The sales process in the B2B world is a long considered process that takes much longer than other industries. This is further complicated with a saturation of media, news, information and an increase in busier personal lives compounded by a more demanding business life for employees and business owners. With this increased difficulty there is surprisingly a lack of defined B2B channels for marketers & sales personnel to engage and shorten the sales process. Strategic marketing campaigns have to consider the key steps in the B2B buyer journey to engage and convert potential clients.
Ensure potential clients discover your brand and understand what your product & service offering can do for them. It sounds obvious, but knowing your ideal customer or 'magnetic' customer is the first aspect that must be clear. Multiple media channels are often used to reach your magnetic customer including greater focus on digital channels. The Melbourne Network has established one of the first connected B2B marketplaces for help with discoverability and accessibility for potential B2B clients. A destination for B2B brands and buyers as part of the Awareness and Consideration process below.
Consideration & Engagement
This is the most critical stage in the process - with potential clients aware of your product or service offering, this is about understanding their business circumstances and specific needs. Being a leader of industry through knowledge, education and case studies Being authentic and understanding the client's needs and how you can fill them is the most important. Many B2B companies rely solely on sales personnel to progress this into a conversion quickly, when in reality it takes time and requires a holistic organisational approach. This is especially so for credibility, trust, education and ability to deliver which makes distribution of content to the potential client a key factor.
Conversion & Closing
This is where high performing B2B Sales professionals earn their money - this is the time where decisions are to be made. Depending on your organisation's goals, success at this stage doesn't have to be a sale, it can be me moving them up the sales funnel into a genuine qualified lead with ongoing dialogue & engagement. Making the process as easy as possible for your customer is important - if your service can be booked online or your products can be purchased via your website. Use distribution channels, such as the Melbourne Network, to distribute your products to B2B audiences so that they can purchase via e-Commerce or have your services able to be booked or enquired about. Support this with branded landing page content and be easily contactable. Remember, this is about accessibility of your brand, product, service and offering. Marketing campaigns are moving more into the digital space for obvious reasons. Paid campaigns from a variety of digital media including digital publications, brand partnerships, B2B marketplace sites, social media & eDM's help generate qualified leads into this phase of the process. All designed to carefully bring a potential client through the buying journey and working on their timeline not yours. When done right, the sale is converted or closed.
Post Sale Client Management
B2B companies often overlook what they do after the sale is made. The hard work has been done by both Sales & Marketing teams, a new customer and new revenue. Now is the time to deliver and provide ongoing service to retain this customer long term. Sales personnel need to build on the relationship and ensure the customer is comfortable with your organisation at every level of engagement. With relationships being trusted, it leads to understanding the customer further and being in position to win further business in the future. It costs less to retain customers than win new customers and this phase is the most overlooked aspect of the B2B buying journey.
Consider the Melbourne Network as part of your B2B sales & marketing strategies - distribution, discoverability, accessibility, content education and direct connections.