Interesting tidbit from WSJ this morning on B2B marketing:
Pay attention to out of office replies- they may contain useful information on contacts and other stakeholders in decision making process. One B2B marketer points out that this technique accounts for 6% of his new business.
Same article has some stats on the “typical” business email box (created by Radicati Group). It points to the fact that nearly 20% emails are spam. No clear definition of what spam is in this study, but my guess is that if you include all opt-in mail lists, this percentage is much, much higher.
Implications for marketers revolve around building meaningful and relevant content and being able to track and monitor what is relevant to your audience. It also highlights the importance of branding, which I have blogged about here.
Link to WSJ article is here.
You’ve done your homework on the prospect- checked them out on Linked in, looked at their Facebook profile, checked out what they have had to say on Twitter, maybe even confirmed that they are not on a predator database. Now you are ready to meet. After all of this effort to find the perfect mate, would you not want to look your best before you go?
Pretty basic right? And yet I am continually shocked by how poorly many B2B firms approach the initial sales meeting. Over the past 6 months, I have had exposure to half a dozen firms (primarily SaaS companies) who finally get to their first meeting and then create questions about competence, trust, and capability based on what and how they present.
Whether it is the quality of the pitch materials, quality of the demo, or knowledge of the personnel involved on the call I have seen lots of failure points that severely hamper a selling organization’s ability to build an ongoing dialogue with a customer.
Specifically, here is a sampling what I am talking about:
- Presentations- Why do so many people insist on sticking with slides they have prepared for a pitch? If the slides are not facilitating productive conversation with your client, ditch them.
- Unrehearsed demos- Why should you ever have problems doing a demo? Presenters should know the capabilities and potential failure points of their applications inside and out. If they don’t, you’ve got the wrong people.
- Webex technology failures- You would think that people know how to create back up plans for this type of contingency. I have seen it happen more that I care to mention and have seen how clients react to this most basic failure. Have a contingency plan.
- Mismatch of skills/knowledge- I have seen situations where customers are more knowledgeable about technologies/processes than those on the sales team. Make the extra call/email to get a sense for who will be in the room and what they will be interested in and bring the folks on your team who can address the issues. Don’t save follow up for another meeting- you might not get it.
I originally hesitated on writing this post for fear of restating the obvious, but the last demo I participated on was too much for me to bear. Too many people wasting time and money out there!
Implications- If you are a sales or marketing leader, routinely involve yourself in that first customer contact from time to time and ensure that your firm is putting its best foot forward. Have you recently checked to make sure the basics are covered? Consider all the investment that has gone into getting just the opportunity to talk to that one prospect. Start off creating your perfect match with the right impression and for heaven sake, clean up before you go!
A recent study by AMR International finds that B2B marketers are concentrating nearly 40% of their online spend on lead generation. What’s more interesting about this is the fact that among those who do not formally use metrics to track paid search effectiveness, less than a third saw paid search as being effective. Leads to some interesting questions regarding effectiveness of digital channels, which we will continue to investigate further in subsequent posts.
Link to article can be found here: http://bit.ly/eNPXfc
According to Gartner, SMBs (defined as entities which employ less than 999 employees) will spend an estimated $860B on IT. $137B of this will be on software. Gartner estimates only 11-18% of firms purchase on-demand services, but predicts that this will grow to 35% by 2012.
According to a Doremus and Forbes insight study, 45% of SMBs surveyed would upgrade technology if they were able to obtain additional capital. Suggests that this is a particularly attractive segment for vendors of technology solutions.