If you are in business then like it or not, you have to accept that your current and potential clients are searching for the products and services that you have to offer by using the major Search Engines of the world i.e. Yahoo, Google, Bing.
Your consumers increasingly spend more and more time using the search engines to locate, products, services and information that you want to sell to them ! And unless you as a business owner strategically work to make sure that those who are searching for your products, services and information find YOUR details [and not that provided by your competitors] you are missing out on opportunities to bring clients into your marketing funnel.
It is a sad fact that most business owners focus solely on paid search – Google Adwords being the most widely known method of advertising your website. This is despite the fact that according to recent data
88 Percent Of Online Search $$££s Are Spent On Paid Advertising
85 Percent OF Searchers Click On Organic Results
If only business owners could understand and grasp the fact that Search Engine Marketing presents a really unique Opportunity to connect with potential customers – they would divert some of their Paid Advertising Budget and dedicate it to attracting Search Engine Customers.
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
… 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.
I had an interesting conversation today with a colleague [Mark Stonham] and we were discussing business strategy development and the conversation, for a while became centred around the internet and that of digital marketing. It was then that I started to talk about my concept of how I feel the internet should be viewed and positioned as a key component of a company’s digital [search engine and social media] marketing strategy.
Those of you have read my thoughts before will know that I position the internet and that of digital marketing as a [nother] marketing channel that business, companies and various organisations looking to market their products and services are able to make use of in order to get their marketing message out to the world at large i.e. their target market customers that would have been defined during the business strategy development phase, this particular marketing channel can be used to collect market intelligence, survey customers [nowadays this can be accomplished making of of chatbot marketing] as well as being used to deliver the products and services [or a digital component] of the company to the client.
I also went on to stress the point that I believe that not enough attention is paid to segmenting the internet itself as a channel to market.
What is the exact meaning behind the statement I make above ? well – the internet and digital marketing itself provides multiple sub channels that can be used to communicate with – there are many that can be used for marketing execution for sure but for brevity some of them are :-
social media marketing
… it is through these marketing channels that we as marketers and business leaders need to make sure that we communicate effectively with those who are to become our customers. For that to happen those clients must be interfacing with us through specific sub digital internet marketing channels.
It is here that I can see where many companies are potentially making costly strategy development errors in not taking the time up front to develop their digital internet channel marketing strategies. It is here that they will be told which internet sub channels their clients are interfacing with most and direct them with respect to how much effort, time and energy should be directed towards any one or multiple internet marketing sub channel.
Having said that, I do understand that there are many social media marketing experts that push the idea that using this form of marketing on the internet is all that is necessary – needless to say, I disagree as …
Strategy should precedes execution
… and this stands true for marketing on the internet as it does if you were to be selling products and services into a new country. As always, I hope you find this useful – and do feel free to hit the contact button above and get in touch if you would like to discuss business consulting, training, coaching, speaking or mentoring services.
Corporate internet marketing strategy in line with social media marketing strategies seem to be at the centre of most of the questions I get asked when business leaders are enquiring about my Internet Channel Marketing strategy consulting and seminar delivery that I am currently involved in more and more.
The point is that many executives have been told that they must get involved with Social Media Marketing, that they must immediately get training in this area or else they will get left behind.
This is where I start to explain about the concept of …
Internet Channel Marketing
… or, how to effectively incorporate the marketing tools that the internet give us into existing and new business strategies. Internet Channel Marketing is centred around the fact that the internet is but another channel to marketing. I say ‘yet another with the thought in mind that it is a very powerful channel.
We all know that marketing channels are there to enable us to :-
Effectively promote our products our services to current and potential end user clients
Effectively deliver our products and services to those who choose to purchase from us
… so coming back to Internet Channel Marketing : we like to highlight the fact that there are many tools within the complete internet marketing tools box to enable us to accomplish our channel marketing objectives.
Internet Channel Marketing gives us access to :-
Joint Venture Marketing
Search Engine Marketing
…. and the list could go on and on. Effectively using the internet for marketing means that we will use the combination of the above that adequately suits our business in terms of the ..
Marketing category of our products and services
Market Segment of our target end user clients
… this may mean that we use mainly Blogging, Podcasting or Article Marketing or it may be the case that Social Media Marketing as a key part of our Channel Marketing Strategy.
That is the essence of Internet Channel Marketing where we instruct clients on the marketing tools available to them from the internet and how to effectively use these tools to effect the execution of their business strategies.
This is why I believe it is not the best advice to push companies and executives headlong into throwing money at Social Media when it may be that their target market may be better suites to blogging internet strategies.
As I work with more and more clients on a global basis and apply my consulting skills in different industries, feel free to get in touch if you think I could be of assistance to your in your business endeavours – no matter where you may be in the world, remember the world is flat !! we would be working together face to face in a matter of days.
Hope you found this useful, any questions or comments – feel free to let me know.