Once upon a time a salesman would knock on a door and explain who he was, who he represented, what he was selling and how he could help. But today buyers are spending more time searching online for the answer to their problems. They are not engaging with sales until they are ready, until they have researched not only what you have to offer but also how you stack up against your competition. This change is having a major impact on sales and marketing teams because what was primarily the domain of the salesman is now plainly the responsibility of marketing.
In the traditional method the salesperson would get a foot in the door, find out what the customer was after, whether they had the budget and when they would be making a decision. He’d then try to set up a follow up meeting and then work on building a relationship with the prospect and close the deal over a period of time. The salesperson would always try to dictate the information flow or the pace of the deal.
Well wake up and smell the coffee. Those days are gone or in some cases on the way out.
The internet is changing how buyers interact with their suppliers in a massive way. In many cases buyers are not engaging with sales until they are 60 to 70% of the way through the buying cycle. That means:
- The salesperson doesn’t have time to build up a relationship
- The buyer is in control
- Researchers are making decisions based on the information they find from your website, your social media platforms or via word of mouth from colleagues and peers
- Marketing now have responsibility for the first 60 to 70% of the sales cycle
- Buyers are making decisions on whether to engage with you, without your knowledge
As a salesman or a marketer this all sounds rather scary but there are solutions at hand.
Buyers are looking at ways to minimise risk. No one wants to take a chance on buying the wrong item from the wrong supplier. So it makes perfect sense to give searchers the information they’re looking for. Take a look at your website, does it shout out about how many awards you have, how long you’ve been around, how great you are. Now put yourself in the shoes of someone who has a problem that keeps them awake at night. Will the information on your website help him rest easy in his bed. If not, change it.
People are searching for answers to their questions, solutions to their problems, they’re looking for the company that appears to be a thought leader in its field, who are head and shoulders above their competitors…….And they’re not limiting their search to your website. Your audience may be active on Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook, they may be searching YouTube or Vimeo and you need to consider this in your marketing plans.
Focus your web content on your audience, not everyone wants their information in the same format. Provide the information in different formats e.g. ebooks, blog posts, video, slidedecks, podcasts, articles. Make it easy for people to take your information and repurpose it for their own internal use. They may want to include information regarding your solution into their own slidedecks as they make a pitch to their own management for funds.
If you own or manage a holiday hotel it’s no longer acceptable to have a website that gives a bland overview of what you have to offer with a link to accommodation and tariffs. Visitors are looking for a visual tour of bedrooms, dining areas and bars or lounges either through photographs or video. They expect to have information on points of interest nearby. They may be searching on a mobile device or tablet. Take note, mobile search is growing phenomenally and you need to be involved.
If you run a local business have you claimed your name on Google My Business? If not, do it soon. Google My Business is a way of getting your business listed free of charge on the first page of Google.
As we head into 2015 it may be time for you to take a fresh look at your marketing planning. If you’d like some additional information on the way forward, read my ebook, 6 stages to inbound marketing success
If you’d like to find out more about how Rame Marketing can help your business, get in touch on 01803 413481.