When Marketing & Sales works seamlessly together, you have a B2B solution that sells.
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B2B marketing can, at times, be perceived unfairly as B2C’s boring sister, but that really doesn’t have to be the case. Just because you’re promoting a seemingly ‘dry’ industry doesn’t mean your marketing shouldn’t have creative flair. And yes, your savvy business audience is ultimately going to be basing their purchasing decision on cold, hard numbers, as they well should given the sums of money often involved. But sticklers or not, your target audience is human too, driven by emotion, drawn to humour, dazzled by the extraordinary, and, at times, highly competitively natured.
The key to successful B2B marketing is often balance, creating an engaging campaign that has just enough sparkle to turn the head of a potential high-value customer (HVC), and at the same time share the right amount of compelling facts, figures and info to seal the deal. ‘How,’ you ask? By creating the ultimate power couple, Marketing & Sales (Markales – doesn’t have quite the ring Brangelina once had, but today needs brightening up, so we’ll go with it…).
Independently these two departments do ok for themselves. They have their proven means and methods and they get the job done. But in our experience, over almost thirty years, we have learnt that when they work together, like salt and vinegar, Marketing & Sales are a force to be reckoned with. Marketing doing the wooing, getting your audience to engage, softening your lead up so Sales can gently swoop in to seal the deal. Team power!
We’ve combined Marketing & Sales techniques effectively for years, with long-standing clients such as Centrica Business, and have found the combined approach to be way more commercially impactful than a sales person in a suit at a B2B event standing next to a pull-up banner, or rewind a few years, where you were chased down by a said person with a clipboard.
B2B expos are often crowded, noisy, competitive places, with everyone vying for a customer’s attention. Here are some key considerations when planning your next B2B event:
Determine the ideal amount of time you need with a potential lead
At Because, we use a suite of proprietary tools to determine the optimal time required to convert a potential lead into a confirmed sale. We design the experience with this specific key objective in mind. If you cut the experience short, you’ll not have enough time for the sale’s team to work their magic. Likewise, if you overdo it, you’ll quickly reach a point of diminishing commercial return. By this we mean if you can seal the deal at 5mins, don’t spend 10mins. Instead, move on to your next prospect, and the next, etc. etc. Because sales is often a numbers game.
Draw on the power of positive reciprocity
Business expos are busy places, so provide HVCs with a place to rest their weary legs and enjoy a steaming mug of (good quality) coffee. Once someone has enjoyed some free hospitality, they’ll feel a lot more compelled to listen to what your sales team has to say about your wonderful product. We’ve used this simple mechanic time and time again for Centrica, with people turning to us vs walking straight on – despite being there to talk about utilities.
The use of creative tech can also be a real stand-out feature
Not only can tech be used to creatively bring your product to life in a memorable way (think Minority-Report style iTables, etc.), but we all want to associate ourselves with innovate, fast-moving companies, and the right use of tech can position your company/product as being the forward-looking entity it is. Also remember business events for the main are frequented by a testosterone driven audience, who all love a leader board! Yes, tech can be seen as gamification, but if it means your stand is THE stand to visit, and whilst having fun the player subtly learns more about your product, then investing a little more in technology makes sense. Here’s a heap of such examples.
Another example of the above, is the experience we created for Hive Home at the world’s largest consumer technology show: CES in Las Vegas. A high-profile show which attracts thousands of high-value customers and seen-it-all-before tech journalists from across the globe. To show this B2B audience how the product works at a glance, Because created a range of real-life scenarios and a slick VR home tour in which the Home technology was shown to work seamlessly and effectively. This two-pronged approach used the best of live selling techniques, and slick digital tools to help bring to life the strengths of the Hive Home products among the buyers. Naturally we also served up the best refreshments at CES too.
Ultimately Marketing & Sales are working towards the same goal, and when they’re truly aligned, you’ll get the best results for everyone involved. Smart marketing techniques can genuinely potentially halve the sales team’s job. And your sales team will still be able to go in for the kill, but given they’ll have more time to spend converting the lead, they don’t have to go for the jugular within the first minute or so of someone expressing an interest in the brand/product. That’ll ruin all Marketing’s wooing. Timing is everything.
B2B really doesn’t have to be the boring beast it’s often feared (…again, unfairly) to be. In fact, quite the contrary, it’s incredibly dynamic and interesting, and it’s very satisfying when we get to show a client true ROI for their marketing spend. Just remember that the people you’re marketing to are people. Yes, they need the facts and figures, but like every human with a heartbeat, they want to be wooed and wowed. So, create your ‘Markales’ dream team, and let them wrap those numbers up in some creative flair.