Your Challenge: The Rules of Buying Have Changed

 

buyer2.0The Internet has changed the way copier dealership and managed services prospects buy

  • Buyers are 57% of the way through the buying process before contacting a sales rep or vendor
  • Nearly 100% of business transactions begin with an online search*

Because the rules of buying have changed, so have the rules of marketing. Attention is a precious commodity in too-short supply. You need to stop interrupting your customers and start helping them. More importantly, you need to develop a relationship as a trusted partner – not someone who’s going to sell them a box and move on to the next victim, er, customer.

After all, when’s the last time you responded to a cold call? Why would you expect your customers to act differently? This more effective form of marketing is called inbound (and you may also see it referred to as content marketing). Be useful. Be helpful. Be yourself. And we’ll help you be successful. 

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New Buying Patterns

Today’s buyer, we’ll call him Buyer 2.0 for short, wants the same thing buyers of copiers and managed services have wanted for decades – a solution to their business problems that they don’t have to think about. As the complexity of the business problem – and solution – increases the fear of making the wrong choice rises. No one wants to make a bad decision. 

Buyers of business solutions today are turning to Google to learn about their particular business challenges and to research potential partners who could offer a solution. They are following you on social channels and seeing how you interact with existing customers, reading reviews – and constantly forming an opinion about you. They’re in the driver’s seat. 

This doesn’t mean that there’s no role for sales, great sales people will continue to be essential to closing leads. However, cold calling and mass marketing are no longer effective.

  • Cold Calling: Sales people have always had to navigate past cranky administrative assistant and other assorted gatekeepers. Now, voicemail systems and increased security in buildings (no more knocking on every door in an office building) prevent you from even saying “Hello.”
  • Mass Marketing No Longer Works: When’s the last time you kept a copy of The Yellow Pages? Most are serving as landfill or are recycled. SPAM filters protect us all from unwanted emails. Direct mail (you know, what recipients call “junk mail”) hits the circular file without being opened. If you’re still keyword stuffing for SEO “results” then 1) Stop. Stop right now and 2) you’ve probably hurt your Google rankings. Mass media buys on radio and TV are beyond the reach of most small businesses – and aren’t cost-effective anyway.

 

Be Smarter

These new buying habits aren’t the end of your business – they’re just the end of marketing and customer attraction as usual. You have an opportunity to outsmart your competition by sidestepping the fruitless cold calls and knocking on doors. Let the Web be your storefront. Let your customers knock on your door. 

Lead Generation "Can" Be Easier

At this moment, someone is searching on Google for what you sell. Will they be able to find you? Everyone is looking for answers and solutions. The fact that you’re still reading this says that you’re one of them. It’s hard, but it’s not rocket science – people want to buy from people they trust. You can establish trust on line and inbound marketing will be your key differentiator that creates that bond between you and your customer. Our “keyword stuffing” comment above notwithstanding, SEO is a critical piece of inbound and lead generation. But rather than trick people into coming to your website, you’re going to offer them useful content that’s going to help them with their problems. Here’s a stat for you for why you want to do this:

  • SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate, while outbound leads (such as direct mail or print advertising) have a 1.7% close rate. (Search Engine Journal)

New Sales Strategies; Better Close Rates

We’re all Buyer 2.0 and we’re all a little skeptical these days. We’ve been oversold and under-delivered to before. Our trust needs to be earned. Stephen Covey’s book, Business at the Speed of Trust, points out that the more trust two parties have in each other, the faster things move. Inbound marketing is about using content to create that element of trust so that when a stranger becomes a lead, they’re already predisposed to trust your sales rep. Trust shortens the sales cycle. Trust increases close rates.

 

Now What?

Putting together the pieces that will attract Buyer 2.0 is hard and takes a lot of work. Creating the right content, automating lead generation, and creating the nurturing campaigns for your inbound leads before turning them over to sales team takes experience, time, and attention to detail. And that’s where we come in. We develop inbound marketing campaigns that lead to more leads and more growth. Learn more about inbound marketing campaigns.

*From research published by Harvard Business Review

Sophisticated online marketing initiatives require thoughtful/holistic planning, collaborative development processes, and expert execution.  Our new journey into inbound marketing would not have occurred without such confidence in these—hallmarks of a Prospect Builder managed marketing services engagement.

Robert Caldwell, VP of Marketing Datamax, Inc.

Robert Caldwell