In a B2B environment that is becoming increasingly competitive, there is growing interest in what actually drives business performance.
I was recently presented with some research by Professor Moira Clark of the Henley Centre for Customer Management, which concluded that making it easier for customers to do business is a sure-fire way of improving the bottom line. This takes the notion of customer experience one step further, and she claims that more companies are beginning to bring this line of thought into their strategic planning.
Essentially, it’s about having a customer-centric approach, and the research suggests that customer centricity in B2B drives business performance. The great challenge facing B2B companies, however, is how to change the business to become more customer-centric. For many, it may seem an unrealistic task. Continue reading
How often do your colleagues complain about your company’s website? Like many website managers of B2B companies, you’ve probably had conversations with people who are reluctant to use it in their daily business. It could be that it doesn’t truly reflect the company today. Or maybe the content doesn’t support the negotiations salespeople have with customers and the conversations Executive Management have with key stakeholders.
But that’s not how it’s meant to be. At the very least, the website needs to support the business; at best, it should drive business opportunities. So how can you achieve that?
As with any marketing or communications initiative, website planning involves some level of strategic planning. But rather than being an academic exercise, it must be a targeted, pragmatic approach that aligns your online presence with the company’s strategy, brand, offerings and value propositions – what I’ll call the four strategic pillars of the B2B company website.
Long before even beginning to consider a website structure and content, these four strategic pillars need to be defined and documented. Don’t leave a strategic stone unturned until you’re sure. Not only will you save time creating and building your website, but you’ll be confident that you’re making good decisions about architecture, design, usability and content. Indeed, this strategic planning will be the foundation for the website’s success.
Like all relationships between people, B2B relationships require trust and credibility to work.
In fact, we could liken a prospective B2B buyer to a sophisticated partner who is well-educated, has high expectations and is generally intolerant of mistakes. And like in all relationships, there are certain behaviours that strengthen bonds, and critical mistakes that turn people off.
Take your website, for example. In B2B, missteps can sow enough seeds of doubt in the minds of potential or existing customers to make them lose faith in your brand, question your professionalism, or simply click away from your site. Once you lose that credibility, it can be as hard to get back as convincing a cheated-on lover to trust you again. And the result of lost credibility? Lost sales.
So what can you do to make sure you hang onto B2B prospects?
The necessity of having someone on your staff who can appropriately manage your social media presence cannot be understated. In absence of a traditional college background for this extremely new job position, how do you determine who is the best candidate? Continue reading
Our team spends a lot of time discussing business cases – real business cases, not “feel good” benefit-based stuff, but the ones with numbers on them. We’re keen to work out, for each of the customers or prospects we speak to, where revenue can be generated and/or savings can be made by putting knowledge-sharing campaign platforms in place.
At the center of it all is a concept we call “Return on Know-how” (ROK). OMG, you may be thinking, another word dreamed up by marketers. And that’s what it is, for sure. But there’s a real point to it, too – and it’s a goodie: What potential gains or savings are hidden in the know-how of your subject matter experts? What can be done to unlock this potential? Continue reading
I recently read an article titled “Why Branding is an Artifact of the Past” which I think touches on a point that should be carefully considered by any B2B marketing professional – Is branding really all that important for your business? Continue reading