#2: You don’t think digital marketing is necessary for your business
Years ago you paid some agency a small fortune to build you a slick website, and you’ve barely changed a thing since. That tech-savvy summer intern you hired set up your company Twitter account and Facebook page, and once a year someone uploads a photo of the company picnic.
Ok so it’s not great, but you’re a B2B company! Buyers might take a look around your website if they’re unfamiliar with you, but they certainly aren’t going to make decisions based on what they find online…right?
Unfortunately for you, the answer is wrong. Very, very wrong.
We tend to forget that B2B buyers are people, and people gather the information they need to make decisions the same way whether they’re buying a smart phone or selecting a logistics company. And where do people get their information these days? Why, online of course.
In a study conducted by CEB (a large B2B research and consulting firm, now a division of Gartner), 90% of B2B buyers reported using online resources (supplier websites, social media, third-party websites, etc.) to gather information throughout the entire buying process. If the buyer happens to be a millennial, that number is 95%.
When you combine this with the findings from the CEB/Google study we discussed in Part I that the average buyer has already completed 57% of the decision-making process before engaging a supplier representative, you realize that your potential customers are using you and your competitors’ websites and social media to gather all sorts of information before they ever speak to your sales team.
So what exactly are your buyers looking for on their own? In the same study, buyers reported that in the early stage of the purchasing cycle they are learning about “…the different solutions available for solving the problem” and creating a “…shortlist of specific suppliers”.
In the middle of the purchasing cycle, buyer’s start to dig much deeper in order to “Learn about specific supplier solutions, compare different solutions, learn about pricing, and consult references from suppliers’ current clients.”
Then let’s assume they (finally) take a meeting or a call with your sales rep – phew! Now you’ve got their attention and can regain control with a well-rehearsed presentation highlighting all the reasons they should choose your solution. Your sales rep is finally in the driver’s seat, and he or she is now the buyer’s go-to for information about your company.
Only they’re not.
The buyers in the study reported that when they’re almost ready to make a decision, they go back online to “Identify need-to-know (critically useful) information regarding potential solutions.” That means the messages and information buyers find online has the potential to make or break a deal for you – even after your sales team is involved!
Fortunately for you, your company can control the vast majority of the information buyers are looking for by making it easy for them to find what they need on your website. The last thing you want is a potential customer going to a competitor’s website for product information because they just can’t find it on your site.
Digital marketing may sound complicated and (gasp) expensive, but I assure you it’s not. More than likely, you already have everything you need to gain an advantage over your competitors, you just need to make sure your customers can find it.
For advice on making your website the go-to resource for your customers, contact the experts.
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