Keeping up in today's fast-paced, high-tech world is no small challenge for the average person. At a time when everything has become "breaking news," interruptions are the norm and impatience has become a virtue. Imagine the difficulty this new world poses for large organizations. Traditional work hours and ways of doing business no longer live up to today's expectations. While some industries are working hard to rethink their approach, a recent Marketing Insights article "Lost in the B-to-B Time Warp" by Don E. Schultz calls into question whether traditional business to business marketing channels are doing enough to reinvent themselves for the modern marketplace.
Relying solely on traditional promotional tools, such as brochures and mailings, is only part of what may be holding back B-to-B. Schultz brings to the forefront what he sees as the three critical B-to-B issues that need to be addressed in the 21st century.
The first issue centers on what Schultz refers to as an increasingly irrelevant field sales force. Widespread accessibility of information has created a power shift from seller to buyer. Recent data indicates nearly two-thirds of buying decisions have been made before the sales force is even involved. Modern sales teams may seal the deal, but rarely do they help a buyer uncover a new product or service.
To counter this potential issue, companies must engage current and potential customers earlier in the sales cycle through new methods of communication. No longer will sales field sales be the first touch. Instead, multichannel marketing via email, direct mail, and social media need to be a consistent part of brand awareness, supporting the field sales force and priming potential customers. These solutions largely live presale, and focus on educating the customer before they even know they need the product.
The second area which Schultz described as becoming increasingly important deals with branding. Choosing colors and designing a logo are no longer enough. A cutting edge brand relies on consistency, technology, and integration into every aspect of a businesses identity. Using a consistent brand tone and voice to deliver messages across multiple channels helps potential customers to identify and think of a specific brand more readily.
Thirdly, today's B-to-B marketing and communication is about more than "buying centers," structured sales pitches and CRM feeds. Defining B-to-B marketing itself is a challenge, but perhaps also an opportunity. Schultz calls for new leaders that will abandon past traditions, rethink the future, and create a new definition of B-to-B marketing.
At MMC, we've been helping top manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers make that transition to reaching out to their prospects and customers in new ways. By leveraging cutting edge technology, deeper data and analytics, and methods that haven't yet been used in B-to-B, MMC helps clients reach out to both prospects and customers in a consistent, targeted, and optimized way. This results in brands extending their reach and growing sales, all while reducing overall cost of sale. By managing the entire sales lifecycle through digitally driven multichannel marketing, we’re helping to shift the B-to-B sales paradigm.
Let us show you how – contact us today.