In B2B sales, many organisations rely on personal contact between salespeople and the customer – i.e. the direct sales approach. This is all fine – provided, of course, that the margin of the resulting deal is large enough to cover the costs.
The direct sales approach has many advantages – you get better insight into customer needs, and should be able to craft your offers accordingly.
But current opinion says that B2B buyers are spending more and more time researching their purchases before any direct contact is made with the sellers. This means that, increasingly, purchase decisions are being influenced and even made before the salesperson gets a look-in.
So, how should the selling organisation react, in these circumstances? Clearly, one needs to do more to attract the attention and interest of buyers in other ways, but what exactly should be done? Tony’s top tip: you need to find out about the customer’s buying process. Where do they go, to get their information? What are the influences and who are the influencers, on their purchase decisions? If the selling company doesn’t work this out, there’s the potential for a great deal of wasted effort in blogs or websites or tweets or advertisements or conferences or exhibitions or SEO or whatever “activity” seems to be a good idea on the day.
In B2C there’s now a saying that none of your advertising spend should be wasted (never mind the old story about 50%). In B2B there should be something similar, it seems to me.