How The Internet Has Changed B2B Sales

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The Internet has changed the way we buy and sell immeasurably. B2C online sales, have, of course, exploded in recent years and are expected to exceed $2.4 trillion in global sales by the end of 2017.

But what about B2B?

You might be surprised to know that the predicted figure for B2B is almost three times that of B2C at $7.7 trillion – and it’s still increasing!

Getting more than your fair share of that enormous pie comes down to successful digital marketing – especially when you consider that’s how most of your customers are doing their research when it comes to purchasing what they need. Your objective is to make sure your brand appears first and is perceived as the supplier of choice – not always easy when you’re running a business, but, fortunately, there is help out there, including here, at Leads To You.

What buyers want

When developing a sound digital marketing strategy for your B2B clients, it’s a good idea to take a cue from B2C. After all, when not working, your B2B clients are B2C customers, so give them something they are already familiar with. At the research stage, they’re looking out for the same things – a sense of professionalism and tell-tale signs that say you’re a brand to be trusted.

That means a professional-looking, easily-navigable, glitch-free website with quality visuals and copy, good online reviews, a clear shipping policy, easy access to up-to-date product information, great customer service, and, above all, a web store that makes it easy to buy – even on mobile devices.

All that said, there are very distinct differences between B2B and B2C, and depending on your business model, you may need to tailor your digital portals to match the needs of your customers. Include data sheets, demos and walkthroughs; show how your products solves their problems and that you understand what their business is all about; make it easy for customers to view what they bought in the past and create repeat orders.

Decision-makers… decision-makers…

In B2B, there are often many more layers of decision makers involved than in the typical B2C customer journey. Management, IT, finance, legal: depending on the company you’re dealing with, you may need to secure approval and buy-in from several departments before getting an executive go-ahead.

One way that’s proven to help here is social media. B2B buyers are increasingly looking to social channels for information and insights from peers and business partners, and it’s there where you can demonstrate expertise in your niche to them all, tailoring your content to give them the information relevant to their role within the company.

Another area where personalisation is extremely effective is email marketing. A targeted email campaign can deliver real ROI if planned and executed appropriately for its intended audiences. For instance, there’s nothing to stop you creating a personalised email for each decision-maker in the company with the detailed information that only they can relate to.

Data is power

As we mentioned earlier, understanding your customer is essential if you want to deliver added value along with the product or service you sell. The key to doing that is information. If your digital marketing strategy is designed to capture data at key points, then you can use that to predict behaviour, build the customer relationship, adapt your product and drive sales.

This can all be achieved online with a little help from some experts. Your goal should be to provide the human face to complement your online endeavours. Let clients know that there’s someone to talk to should they need a more personal level of service, or an answer to a query or need that can’t be found on your website. Digital marketing, as with just about everything else in the B2B relationship, is all about putting your customer first – so they choose you first when it comes to their next order

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