must conquer. What can you do?
Strong Branding is the solution for standing out among the competitors. Specially for B2B marketers, this is the way to be in the limelight. Use powerful brand communication messages to persuade B2B customers to buy.
Challenge 4:Mobile is the new king
Collaboration of SMART mobile devices and Social Media has led to more and more people now using mobile searches to do almost anything online like shopping, socializing, accessing news/entertainment and learning. What are the strategies B2B marketers should consider given this context?
Mobile optimization - Incase you haven’t done it yet, it’s time to optimize your website for mobiles. Ensure that it is optimized for responses in multi-platforms such as Android and iOS. Also, you could look into developing a Mobile App to automate the purchasing process, after a feasibility study of your B2B markets.
Challenge 5: Marketing and Sales alignment
Many companies have a hard time connecting the sales data with marketing efforts. Getting each department to support the goals of the other department can be difficult for some organizations. What should companies to make this synergy happen?
Create and maintain databases and CRM’s. Record the data you obtain from research in these. Use this information to identify buyer behaviors and patterns and utilize the insights to formulate plans/goals and strategies.
Challenge 6: Data Management & usage
Even though it is the era of big data, many businesses still struggle with managing data and using it gain insights. Not having the right systems and tools in place to manage high volumes of data such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Sales Funnel, Web Analytics and Workflow Automation, is a problem for day to day business operations. As a result, companies miss out on opportunities to create personalized, customized and intriguing communications for their prospects. How can they get past this obstacle?
Small Businesses owners/marketers may not have access inhouse CRM’s and Analytic Tools and also may not be able to afford to purchase these. However, the internet is a great resource where such companies can find free or affordable alternative tools to do the job.
Challenge 7: Content Management
Content Marketing can be a tricky job. It is vital and cannot be ignored even if you are a B2B marketer in this era of Digital Universe. However, when marketers write and publish more and more content, maintaining the quality and consistency of the output across all materials and all platforms becomes a hurdle to overcome. What can you do manage this?
Hiring a Content Marketer to manage consistency in your content across all materials on every platform is a great initiative. Some Small Businesses owners who find it an expensive exercise and may do this on their own. This could be a fundamental mistake specially if they do not have a marketing background and expertise. It is advisable for such companies to outsource Content Marketing work to a professional who could tail-make it to suit their budgets.
Looking at all the activities that require careful planning and resource allocation, B2B selling is a blend of both science and art. After all, it must deliver the right message to the right audience at the right time and via the right media/channel/device.
Created: August 11th, 2016