For an industrial business, entering a new market or vertical in a foreign country has never been easier.
This is not to oversimplify the process. Exporting a product or service and entering a new market is no walk in the park. Developing an export market requires detailed analysis and always carries a certain amount of risk. So exporting is never easy, however, given the role online technology plays in the modern industrial sales cycle, it has never been easier.
The modern industrial sales cycle centers around the idea that B2B customers are already looking for the products they need and are using online sources to find the best solutions. Industrial businesses need to make their products easy to find online and provide specific details to help buyers make informed decisions. In fact, Bain & Company now estimate that two-thirds of all B2B buying research is conducted online.
This shift online has opened B2B buyers to a world of potential solutions. Instead of buying a product because it is manufactured down the street, online resources help buyers find and compare products from around the world.
B2B buyers judge a product based on its fit with a company and the ability to solve a problem, not just the existing relationship they have will another local business.
This makes location less of a factor in B2B buying decisions, creating a more level playing field for industrial businesses exploring foreign markets.
With a more even playing field, industrial companies need to employ export marketing strategies to get their products in front of relevant viewers. The role of SEO for industrial exporters cannot be understated since buyers cannot buy what they don’t know about.
However, it doesn’t end with search results. Emails and online advertising allow exporters to get products and services in front of highly relevant audiences, who have already expressed interest in a product or service. Better yet, there are plenty of technologies available to automate these processes, reducing the need to hire new sales teams until strong leads are generated.
Successful export marketing requires a website to be professional in order to make a good first impression. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that exporters need to invest in an expensive website re-design. Instead, it’s a matter of considering what buyers in new markets are looking for.
Case studies illustrate a company’s past success and provide proof of its ability to deliver on expectations. This lends a sense of credibility to buyers in new markets. As well, consider which industry associations buyers in new markets trust. Joining relevant industry groups, and displaying membership logos clearly on a website, demonstrates a strong understanding of target markets.
Finally, for buyers to perform pre-purchase research online, they need content to consume. Give it to them.
In the past, industrial exporters required expensive travel budgets and remote sales offices to get information in the hands of buyers. Today buyers can access that same information from their desk, conducting in-depth research before speaking with a sales rep. Online technology has not eliminated the need for sales teams in new markets but made it easier for them to achieve more with less.
In export marketing, like most industrial marketing, be sure to provide content that appeals to buyers at all stages of the sales cycle, to ensure that prospective customers can find more detailed information about a product as their interest grows. Make it immediately clear what a product does and is capable of for early stage prospects and ensure that detailed spec sheets and product comparisons are available for buyers that are closer to making a decision.
The changes in export marketing for industrial companies are largely a result of a shift in the modern industrial sales cycle. Industrial buyers, at home or abroad, trust online resources to conduct their own research before speaking with sales staff. For exporters, online technology has made it possible to get the information buyers crave into the hands of a relevant audience, regardless of location, opening new markets or verticals relatively easily (and cheaply) compared to the past.
About Fred Yee
Fred Yee is the founder and CEO of ActiveConversion, a company that makes online marketing work for industrial companies. Fred was voted as one of the 40 Most Inspiring Leaders in Sales Lead Management in 2017, and his work with ActiveConversion has helped hundreds of businesses succeed online. ActiveConversion is Fred’s third successful company, and he continues to explore the possibilities of technology in industrial sales and marketing.