Are Your Sales and Marketing Departments on the Same Page?

January 20, 2016

By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman, Sonnhalter

As we start 2016, it may be time to reflect on ways we can do better moving forward. I have found one of the biggest issues and one of the easiest ones to correct is communications between sales and marketing. Here’s a post I did last year that might give you some starting points.

Sales and marketing must work together to define the ideal client and determine how and what to get in front of them. Social media and the internet in general has changed the way people buy. Today, research is done online long before the potential customer identifies themselves to a prospective vendor. So what can you do to ensure that when the buyer is ready, you’re on the list to talk to?

This is an issue that continues to frustrate marketers and sales across the board. Both disciplines have insights to offer and neither should be working in a vacuum.I read an interesting article recently by John Jantsch from Duct Tape Marketing that addresses this very problem.

He states: “My take is that for organizations to take full advantage of the dramatic shift in the way people and organizations buy today they must intentionally blend inbound marketing, outbound marketing and inbound selling a way that mirrors today’s customer journey.”

He offers some suggestions on how they can work together. Here are some highlights of shared responsibilities:

  • Planning – When marketing is creating a plan, involve sales. They have insights that marketing doesn’t. Their insights are invaluable in helping define the customer journey.
  • Editorial – Even if sales people aren’t great writers, they certainly can identify pain points along the way and possible solutions for marketing to write about.
  • Social – Make sales aware of social opportunities, whether it’s LinkedIn or participating in an industry forum that social is a good networking tool.
  • Engagement – Have sales and marketing make calls together or write a proposal.
  • Measurement – Forget quantity and focus on quality of lead and how you can take them down the sales funnel. Focus on creating a profitable customer.

If you liked this post you might like:
Are You Getting Your Sales Force Involved in Social Media?
How Does Social Media Impact a B-to-B Purchase?


Mobile Marketing Continues to Grow in Workplace

January 19, 2016

By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman, Sonnhalter

According to a recent post in eMarketer.com, mobile is continuing to grow in the workplace. In 2014, the average non voice time U.S. adults spent on mobile devices surpassed that of desktops and laptops for the first time.

And by 2017, eMarketer.com estimates that mobile usage will increase to more than an hour a day more than desktops or laptops. This should come as no surprise to us. The next time you’re in a meeting, look around the room and see how many mobile devices are there and how many times those individuals check their devices during the course of the meeting.

So what does this mean for manufacturers who are trying to reach the professional tradesman? It means if you don’t currently have a mobile strategy, you better develop one soon! Here some areas you need to focus on:

Mobile Marketing Tactics Used by B2B Marketers Worldwide, May 2015 (% of respondents)

LinkedIn, a leading BtoB social media tool, reports that 55% of all its traffic is coming from mobile in the last part of 2015. Google reported that in the U.S., more than 50% of all searches were made on mobile devices .

Similar estimates for mobile use: Facebook (58%) and Twitter (90%) are forecasted by the end of 2016.

Mobile is here to stay and we need to recognize that these are new challenges for our workforces.


Email Opens on Mobile Increasing: Are You Participating?

January 6, 2016

Desktop opens are still more than mobile, but the trend is closing the gap according to a recent post in emarketer.com.

Mobile click-through rates for U.S. marketing emails sent by Yesmail clients in the later part of 2015 were up close to 14%.

Email Marketing Open Share in North America, by Device and Industry, Q2 2015 (% of total emails sent by Experian Marketing Services clients)

So what does this mean for manufacturers that are trying to reach contractors and tradesman? It means that whatever you’re trying to communicate to them, it needs to be mobile friendly. Contractors check more than emails on job sites, and the more mobile friendly you are, the better results there will be.

Besides the content they want to deliver, they need to consider apps and mobile tactics. Here are a few.

Possible Apps to Consider:

  • Product information
  • Engineering or other calculators
  • Installation and troubleshooting instruction videos
  • Productivity tools
  • Competitive cross-reference charts
  • Ability to check current inventory levels
  • Distributor locator with direct links

If you like this post, you may want to read:

Are you using mobile to share your content with tradesman and contractors.

2016 Budget: How much are you going to spend on social media and mobile marketing?


Content Marketing: More is Not Necessarily Better

November 22, 2015

By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman at Sonnhalter

Your potential audience doesn’t want quantity, they want quality. So if you’re trying to generate more content quicker just for the sake of having it, don’t waste your time. You need to accelerate demand, not noise.

I recently read an article by Carlos Hidalgo from Content Marketing Institute on How to Develop a Buyer-Centric Content Marketing Strategy that made several good points.

The best way to connect with your audience is to determine what kind of content they want. In other words, what motivates buyer behavior and how do they get information? If you know these, you can build the correct content architecture.

  • What motivates buyer’s behavior? You need to have a deeper understanding of how a buyer thinks and then what do we need to say to get him over to our side.
  • How do they get their information? What type of content do they prefer and where do they go to get it?
  • Building a content architecture – Once you have an answer to the above questions, then you can map out a plan to get to them with the right info at the right time.

Content Marketing’s main purpose is to drive specific business outcomes. So the buyers are looking for more info, just the right info. He points to a 2014 ANNUITAS survey where less than 3% of those responsible for content marketing activities were happy with their outcomes. Here’s another scary fact from Sirius Decisions — that 70-80% of all content is never used!

These are not good numbers to take to the C-Suite to get more funding. If you can’t achieve positive and measurable results that can be tied to sales revenues, you really don’t have a content strategy at all.


Are You Using Videos to Connect with the Professional Tradesman?

November 10, 2015

By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman, Sonnhalter

Short videos are ideal for social media and for you to gain reach and shares.

As a manufacturer, are you capitalizing on this powerful tool to disperse your message? You don’t need a “Hollywood” production. As a matter of a fact, the ones done on a mobile phone would do just fine. We’ve done “man on the street” interviews with contractors at will-call counters and on job sites asking their opinions on tools and other products.

Did you know – Videos convey more info per minute than any other media and 65% of the public like to learn via videos.

In my opinion, you’re better off making a series of very short videos (keep each to one thought or idea). Ideally under 2 minutes is what I tell folks to shoot at. Below is an example of one of a series of videos we have done.

 

Here are some thoughts on content.

  • Focus on a problem your customer might have from their perspective (what happened if the problem isn’t resolved?)
  • Provide tips to solve it.
  • Utilize the video medium to show examples or illustrate a solution. Here’s your chance to be creative.
  • Make sure they know your company has the solution to solve their problem.

Donna Moritz did a recent post in Social Media Examiner that talks about 6 ways to use short videos in social marketing. Here are some highlights:

  • How to video – solve a problem.
  • Highlight your skills – what better way to get your value proposition out there.
  • Showcase an event – trade show, association event or new product intro.
  • Go behind the scenes  give the viewer some insights of your company that they normally wouldn’t see.

She also outlines 10 tools you can use to create and edit short videos.

The bottom line is, use video in your marketing efforts.


Is Print Dead?

November 4, 2015

We’ve been hearing for years that print is “dead” and digital media reigns. However for B2T, print is still and important medium.

Join Matt Sonnhalter in the next installment of our Marketing Minute series to find out more about why you shouldn’t call time of death of print advertising.

To view other videos from Sonnhalter, visit our YouTube channel here and let us know if there’s a B2T marketing topic you’d like us to cover.


Are You Winning at Customer Service?

November 3, 2015

By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman, Sonnhalter

Everybody wants answers, especially to problems, and they expect your customer service department to be on 24/7. This is especially true in the B to C market.

I recently had trouble with a wine cooler that was one month out of warranty and quit. Needless to say, I wasn’t a happy camper and I let the manufacturer know on their website over a weekend. To my surprise, I got an answer within a few hours and they are working with upper management to solve my issue. Now they may just be blowing smoke and we’ll see, but their responsiveness made me cool down a bit.

I ran across a study recently in emarketer.com “How to win at customer service,” that claimed most people just want their questions answered.

Attitudes Toward Customer Service Among Internet Users Worldwide, Aug 2015 (% of respondents)

Here are some highlights:

  • 81% of those surveyed just wanted their questions answered
  • 89% feel more positive about brands that give good customer service
  • 46% tell their friends and family about a quick response time

So what does all this mean to the manufacturing sector? Well the bar isn’t raised too high and we certainly don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

Here are some tips on how to serve the professional tradesman:

  • Keep your customer service department open on business days from 7 AM to 5 PM EST. If the contractors are having issues, you need to be available when they are working.
  • Staff your customer service department with experienced people who can answer questions, troubleshoot a problem or forward them onto someone who can.

A post you may want to read, Customer service: How are you handling unhappy people, may be a good read. A good customer service department can help increase future sales by giving them a positive experience


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