By Melinda Elmowy, Consulting Director, Carpe Diem Consulting
In light of this, and the other challenges in evolving to selling in a digital world, businesses who do not quickly and radically change their current marketing methods will face some serious business challenges in the face of:
• Commoditisation of most B2B products and services
• Self-educating buyers (that are sick of interruptive marketing)
• Lack of Sales & Marketing alignment
The concept of the ‘self-educated buyer’ is becoming more widely known within Australian businesses, and ‘new marketing’ approaches are becoming more mainstream.
However, we’re still only at the beginning of the evolution, so here are my 6 top tips to help you make the transition to adopting new marketing techniques that actually work:
1. Abandon the traditional approach of INTERRUPTING prospects!
Buying, calling and mass blasting a bought list no longer works! Buyers are fed up with interruptive marketing techniques and cold calling a list, blasting them product related messages and sending them to a product related microsite is not new marketing. It’s still doing it the ‘old way’ – albeit on a digital channel. Make sure your messaging changes – not just the channels in which you distribute the message.
2. Stop boring your prospects with topics of no interest to them
Everyone’s #1 favourite topic is themselves! Yet nearly every website my colleagues look at talks about the company, the products and the services. This does not attract buyers early on in their buying journey when they are searching around their pain, and it doesn’t offer any education, advice or explanations around the key problems they will be experiencing. Make sure your website speaks to the different buyers that you target, and offers them something of real value and interest.
3. Become an educator, not a product flogger
Content is king -we are now media outlets. Buyers will tolerate sellers walking with them along the new buyer’s journey – provided the seller EDUCATES the buyer! They crave to be educated – for the seller to provide them with information they cannot access by searching around themselves. To appeal to different buyers, the product conversation is dead!
4. Turn your website and LinkedIn profiles into powerful “prospect magnets”
As buyers progress down their buying journeys, they start searching online – to try and understand what is causing them the pain that has shattered their status quo. This means they enter SYMPTOMS into search engines – NOT PRODUCTS or SOLUTIONS – and CERTAINLY NOT YOUR COMPANY! Make sure you have early buyer engagement keywords (not just product keywords) on your website and on LinkedIn – and that you are consistently giving them the education they need to make the right decisions.
5. Nurture prospects who aren’t yet ready to buy
When you do a telemarketing campaign with an offer, if you’re lucky you’ll get 3% success rate. But what about the other 97%? If they’re not yet ready to buy, they might be in 3 or 6 months. They still want to learn – depending on where they are on their journey – so keep giving them the education they crave.
6. Understand the buyer personas – to match your content to your prospect
As a concept, “content marketing” is great – but it’s certainly not “1 size fits all”. You need a concrete picture of who you’re writing the content for: what are their problems, what are their fears, what are their hopes, who influences them etc. Any piece of content needs to be influenced by BOTH the location on the buyer’s journey AND the persona of the buyer being targeted.