You're on the right roadJust by asking the question you've taken a huge step toward solving this vexing problem. You should also take some solace from the fact that you're hardly alone.
Most B2B companies remain trapped in a decades old paradigm (don't hate me for using such a cheesy word!) based on sales and marketing approaches that were designed for a time when people didn't know more about you and your competitors after 1 hour of web work than you almost do yourself.
And the change is insidious - nobody jumps in your face and tells you what you're doing wrong. Instead they all just drift away and your volume of inquiries, then quotes, then sales slowly declines. It's an agonizing decay and for most companies it's already begun.
Acknowledging that you have a problemOf course you can't fix a problem until you acknowledge and define it. For most companies acknowledging is tough emotionally and defining is an intellectual challenge. But the latter is a matter of perspective. So if you've made the tough emotional leap, then here's a high level view to help define the problem.
The internet has changed everything. OK - not exactly a blinding flash of the obvious....but did you realize that B2B sales has been impacted nearly as much as B2C? For instance 93% of B2B purchases start with an internet search. And where the typical buying process used to involve your sales rep no later that 30% of the way into the process, now buyers are often more than 70% of the way through research and selection before engaging your sales rep.
The problem, therefore, is that you must adopt new definitions for "sales" vs. "marketing" and meld the two in ways to allow you to successfully sell remotely. Your prospect dialog must be predicated on the fact that your rainmakers won't be involved until it's nearly time to negotiate the terms. In other words your industrial marketing has to serve as your primary sales force as well.
Inbound Marketing - effective and affordableThe good news is that there's a fix. And it's not only killer effective but also a tremendous value in terms of ROI.
B2B marketing is now being redefined by the tools and approaches that use content (supported by a range of other tools and methodologies including SEO, social media and metrics) to successfully compete by:
- getting found early in the buying process
- engaging prospects by converting them on a website and selling by proxy with great content and an engaging & nurturing virtual dialog
- using content to establish credibility for your company and solution, and even helping to coach the buyer on how to buy a solution
- constantly measuring and updating approaches to maximize effectiveness
Small business marketing now has the tools to compete against even behemoths - the only limiting factor is your commitment and creativity.
Want to learn more? Consilium is finalizing a ground breaking report that outlines where we are, how we got here and how to thrive moving forward. We've found no other publication that breaks it all down into easy to digest explanations and actionable recommendations.
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