The Internet, Web2.0 Marketing, Marketing Automation And Relationship Selling
In many B2B companies, management hears its fill of “the internet will change your industry this way” or “the internet is changing your industry that way”, and as often as not (especially in engineering-oriented companies, or those that sell to a finite list of possible customers) these pieces of advice are roundly dismissed with a “that’s not how we do it in our industry, we relationship sell in this industry”. And I’ll agree with that emphatically; in B2B, people buy from people, not a website.
What those companies are missing are some key emerging points;
Google is making most of the new introductions; you can’t relationship sell if you’ve never met them, ‘who meets who’ is decided by Google many times.
Companies do due diligence with Google because it’s just so easy; “I always buy from Joe at XYZ co, but I need to have two more quotes”. Even if the intent was to gather some quotes, I’d rather start there than with a cold list. At least I know they have the budget and are customers for my product/service. Even I don’t win this time, I may in the future.
Most of the time, nobody wants to build that relationship with your sales rep’s phone calls. Executive days are so busy that a sales rep with a “you buying anytime soon?” question is just annoying. What they will make time for is a very pertinent case study or webinar that speaks to their business problem because it helps them answer a question, it doesn’t take much time, and they can read/watch it when they have time.
New technology, like marketing automation, helps tell your reps who really does want to talk now; instead of talking to everyone as often as possible, get sales developing relationships with prospects or customers who are showing real interest.
Instead of dismissing the internet, B2B companies that rely on relationship selling should see it as a tool for relationship selling:
Get more relationships started via Google, get Google introducing you to more companies that need your services.
Leverage digital intellectual property (ie a case study or whitepaper) to do some relationship building with many more of your contacts.
Use tools such as ActiveConversion to show you who is actually interested in talking to you.
Online marketing coupled with tools like marketing automation software will make marketers and salespeople more effective and efficient at relationship selling.
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About Ritu Singh
Ritu has over 10 years of experience in planning, facilitating and executing marketing programs. She is passionate about marketing and driven to help start-ups and small to large companies market products and services online and offline.