The Biggest Problem with Most B2B Sales Efforts and What to do About it
As a business leader, you’ve been “sold to” many times.
Pitched, proposed, approached, and marketed to…whatever you want to call it.
Your guard is up, and it takes a special approach to get you to lay it down.
Yet, are you using these exact same tactics in your business?
Here’s the problem that most B2B companies have with selling; it’s largely viewed as a transactional effort where you are selling benefits, features, and value.
What Sales Looks Like For Most B2B Organizations
You’re out there canvasing the market, knocking on doors, making calls, sending emails and promoting your message. These are all outbound marketing and direct sales efforts, and they have a definite place. But they also will not work for a large percentage of your target market.
It takes a refined system of targeting, outreach, and persistent follow up to get maximum results from outbound sales efforts. Most B2B companies struggle to do it well, consistently. Thus, results are far less than optimal.
You don’t have a relationship with your prospects, and you rely solely on the quality of your marketing materials and message to get opportunities.
What Sales Looks Like For Advanced B2B Marketing Operations
The companies generating the greatest returns are building communities around their brands.
They don’t start with a cold call. They don’t start with a direct mail piece.
The first thing these companies do is invite their prospects to join a branded community of industry thought leaders and resources. They invest resources in establishing their brand as a leader, by developing engaging online and offline communities that offer true value to their prospects and key industry partners.
Over a number of months, prospects become so familiar with the generosity of the brand they feel like great friends with the people running these communities. Through numerous touch points over a short amount of time, the company establishes itself as one of the good guys and can build real relationships with targeted prospects.
What Are These Communities?
These communities can come in many forms, and depends on the strategic focus of your company. More specifically, who are your prospects? Build a community they will love.
The community could be a local networking group specific to their industry. It could be a career network for the kind of people you target.
Your community could take the form of a LinkedIn group, or a private Facebook group. It could be a private online forum, on a branded website you develop.
There are many options. For brands that invest first in building these relationships, the sales process changes dramatically.
What Does This Do to Sales?
When you establish yourself as a true resource and friend, business almost takes care of itself.
The need for direct mail is greatly reduced. Cold calls are always warm, welcomed calls. You’re not pitching somebody, you’re helping a friend discover a valuable solution for their business.
You don’t need to invest as much in sales resources because your marketing is increasing the effectiveness of your sales team.
It’s a complete paradigm shift in the way you sell, because of the engagement your marketing activities generate.
Sales go up. Cost goes down. And client retention increases as you build real, valuable relationships with your prospects.
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