B2B marketing has changed a lot since new digital marketing channels and social media platforms have got powerful.
Traditionally B2B manufacturing companies relied on a strong sales model. Direct, distributors, reps and agents have been instrumental and drived the the revenue growth engine. Digital marketing and growing sales through Google Search/SEO have held a small, supportive role. Marketing was responsible for pricing,cold calling and communications – with an expected lead generation contribution.
Sales people generated many of their own leads, created projects, managed the sales process, coached and directed channel and closed deals. Hence most of the company’s growth was directed towards the sales people. And that model was well suited to a market in which sales reps managed customer interactions and played a critical role, from the buyer perspective, as the source of most expertise and information. But now that has changed with the internet. Today buyers no longer need sales reps until late in the process…if at all. The process of business procurement is no longer described as a “sell cycle” but rather as a “buyer’s journey.”
Three statistics illustrate this shift:
1. 93% of all B2B purchases start with internet search 2. buyers are 70% of the way through their buying journey before they are interested in speaking with a rep 3. 74% of buyers ultimately select the vendor that first provided value as they were considering a purchase
A website is a must for any buyer to make a purchase and see value in the company.
Collectively those mean that:
• traditional approaches such as direct mail and cold calling are ineffective
• buyers buy on their own, without speaking to a rep, purchasing products online – and the interactions your reps perceive as the sales process are only the final steps of that journey – the ones for which the buyer is obliged to engage them. Hence website design thats interactive and focusses on conversions plays an important role here.
• to compete, companies must be found early in the process, by buyers who aren’t clear what they’re seeking, and
provide ‘value’ without personal interaction The buyer’s relationship with a vendor has shifted from direct personal interaction to indirect, virtual association. Yet many companies ignore these changes in markets and buyer behavior. So in this case if you are found early by your buyers finding you on Google you have better chances of getting ahead of your competition.
Manufacturing and Industrial Companies need to look at website design and SEO to drive their business growth. Need to understand how their buyers find their products on Google. What search terms do they type for their services and need to make sure they get listed for those terms on Google.
Why SEO for manufacturers?
Website design and SEO for manufacturers is one revenue generation tool in this age.
To persist by default in a traditional approach to funding and measuring business development activities is a strategic negligence. The principles of rigorous operations management must now be adapted to revenue growth strategies – a process which will distinguish businesses which will flourish vs. those that stagnate.
75% of CEOs agreed that “marketers are always asking for more money, but can rarely explain how much incremental business this money will generate.”
Projecting, quantifying and measuring results…and calculating return.
The foundation of this approach is data, and in a world where data is abundant, but relevant, indicative data often takes some digging and analysis, it’s important to identify key performance indicators (KPIs) which will guide and benchmark the effort.
Marketing should provide KPIs in the following example areas:
• lead/traffic conversion
• landing page conversion
• prospect/lead/project/customer conversion rates
• sources of traffic and relative conversion rates
The KPIs themselves will evolve as SEO develops and matures. SEO does take time but when it starts showing results you just get leads on autopilot as one big effort of generating leads is taken by Google. Initially, for instance, traffic, subscribers, followers and lead conversions may be appropriate measures. As traffic increases then conversion of marketing qualified leads into sales qualified leads becomes a telling metric. And later, of course, specific attained revenue.
Results must be measured at a granular level.
CRM Tools must be used, and attention must be paid, to incremental activities on the road to revenue. Reporting on a regular basis and taking actions based on the findings is critical. We here at Conveyz, take reporting very seriously and change our strategies based on that.