Can marketing Inflate Sales Price In B2B Too ?

Consumer impulse buys

In consumer business it is almost all about perception of products and brands fueled by marketing in order to be able to sell at higher prices. People buy products of brand names without much rational or reasoning. Many purchases are actually impulse buys and with large ticket buys (like cars) the options are certainly driven by other drivers than real needs.

B2B rational

However the purchase process in Business-To-Business much more rational and reasoning is involved for several reasons:
- Several people from different departments are involved in the purchase process
- A budget has been set previously leaving less room for subjective purchases.
- A purchase decision can weigh on the career of the decision taker (positively or negatively)
- Fear for the risk related to the purchase decision

Marketing influences Sales Price

Still the sales price is influenced by the marketing for the product or for the company brand. Thus even if there are almost two identical products or solutions, the company that influenced the perception with better marketing for the brand or product is likely to be able to sell at higher prices than the competitors.
Through adequate marketing over several years a brand name can become more trusted and obtain the perception of being reliable which allows this company to sell at a higher price as the marketing has created confidence which takes away a part of the decision fear.
It is unlikely people will buy from unknown or lesser known companies due to the fear of risks involved in their buying decision. Instead they will have the tendency to buy from brands that have build the perception of a quality and trusted company.

Hence Marketing does influence the sales price in B2B.

How much does your marketing influence your sales price ?

 

Content Has Five Seconds To Catch Or To Click Away

Content marketing hype

Since several years Content Marketing is the hype of Marketing and the hope of many marketeers. Hence the competition between content to grab your and potential customers’ attention is fierce.

Headers drive the attention

Both quality and bad content have the chance to obtain an initial interest by the catchy header and headlines. Not necessarily the quality content will get the longer attention span as the real quality content is buried under the header, headlines and paragraph headers as they catch most attention. These compelling headers drive the visitor into your content. Somehow they lure the visitor into the content.

Lean and mean content

Only one message per content piece is required in order to avoid confusion. People do read fast and in most cases in an “F-pattern” starting from top left and moving down. Hence your text has to be lean and mean as confusion kills your messages.

Attention span

Too short and you are not taken seriously.
Too long and nobody reads your content entirely – they will get stuck at the first paragraphs. Then skip to the end if they still find it interesting.
In most cases people hardly read your content.

Summary required

At the bottom give a summary in order to to have their take aways without the need for reading your entire content.
Make sure something amazing, incredible or exciting is included as this will push your readers to forward or re-publish your content.

How much attention does your content get?

 

 

What do you as Sales bring to the Table in this Internet Era?

Sales meeting without a value

Most information – if not all – on your products or solutions can be found on the Internet from you company website or from informative or blog websites. Somehow this restricts the role of the salesman in the sales cycle. The interested customer knows their issues and problems and have found one or more solutions on the Internet.
Hence your sales meeting has not more value than the promise of sending a price quote after the meeting. Something they could have obtained by email too without the need to waste time for a meeting. Being liked is not enough to close a deal.

Making sales meeting worthwhile

You need to bring your expertise as they can find all information on the Internet. Your meeting you should bring value to the customer.

However the customer can have:
- Defined the issue or problem wrongly: so you could use your experience to show the real problem (if they want to know the real problem – which is another issue)
- Interpreted the information from the Internet wrongly: which has resulted in selecting a not suiting or way too expensive solution.
- Been blinded by the marketing of the competitors and has been looking for a less suiting or insufficient or over featured solution.
- Been eager to compete with their peers by selecting a solution offering more than what is needed and is more expensive.

This is where and when you as a Salesman will bring value and benefit to the table. Additionally you will need to take away or minimize the risks involved in any purchase decision.

What do you bring to the table during sales meetings ?

 

When You Messed Up Your Sales Deal (you have not lost)

Why you messed up the sales deal

So somewhere during the sales cycle you have messed up your sales deal.
- You didn’t understand the needs of the client
- You didn’t understand the motivation of the client
- You didn’t asked for the driving forces within the client
- You didn’t ask for the real problems to be solved
- You didn’t understand the buying process
- You didn’t deliver the right value
- You missed the buying signals
- You didn’t understand the competition
- You underestimated the competition

Not your fault: Blame everything and anything else

Of course the easiest is to acknowledge you have lost the deal because of the product or solution:
- Missing functions and features
- Lacking performance
- Price too high or too low
- No references

Reaction of your sales manager

When the sales manager finds out through your data in the CRM he will be furious if the deal has a large value.
Often the sales manager will then ask for a meeting with the customer during which he drops the pricing in the hope to save the deal. He makes clear that he is important enough to give special pricing to the important customer. However this is not saving the deal this is “SALE” like at the end of the retail season.

Inquiring and analyzing

The better attitude is to try to save the deal without price cutting. In order to do so you need to investigate:
- The reason for buying
- The expectations for the solution
. What does the solution need to achieve
. The expected ROI
- The amount of allowed changes the new solution can bring
- Why the current state is no longer acceptable
- The budget for the investment
- The budget for operations
- What are the feasible solutions or alternatives the customer has
- Comparing your solution with that from the competition

Saving the sales deal

The issue now is to get a new meeting with the customer in order to prove and show you have understood the issue and problem and are able to provide a feasible and economic viable solution. Your challenge is to get the additional meeting for a vendor that has already lost the deal. If you get the meeting you need to be sure your presentation and sales pitch runs perfectly and makes an impact by addressing all the issues, problems and budgets in order to convince the customer to rethink their decision.

Did you save sales deals ?
How did you achieve them ?

 

Being liked is not enough to close a deal but it sure helps

Rational decisions in B2B

People in companies buy solutions in order to solve problems or issues. If you manage to become liked and trusted by the people in a company you have an advantage over your competitors. However if your solution is not the best or most appropriate being liked will not help you to get the deal. People in companies take more rational decisions than the same people as a consumer. They know they have responsibility and have to explain their decision, especially when the solution fails.
If they have to decide between two very similar solutions with similar pricing then your popularity will make the difference.

Being liked helps closing deals

However if you are liked by one of more people in the company it is likely he or they will inform you and tell you more before, during and after the meetings and during telephone calls. This will allow you to position and match your solution better to the problems and issues they are encountering: you will have the best elevator pitch. Additionally you will have one or more advocates within the company that will sell your solution for you when you are not there.
This will give you a big advantages over your nearest competitors.
The salesman has an influence of about 38% on the decision.

Are you liked by your customers ?

 

Mining for the persuasive message to get in

B2C: Group targeted messages

In B2C marketeers use different messages for different target groups. Potential customers in each of these groups should feel attracted, interested or concerned by the message(s).

B2B: Persuasive personal message

However in B2B generic group messages will not work. Instead a persuasive personal message is required in order to get you ‘in’. Each person needs to feel connected and relate to the persuasive message that you are bringing in your email or cold call.
In order to create such persuasive messages you need to investigate time and effort for mining the available data. There are many sources of information available on the Internet for both the companies and the individuals. All this information should allow you to imagine a picture about the company and each of the people you are planning to contact.

Customer intelligence

Of course all this data mining of different sources on both company and some of their employees will require time. Still an investment well made as your chance on getting attention and create interest will be much higher.
In order to help you with your data mining for customer intelligence LEADSExplorer not solely reveals the companies visiting, but also provides per-defined searches on the Internet on both companies and individuals. Not solely searches using search engines on the World Wide Web but also on specific data sources like LinkedIn, Zoominfo, Jigsaw and Spoke. All at a click of a link which will save you time for collecting customer intelligence allowing you to picture the needs and requirements for a company which will lead to your persuasive message that you successfully will use for your email or cold call.

How do you create your persuasive personal message to get in ?

 

What do you tell during a cold call ?

Interesting the callee with cold calling

The main issue of cold calling is to come with a subject and a message that will interest the person your are calling.
If you don’t embark on a subject that the callee doesn’t interest, your phone call is likely to be short and the callee might even be annoyed.

Where to get the cold call message?

So you have two cases:
- You are capable of telepathy
- You dispose of information and intelligence

As probably most of sales people aren’t gifted with telepathy, they need to rely upon information and intelligence. These can come from peers and people who know inside information of the company you are cold calling which is probably the best but is also very limited in number of occurrences.

Insight resources

In some cases LinkedIn can give you some indications and information from the comments in discussion, but that remains a limited information source.

In order to have truly insight in what companies and people of companies are looking for or what bothers them for solving their problems, often your company website can provide sufficient information and intelligence. Using a web service that reveals the companies visiting and what they are looking for or researching on your website will provide you with ample information and intelligence about each of the visiting companies.
You will know:
- The search terms used for each visit
- The pages visited
- The film of the pages visited
- The the pages visited the most
- The pages visited the longest
All for every single visit someone from the company makes.
This will allow you to prepare a suiting conversation that will interest the callee as it will be a hot subject in the company.

How do you prepare for a cold call ?

 

The Google Marketing Game

Content and link marketing

In order to generate traffic and eventually obtain leads Marketing creates content and posts content on all kinds of websites and social media. Marketing aims to get links and references on the Internet in order to get more importance granted by Google to the company website.

Ads versus organic links

This is a game were Google sets the rules and every now and then Google changes the rules. The drive and reason for Google to change the rules of the Google Game originates from the fact that their revenue is from selling advertising space. Actually the advertising revenue is the opposite of the organic links marketing would like to obtain. The more organic links and references that can be obtained the lesser the need for buying ad space from Google as the organic links and references promote the website higher in the Search Engine Results.

Schizophrenic Google

So somehow Google has become schizophrenic: the basis of great search results that leveraged Google to the forefront as a search engine is the complete opposite of their business model which is selling B2B ad space.

Pushing too many ads

The question is how far can Google push the envelope and show more and more paid links on a Search Result Page compared to the number of organic links. Actually the paid links are getting the best positioning on the web window and are becoming more and more overwhelming in the number of links.
Once the ads will become too dominant the usefulness of Google as a search engine is likely to start decreasing.

The change from Google to Facebook

The Google Game that Marketing of most companies is playing will not last forever as one day a change will happen. Some change is already happening as more people enter website through links posted by their friends on Facebook. Actually more traffic is generated through Facebook than though Google search, which is a big dilemma and problem for Google.

The Internet as we have known it is likely to die.

How do you play the Google Game?

 

The Perception Of Your Brand Inside Out

The perception of your company or brand is very important to the commercial and financial success of your company.

Enhancing the negative perception

The perception of your company from inside is typically very distorted:
The flaws, misshapenings or wrong decisions are getting enlarged whereas the good decisions are decreased in importance.
People tend to enhance the doom as they are confronted with the hurdles that result from the decisions of the management of the company.
This is a severe problem as this perception will eventually migrate to the outside world as people encounter customers, suppliers and even competitors. Hence it is utmost important that all of the employees and managers get a positive perception of the company.

Pitching the perception

Brainwashing the employees and managers with pep talk and ‘we are the best/greatest’ pitches might turn out the to build even further the negative perception. Not all employees will believe and the speeches and pitches might be considered as fairy tales from the company. These pushing positive make believe pitches are in most case too easily be turned negatively, resulting in an even more negative perception.

Changing the perception

Showing the real numbers and comparing to the nearest competitors will be very effective if the company or brand is really scoring in the top 3. If the numbers show that the company is a laggard then numbers will not add to generate a better perception.

In such a case it might be just better to find and present people from the outside how they perceive the brand and company as this is more likely to be honest. These perceptions from the outside will increase the confidence in the company or brand and will leverage into a more positive perception from the inside.

This will affect positively the perception of the outside world of your company or brand.

How is the inside perception of your company or brand ?

 

The impact of Social Media and Online Information in B2B Sales

In B2B Sales a consultative approach as well as relationship building are necessary. In our current era of social media and online marketing both could be replaced or partially replaced by online content.

The consultative approach could be provided by informative and educational content on different channels of social media and other online information sources.
Examples:
- Companies make their white papers available online
- Companies upload explicative video’s to YouTube

Relationship building can only be acquired by means of the above consultative online approach. It will take several informative documents that bring real insight or solve real problems before any type of relationship with a brand of a company can be build. Still it will not be a real person-to-person relationship, but more a person-to-brand relationship.
the more useful or practical information decision makers and influencers can find on teh Internet about your solutions, the confident they will be getting of your brand and solutions.

In the extreme case the person becomes an advocate in which the person promotes the solution of the brand he started to trust.

How much of your information is available online ?
What is the measurable impact of your online content ?

 

About us

Engago Technologies provides a B2B web service for marketing and sales.
 

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