For many companies, business-to-business is the bread-and-butter of their sales. These industry insiders know that B2B marketing differs from B2C efforts; however, studies are showing that the Information Age and social media are changing the way that business representatives and sales teams make the most effective connections. According to marketing research4, B2B sales methods are beginning to show similarities to their consumer counterparts, as new researching habits are changing the ways we gather the information that is necessary for business decision-making. Deals that were once made on the golf course are now more affected by search engine research and the reviews and testimonials provided by other customers.
Despite increasing similarities, B2B events still differ dramatically in a few major ways. First of all, the stakes at B2B events are much higher, since the cost of products and services is infinitely greater than the average consumer purchase. The risks are also greater for these purchasing decisions, since the wrong product could do irreparable damage to a business. However, we are seeing a situation where average consumers have 3,000 sources of information to help them purchase a $40 pair of shoes, but business purchasers have limited sources to help them make an educated decision regarding an $800,000 IT system.3 Fortunately, that’s beginning to change.
- Digital Document Libraries
Due to the cultural changes caused by social media, sales teams and exhibitors should expect their leads to have a broader perspective—to be coming to the table with more information about the product they require and the competitors that can provide it. For businesses to stay ahead of their competition, they need to be at the forefront of providing that information directly to their leads.
Digital document libraries are able to house the vital statistics that back up your sales team and help turn conversations into conversions. Whether visitors are in the evaluation, consideration, or purchasing stage of the sales cycle, big ticket sales rely on highly optimized content that delivers the right information at the right time. Consider a turnkey digital document library for such items as:
- Video Demos
- Case Studies
- White Pages
- Product Specs
- Targeted Sales Material
“Now more than ever before, your company’s success requires content that is grounded in deep insight about buyers’ decision to choose you over a competitor, or to do nothing at all. Marketers on your team need to become experts in their target buyers, how they buy, and what is important to them in order to be successful.”1 Not only does a digital document library provide the right information to your leads, it also gives YOU information on your customers’ search habits, document views, and downloads—helping you gain a better understanding of customers’ general interests, and also giving you specific information about individual leads.
- Lead Retrieval Systems
“Great marketing campaigns start with great contact data, yet all too often the state of the marketing database is left to chance.”1
Due to the size and importance of B2B purchasing decisions, customer relationships are even more valuable at these events, and first-rate customer involvement is expected. Consider the following figures:
- 50% of leads that are generated are not yet ready to buy.4
- There has been a 20% increase in the length of the sales cycle in the last 5 years due to the number of decision makers involved in the buying process.4
- Research has shown that it takes 10 marketing touches from initial inquiry to sales completion in the B2B space.4
In light of these findings, it is even more apparent how important data is for B2B sales. Clearly, businesses need to know as much as possible about their customers’ needs, interests, and position in the company in order to gauge their current position in the sales cycle. Lead retrieval systems provide relevant, targeted data, as well as gathering, capturing, and exporting vital customer contact information and preferences. They can help contribute data for sales automation, marketing automation, and a company’s CRM system—information such as correct and preferred contact info, demographics, company background, data on previous product purchases or service needs, and—perhaps most importantly—behavioral data.
- 72% of US companies selected “innovation” as one of their top 5 current business challenges.2
In today’s world, leads are not enough—B2B sales teams must have QUALITY leads, targeted buyers, on-point messaging, and first-rate communication between Marketing and Sales. Happily, the technology that can provide that necessary data is ready and waiting!