April 22, 2014
I recently read an article in eMarketer.com that dealt with sales stats in 2013, and that almost 40% of the sales forces weren’t making their numbers and it floored me. I sure wouldn’t want to be running a company based on sales of XXX and then the sales force under-delivers by that large of a difference-Yikes!
2013 wasn’t a bad year for the economy (we’ve seen a lot worse), and I can’t help but wonder what their issues were in closing the sale. One of the biggest reasons given was the sale ended in a “no decision.” What does that mean?
Here’s an interesting graphic:
It sounds to me like either the leads weren’t qualified correctly or the salesman didn’t do his homework in determining where the prospect was in the sales funnel. It also sounds like there were multiple decision makers in the process and possibly they all were not included in the sales pitch. A few other things bother me as well:
- What I can’t understand in this report is that 31% were unable to effectively communicate value to a prospect - yes, you heard me right.
- 26% had content that wasn’t aligned with the buyer
- 20% didn’t have the necessary content or resources for selling
This sounds like a great opportunity for marketing to step in and help fill the content voids they are talking about. It also begs the question of whether these results were from a traditional selling model versus that of one using social media as part of the mix.
If you had good content that was searchable on the internet, chances are the right people will find that info long before they identify themselves to you as a prospect and get a lot of their basic homework done first. You’d be able to show your expertise in a market segment so they think of you as an industry expert, which will help set you apart (value of your brand) when they finally decide to contact you. Marketing can help answer those questions ahead of time if we know the different stages of the selling cycle and what’s important to address at each level.
Am I missing the boat here or do you agree?
March 19, 2014
HVACRBusiness recently released a new research study, “HVACR Contractors: Trends in the Adoption of Products/Systems & Management Approaches,” that highlights new trends on their involvement with manufacturers. I did a podcast interview with Terry Tanker, the publisher, to talk about the results of the research.
Listen to the podcast here.
You can sign up to get a copy of the study here.
February 12, 2014
As marketers in the industrial B-to-B space, I think we all recognize that our potential customers have several options beyond the traditional ones we’ve used for years. The challenge for us is to identify where they are getting their info and to make sure we’re there when they start looking. That means we need to embrace the digital world, and a recent study by IHS GlobalSpec shows that only about 35% of industrial marketers are satisfied with their online efforts.
IHS GlobalSpec has recently released a white paper, Taking a Strategic Approach to Digital Media that gives you some guidelines and recommendations on developing a plan and monitoring results.
Some highlights that I found interesting were:
- Almost half of the industrial professionals visit 10 or more work-related websites each week.
- Top four resources for these professionals are search engines, online catalogs, supplier websites and GlobalSpec.
- 56% of buyers don’t contact a vendor until the research phase is done, and 19% wait until they are ready to buy.
What does that mean to us who don’t want to miss these opportunities?
- It means that we need to identify the channels that our customers use to gather info. The best way to do that is ask them.
- Once you identify the channels, you need to develop content for the different stages in the buying process for your product.
- Implement and monitor a program. The beauty of digital is we can immediately get feedback on what’s working and what’s not.
Don’t let digital scare you. It’s just another way to communicate with customers. Don’t worry about reinventing the wheel on content. Chances are you already have great stuff, you just need to identify it and maybe change the approach of features/benefits on how your products can help customers with their issues.
January 15, 2014
I know for most of us, 2013 was a positive experience. Most of our clients and the folks I talk to in the industry had good growth this past year and are expecting the same this year.
According to a recent article in eMarketer.com, 80% of small business are forecasting a better 2014. Here’s what they are saying they will be concentrating on in 2014.
While the small business owners are optimistic about 2014, economic uncertainty and government policies are still on their mind.
So what is your outlook for the new year and where are your challenges? Do any of them match up with what the survey indicates?
December 3, 2013
When you go to all the work to create great content, don’t miss out on opportunities to share it. We’re all guilty of getting into a routine when creating content and rarely deviate from it, whether it be because of time constraints or just laziness. The point is, we need to shake it up a bit sometimes.
According to 2014 B2B Content Marketing Trends, there are over two dozen tactics that you could use. Here are some that I think are important in going after the professional tradesman:
- Offer useful info on your website - Make sure to include topics that help folks through your selling cycle.
- Industry newsletters - As you collect email addresses, send out a regular newsletter quarterly or monthly. If you are selling to several different audiences, segment the newsletters so they will be more meaningful for those who read them. A plumber probably isn’t interested in something a HVAC guy would be. Don’t be concerned about the size of the lit, but the quality of it. I’d rather be regularly communicating with 500 key prospects than 5,000 unqualified ones.
- Case Studies - By market or application are in high demand by your target audience. Tradesmen like to see what their peers are doing and the results. Post on your website, use it as an e-blast to your targets and have them reprinted so your sales force has something to hand out.
- Videos - How to and feature and benefit videos are an easy way for you to get your point across. Put it on your website, and put it on YouTube (create your own channel) with the appropriate search terms.
- Online Presentations – Take those PowerPoints you do everyday on why you’re better than the other guys and put it on your website, along with putting it on SlideShare with appropriate key words.
- Podcasts - Even if you don’t have a blog, you can utilize this tactic. Interview an industry leader on the issues of the day or what’s coming down the line that might impact your reader. You can use it again on your website and do e-blasts to targeted audiences.
Those are some highlights from my point of view. Whether it’s utilizing these tactics or others, step outside the box and try other things. You’ll be glad you did.