B2B Customer Acquisition: The role of human engagement in a world of digital-first enterprise marketing
Whether you’re selling through virtual techniques or more traditional ones, the most important thing a selling company can do with their prospects is still to build trust.
Have marketing priorities changed following the rise of increasingly digital sales processes?
Virtual selling processes and digital self-serve tools are playing an increasing role in the modern buyer’s journey. Companies with a productised offer, SAAS being a great example, are a natural fit for this new ‘hands off’ approach. But whether you’re selling through virtual techniques or more traditional ones, the most important thing a selling company can do with their prospects is still to build trust. All too often we see B2B companies become distracted by offering experiences or surprise and delight initiatives for their customers, which of course there is a place for, but should not be your main priority when it comes to achieving business goals.
The first step in building trust is through external sources such as reviews and testimonials. This acts as social proof, showing prospects that your product or service has been successful for other customers and therefore could work for them too. The next step is to build authenticity and credibility. Demonstrate your industry knowledge and expertise through value-led content such as thought leadership to show your prospect that you understand their challenges and can help provide a solution for them.
Together, sales and marketing teams can create highly personalised and targeted campaigns that focus on individual companies or small sub sectors within an industry segment.
What can sales and marketing teams do together when trying to achieve business goals?
Marketing and sales teams should work in lockstep, as ultimately they are trying to achieve the same goal - growing business revenues. Marketing should no longer be pigeon-holed at just a lead generation machine or brand awareness function, their responsibilities now crossover and complement sales to such an extent they could be considered one department. Account Based Marketing is a perfect working example of this. Together, sales and marketing teams can create highly personalised and targeted campaigns that focus on individual companies or small sub sectors within an industry segment. This way, both teams know exactly what is expected of them at any stage of a prospect’s journey and the joint responsibility they hold in progressing that journey. As marketing analyses performance data and sales teams have conversations with prospects & customers, there is a real collaborative opportunity to optimise your processes and content served - ultimately improving your chances of a successful conversion from prospect to customer.
Your customer profile is constantly changing, sometimes rapidly and sometimes slowly, so it’s vital that you can recognise and adapt to fit these changing customer profiles.
How can businesses prepare themselves for longer term success?
Flexibility and adaptability are the cornerstones for longer term business success. Your customer profile is constantly changing, sometimes rapidly and sometimes slowly, so it’s vital that you can recognise and adapt to fit these changing customer profiles. Think about the tools, channels and styles that you utilise to engage with your customers. Is your messaging still relevant to your customers or have their priorities changed recently? Are you using the right channels to reach them or have they adopted a new communication platform? Customers will typically evolve quicker than companies can adapt, therefore accepting that you will likely always be playing some form of catch up is important, otherwise you’ll end up frustrated and disillusioned - which is less than ideal!
A recent example of changing customer preferences is the rise of self-serve content. The old notion that marketers are in charge of a content path that takes a buyer through a journey and nurtures them through a funnel is no longer relevant. Be brave and tear up your traditional approaches. Take time to research how your buyers really engage with your content and what their preferences are, before creating a new approach that meets their needs and expectations.
Efficio is the world’s largest tech-enabled procurement and supply chain consultancy, operating across 13 offices in Europe, North America and the Middle East. They use a technology-driven approach to help organisations reduce costs, optimise their supply chains, develop and implement their digital procurement strategies, and upskill their procurement teams so they can realise cost savings faster.