Addictive Services vs Just Useful Services: Free vs Marketing

Business-To-Business Services

Even in Business-To-Business there are several kinds of services: those that are needed or required and those that are interesting or fun but not really necessary.
Still the biggest differentiation is the not the usefulness or benefits but whether the service is addictive or not.

Addictive services

If your service is addictive then you are able to give it away for free as a trial to as many people as possible. Due to the addictiveness people will start missing the service once the free trial has ended. Just like cigarettes, alcohol and drugs an addictive service will generate its’ own demand. In this case hardly any marketing is needed to stimulate sales.

Useful services

If your service is not addictive but just useful then you will need a lot of marketing efforts consisting of advertising, content marketing and the all important references as without these people just won’t purchase as they don’t see the immediate benefit for them selves.
If you give your useful service away as a free trial, people will find it interesting but not more. Maybe they will miss it if they see a real value for your service.
Supported by your advertising and content marketing people will start to believe your useful service could be important and beneficial seen the amount of interest in the media.

By additionally presenting references the basic interest can turn into a desire to have the service in order:
- To be part of the group
- To be considered as a leader
- Not to lag behind on the rest

Are your services addictive ?


Building online trust by the photo of the building ?

The early days of the company website

In the early days of the Internet, when companies just discovered the Internet and when Google was still a start-up, these companies didn’t know what to do with their web presence. What content to publish.
In order to confirm their existence in the virtual world they proof their physical presence by putting the image of their building (or buildings) on their website.

Large and tiny companies all have a website

Nowadays you cannot distinguish major companies from mini companies as a small company can have an impressive quality website with interesting content whereas the market leader can present itself with a mediocre website with plain vanilla content. Just the brand name will make the difference.
A website and content is all about time, investment, effort and dedication which both large and small companies can invest in.
Of course the larger companies are known for their brand name, but how to differentiate as a visitor between a medium sized and a small company in the same industry as they both can have an impressive website.

Website differentiators

Customer references and named case studies on a website are a big plus as it shows the legacy of the company. It is not just the references, but the effort and time put in to get these customers agree upon becoming a reference or a case study. Most customers don’t agree or won’t commit to become a reference or case study. So even a larger company can have less or no references or case studies on their website than their smaller competitor that just got lucky with a few customers that were willing to be a reference as the underdog can get more support or sympathy.

Showing the faces of the management team with their names and function will enhance the level of trust as these people aren’t hiding behind a company name. However small and medium sized companies all do have a management team and all can have great looking pictures of well dressed well behaved people. Thus again that won’t make the difference.

Putting the image of the building on your website can help to build additional trust, just like in the old days. Large building, especially nice looking, still impress people and show the importance or scale of the company. However it will not make your website interesting or bring content quality. The image of the building can help to generate some trust and convince certain decision makers / takers to be on the short list or to have a look into your proposition.

How do you achieve trust on your website ?


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?


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