Now is the time to join forces with marketing allies
Why a new approach to B2B marketing is needed that wont break the bank or upset the ICO
Overtime, everything changes, not least of all people’s attitudes. But if you do what you’ve always done you’ll get what you’ve always got. So, you either change or die!
Marketing, much like psychology is about understanding behaviour and when it comes to new business it is all about second guessing prospects’ behaviour and adapting.
We could all wait and see what artificial intelligence (AI) will do for B2B, but I can’t help feeling for people who are thinking “what about now and what about this year’s P&L, let alone what AI ‘pipe dreams’ the MarTech industry has planned”.
The bottom line, there is nothing particularly new in marketing and certainly no quick-fix for generating new business, especially with the new regulations about to come into force.
- Where is the excitement for B2B’s
- What can marketers do differently?
- How can businesses inject engagement into their communications with suspects, prospects and customers?
- What is your USP as a company and I’m not talking about your product, I’m talking about you.
CTPS & GDPR – The Terrible Twins!
We both know the B2B approach has to change, especially as neither you or I like being cold called.
We also have access to the corporate telephone preference service (CTPS) to stop phone calls and now with GDPR about to go live (i.e. when they start fining businesses from May 2018) will mean that the phones and emails could, most definitely go quiet, but sadly that means everyone is affected, including you and I.
I think a great deal will change this year and new strategies will separate the wheat from the chaff.
Should we go back to basics?
I am not one to keep going back to basics (unless I’m trying to help a salesperson get back on their feet) because of a lack of ideas. Yet there needs to be a blend of styles and approaches that can help secure more consistent new business than simply sending the sales team out cold calling.
For many businesses, if the board starts thinking about new business, commonly, the first thought is to get more sales people. Big mistake! In the same way a website needs to be customised to increase conversions, so do businesses – but how?
A few things still haven’t changed, people buy people, customers and prospects are 60% sold before they even contact you and of course, nothing is a dead cert.
So why try to come up with the new approach? Most would believe that everything that could be done has been done and of course, there’s nothing new under the sun. Well, we thought so too until now!
What about networking?
You’ve probably been networking, who hasn’t these days and whilst it can be an enjoyable social event, very little business is generated, apart from the lower end, i.e. stationery supplies, graphic design and so on. Firstly, one of the main problems is that many of the people who attend are micro business and they don’t necessarily have access to the sizes of businesses you need to connect with.
Secondly, there is an expectation that everyone will offer access to all their customers to the first person who asks. And we both know that would never happen in a million years!
In practice, it is very difficult to get traction because of either incompatibility or simply because everyone who attends wants to sell and no one wants to buy or help. It always smacks of people looking to ransack what they can get and then move on to the next meeting.
In my opinion ‘cold networking’ is way too unproductive for serious B2B sales. Let’s face it, if you approached your bank manager for a business loan and told him you intended to generate new business through cold-calling and networking, he’d laugh at you.
Everyone is in the same boat
No matter what you sell or where you sell it, GDPR, CTPS, good ol’ gate-keepers or simply the overwhelming amount of ‘noise’ and competition in the market, no one is immune to the restrictions of getting new business.
And whilst technology is a factor; like the press calling fit and slim people the ‘new rich’, it’s all well and good having the technology, but if you can’t use it and exploit it, it’s worthless. https://martechtoday.com/3-tips-make-every-martech-implementation-success-209885
The same goes for social media; which platforms and what content? Should you write once and post everywhere or target your audiences and write for each platform? https://mashable.com/2017/07/11/conversation-prism-brian-solis-update-2017
The bottom line is we both know how we like to be approached and how we respond when we want to buy something. The trouble is, many salespeople continuously forget that they’re buyers too, they don’t think and end up upsetting their prospects due to inexperience, arrogance or pressure from above!
Something had to change and salesXchange is the answer.
From small acorns!
The idea for salesXchange came whilst writing the book ‘Integrate - The Essential Business Technology and Marketing Handbook’. It occurred to me, if business owners simply played nice, things could be different, or should I say easier and more profitable.
But there were multiple drivers to consider, starting with equality! Let me explain; a business with a few employees hooking up with a twenty-year-old national player wouldn’t exactly be fair, especially for the larger company, so we needed to make sure there was a balance, so making sure the business turnover and numbers of customers was about equal and of course making sure who sold what complemented the group.
One of the main factors was to provide a service that covered every aspect of marketing and new business generation, by maximising the existing talent in each company and not attempting to act like a hatchet man, making all of the existing marketing obsolete overnight.
Don’t Make Me Think
Business owners have enough to think about, that’s why we plan and manage everything in advance, so MD’s can ‘set-and-forget’ this new string-to-their-bow!
Keep it strictly simple (KISS)
Our focus is firstly on short term introductions and access to new business and secondly on long-term content creation that lays the foundation to attract new business in the future. If someone asked you to invest in their marketing ‘plan’ and told you it would take nine months, you/I would tell them to get lost as no one would want to wait that long.
That’s why we developed a simple two-phased approach; Short term gain combined with a long- term strategy.
salesXchange in a nutshell
We bring together five businesses who sell to the same audience but don’t compete with each other on product or services. We combine their customer databases on our secure servers, but don’t share the data with anyone in the group or externally.
The existing customers are invited to join the new syndicate marketing group by email and by the sales people visiting the customers as part of their normal activity.
After launching the new website, we embark on a marketing program that includes 1-2-1 introductions, content marketing and face-to-face communications via our managed events.
It’s clear why new business can be hard to attain, but even clearer why it is going to get harder later this year. Take a moment to consider the serious advantages of working with marketing allies and the significant financial and profitable benefits you could achieve.
Collaboration is King
When you consider the cost of people and technology, unless you have deep pockets, it can be almost impossible to compete with some organisations. Do your company a favor and explore the implications of collaboration/syndicate marketing, you will be surprised you didn't consider it sooner.