The topic of the relevance of the use of internet marketing for business to business sales is one that often gets posed by those marketing decision makers who get presented with options for spending money on things such as :-
- Search engine marketing
- Social media marketing
- Content generation
- Video marketing
… and other internet marketing tools and techniques that (of course) should only be deployed as part of a defined strategic internet marketing plan that fits into the organization’s business strategy.
So, to the question of whether or not a SME, multi million or even billion dollar company can make use of the internet to sell items that other businesses need to function.
To deal with this question adequately in this post, let’s remind ourselves of some of the characteristics of business to business sales which consist of :-
- Typically long sales cycles
- Ateamof decision makers
- Long term contracts
… there are of course other points to consider but those above will suffice for our discussion in hand.
First if we consider the sales cycle we need to bear in mind that the search for information on specification, functionality and other parameters in many instances take place online first, this is of course in addition to the traditional methods of browsing catalogues for the information needed to ultimately make a purchase decision. With the growth of the use of mobile devices and more people turning to the internet to consume the information they are looking for, the opportunity exists for businesses all over the world to be the ones providing the information (also outside of their main company website domain) in order to lead clients through stages of the sales cycle.
So we have touched on the sales cycle which could last for weeks, months or even years. The point is that our company can be the source producing the content that ourtargetend users require, this can be in the audio, video. text, multimedia, webinars and other forms that the internet allows us to produce content in. If the client needs ball bearing specification information, we can make it as easy as possible for them to find that information with us as the source.
As for the decision makers, the structure of the information that we produce should be crafted in a manner that will call for relevant viewing and input from various stake holders within the organisation (of course we will understand ourtargetmarket well enough to know who these decision makers are !!). As we engage with the decision makers this falls into the length of the sales cycle and the more engaged the prospective clients are, the more they will value our expertise and authority which at the time of the purchase will make the price become less relevant (in terms of them using a high price as a reason not to purchase).
In essence for business to business marketing, the smart thing to do is not to aim for on the spot purchases, whilst this could result in desired outcomes, the thing to aim for is that of quality lead generation. Using the Internet Channel Marketing framework, your company will decide which of the internet marketing tools is the most appropriate for engaging with yourtargetmarket for building relationships and taking them through the process of the sales cycle, binding them into our organisation as the go to source for quality education related to the products and services – that can be purchased elsewhere.
In conclusion, when the choice is to be made, the relationship that has been developed by using the internet marketing tools will result in us being as one of the main choices when it comes to making that all important purchase decision.
Is the internet appropriate for Business To Business Marketing ? absolutely so, if you are not actively using the internet for market to and engage with other businesses. Take a look at how you can integrate the internet with your existing business strategies today.
Any thoughts or comments ??
Feel free to get in touch – just hit the contact button above.
To you business internet marketing success.
Stephen C Campbell