How to Really Build Your B2B Sales Rapport

8 Feb


As our world becomes more trapped in technology, you can bet that your big customers will expect more personalization than ever. This is just how customers work – in the absence of huge technological divides, buyers often choose business partners over customer service issues. Here are the best and most creative ways to really build your rapport when conducting sales.

Research Your Target

It is easier than ever to conduct research on decision makers for prospective buyers. LinkedIn should become your sales floor’s best friend. Use this information to establish a more personal connection. Start from the very beginning of the call – ask for the target by name, not for the “person in charge of X or Y.”

And yes–depending on the acuity of your salespeople, it may be best to just hang up the phone if you cannot talk to the decision maker that you have researched. A bad call will get around the office. If your target is a high-ranking executive, you may never get to him or her if the gatekeepers do not like you.

Personal Conversations Work

Your prospects know what you are there for. You do not have to push sales in the modern business landscape. As a matter of fact, big buyers hate this strategy. The Internet has spoiled us all, and we carry our entitled one-click-away attitudes straight into our phone calls.

Use the information that you have gleaned from your pre-call work to begin the call on a personal note. Use real-time events as well. Is it close to a holiday, or is it around lunchtime in the workday? Do you have a common interest or even an alma mater? Perhaps management can set up the calls on the sales floor to match agents with clients on one of these points before the calls are even made.

Honesty is the Best Policy

There are no secrets in the Age of Information. Do not try to lie your way into a sale. More importantly, realize that all of those “safe responses” are bringing you any closer to a sale–your prospect is getting bored and looking for an out. If you want to create rapport with your customers, you must open the lines of communication through honesty.

Many prospects come into a conversation with a salesperson thinking that salesperson will say anything to make a close. If you divert that notion with blunt honesty, you disarm your prospect. They will begin listening to you more, which means that you can sell more easily (when you get to that part of the conversation).

Getting the Small Yes

If you get a small yes on an innocuous subject, you can get the yes’s that really matter later on. This is why you begin the conversation on common subjects and stay off business for the first few minutes. You want to get your prospect in a habit of saying “yes” to you.

Ask questions that lead naturally into a yes at the beginning of the conversation. You may get some “no’s,” but keep your attitude positive. Your prospect will appreciate this, trust you more, and give you more “yes’s” as you build rapport.

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Is Quora’s New Ad Program Really Good for B2B Marketers?

6 Feb


Advertisers, in general, are overwhelmingly positive about the new Quora ad program, which came out of beta earlier in 2017. The new self-serve program allows advertisers to target and create text-based ads at their fingertips. However, the scale of the platform limited its use initially for B2B marketers, although the low Cost Per Clicks and new target base made it highly tempting for businesses of all sizes.

In recent months, Quora has made rumblings that it will change the ad program to be more easily scalable. With this elephant out of the room, B2B marketers will have very little to keep them from using this new soon-to-be behemoth. However, there are some other factors that companies should consider before making a final decision, because Quora may not be for everyone. Let’s take a look.

Quality of Traffic

B2C and smaller scale B2B companies report a high level of quality traffic when advertising on Quora. This is even when Quora is compared to industry giants, Facebook and Google. As a matter of fact, the size of those platforms may actually be what contributes to the lower level of qualified traffic. Quora question pages receive only the people who are looking for a very specific answer–Google and Facebook ads both suffer greatly from casual viewer runoff.

Traffic Volume

Despite its lower level of traffic when compared to the big dogs, most advertisers report that Quora has enough traffic to meet their needs. Large-scale B2B firms should worry less about this metric, as total traffic volume has never equated to conversions from those few decision makers who actually have the money to make a purchase at scale.

Advertising Cost

As stated before, Quora has a lower Cost Per Click than either Google or Facebook when similar keywords are compared. It remains to be seen if Quora will be able to keep the platform competitive as more companies (with higher marketing budgets) join in on the service. The type of content on Quora (long, detailed questions) does favor long tail keywords. This works in favor of advertising costs, as advertisers are more likely to choose long tail keywords that are relevant to less of its competition. With more segmented advertising, costs can actually stay quite low for everyone while total volume grows on the platform.

Quora’s Limitations

Quora is a relatively new platform for advertising, and bugs are expected. The campaigns that companies run can be focused on topic, device, and location, although the two latter categories are not quite as sophisticated as Quora’s competition. Companies that build an audience through device and location may want to invest more slowly, although all indications point to Quora upgrading its systems in the near future and staying abreast of search engine industry standards.

Day One Performance

The day one performance of companies that are already using Quora is positive, regardless of the metric being used. Any company that already has an organic presence on Quora is doing especially well in terms of lead contribution. The cost per conversion from a lead generated through Quora has a chance of being much lower than a lead generated through Google or Facebook, because of the higher quality of Quora leads. The one complaint that most users had was that Quora was not using enough of its newfound revenue to expand operations more quickly.

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Deciding Which Trade Shows to Attend This Year

1 Feb


The personal relationships and business reputation that you can develop through trade shows is an ROI that you cannot really obtain anywhere else. However, you need to attend the right shows to make sure that you are building the personal relationships and business reputation that actually matter. Your business is probably on a budget as well. Even if you have multiple shows to attend, you may have to make a choice. Here is a short post on how to choose the trade shows to attend this year.

Defining Your Intent

Before you begin looking up keynote speakers and planning logistics, plan out the objectives for your year. The trade shows that might increase your overall leads may not be the same shows that would be best for a new product launch or a loyalty plan.

Shortening the Discovery Process

There are quite a few trade show calendars that you can search for new ideas on what to attend. Before you get a shortlist, you should look around a bit. New shows are popping up all over the world. The globalized economy is more connected than ever, and you may find a show that you did not even know existed. Here is a good calendar to get you started.

Studying the Event History

Once you find a number of interesting shows, you can check the history of those shows online. In the same way that you might check a review for a restaurant before going, you can now check the event history of shows. Take a look at the comments that other attendees have left in past years. Cross-reference their feedback with the goals you set for your business when defining your intent.

Getting the Timing

You may be able to attend more shows with a little logistics work at the beginning of the year. Shows that are close to each other may save you money on travel costs. You may be able to bring exhibits from one show to another that is within the same time frame. You should also consider how the timing of shows coincides with your internal schedule. For instance, a new product expo is no good if you are not going to be done with your prototype.

Looking at the Press

In order to shorten your list, you should look at the additional marketing opportunities that each show offers you. Some shows will have sponsorship opportunities or have speaking slots that you can use to advertise. Prioritize the shows that have the highest ROI, and contact them early to get on these special lists.

Segmenting Your Audience

The total number of attendees at a trade show is much less important than you may think. You want the right people, not the most people. Although the global audience is great to touch, realize that around 50% of attendees at a trade show will come from a 200-mile radius. Is this local audience important to you? If not, then you may be able to skip the show.

Creating a Budget

You now have a shortlist of trade shows and the schedule to attend them. It is time to get the budget together to attend them all. There is a reason that the money comes after the planning stage–hopefully, you have chosen shows that will expand your profitability. If this is the case, then the upfront cost should not matter. If all of your shows brings you $100,000, then a $10,000 expense, no matter how painful in the short term, is always worth it.

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How to Win the Online Marketing Battle

30 Jan


The quest to convert target customers into clients is never-ending. The battle to connect with such clients has moved to the web across the past couple decades. It is no longer enough to advertise on radio, TV, billboards, magazines, and/or newspapers. If you own, manage or advertise for a business, it is imperative you win the online marketing battle. Here’s how to do it:

Tap Into the Power of Inbound Marketing

Today’s competition for business requires exposure those who spend time on the web as well as those who do not use computers or smartphones. Just about every company needs a healthy mix of traditional outbound marketing with inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is all about connecting with clients who already express an interest in your product or service. These are the prospects who are most inclined to transition into loyal customers. Consider adding something like a membership form for your website. This way, new visitors to the site will be able to obtain more information about your offerings. Whether it is a membership for discounts, industry information, product/service updates or anything else to keep target customers in the loop. Regular correspondence with such clients keeps your company at the forefront of their mind. This consistent contact through online channels will prove essential to keeping target clients thoroughly engaged with your business.

If an online membership or club does not jive with your business and what you offer, consider implementing an email marketing campaign in which those who have expressed an interest in your offerings are provided with an electronic newsletter. An email campaign such as a newsletter will establish your business that is worthy of respect as well as prospective clients’ business. Though an email marketing campaign, online membership or other clubs might not generate an immediate impact on the bottom line, it will catalyze business as time progresses. Be patient, make a genuine commitment to inbound marketing and you will enjoy an uptick in business in the ensuing months and years.

Social Media Matters

Business owners and managers who take the time to study their competitors will likely find these groups have a strong presence on social media. If your organization has not yet established a presence on the popular social media sites, it is time to do so. Appoint a social media manager to manage your company’s accounts on these platforms. This professional will ensure prospective clients are engaged on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media sites. Use these platforms to provide clients with updates regarding products and services, tips from industry insiders, sales updates, and other important information.

Establishing a presence on social media does not mean you have to employ a full-time social media marketing manager who makes a lofty salary with full benefits. Rather, you can start out with a part-time employee and gradually increase the workload as time progresses. In fact, you might find it prudent to lean on a tech-savvy employee to handle social media responsibilities during lulls in work. Above all, your company’s social media presence should be engaging. Provide interesting information that gives prospective clients insight or facts and they will begin to view your company as a trustworthy authority figure worthy of their business.

Content is Still King

It is often said content is king when it comes to the web. This statement was true a decade ago and it is still accurate in 2018. Companies that generate a steady stream of intriguing content that helps customers solve problems or better understand the product or service offering will inevitably enjoy a spike in business. However, any old content will not engage prospective clients. The content must be laden with keywords and key phrases relevant to your industry and possibly even your locale, depending on the type of services and products you provide. The use of such keywords will help your content rank high on search engine results pages. Highly-ranked website pages will lure in target customers, provide them with captivating content and ultimately lead to a considerable bump in conversions.

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4 Essential Elements to Effectively Market Building Materials

25 Jan


Marketing is an important element of selling products and is very visible for things like consumer goods. Well-known marketing examples for items like toothpaste, refrigerators, and clothing abound. It isn’t a significant leap to apply those elements to drive sales for products in different industries. Indeed, building a brand around building materials utilizes many of the same tools, techniques, and resources.

  1. The Brand Matters Everywhere

Building a brand across multiple channels widens its reach. Instead of focusing solely on establishing a brand within the B2C space, it’s essential to extend that it to other audiences like those in the B2B environment. Establishing a presence within the B2B space can build partnerships, connections, and loyalty.

  1. Cultivate Influencers

The influencers within the building materials industry make a difference when it comes to the products that are chosen by consumers. This is true whether these consumers are homeowners or other businesses. So who are these influencers that need to be cultivated? Think about the engineers, builders, architects, and contractors that are important in the sector that you’re targeting. Those are your influencers.

  1. Don’t Dismiss Word-of-Mouth

Word-of-mouth advertising is what traditional marketing was built on. Instead of this factor being unimportant in the digital age, it simply must be adapted so that it works for the changing times. It’s important to harness the right tools and techniques to take advantage of word-of-mouth marketing in a way that presents your company in a favorable light.

  1. Identify Relevant Online Social Platforms

Though it’s likely that there will be some overlap within your target audiences when it comes to the online social platforms they use, some will be more specific to certain segments than others. LinkedIn, for example, is often where you can find influencers. Facebook and Twitter are used by both consumers and influencers. YouTube has traditionally been where many consumers get their information.

Does the marketing strategy you have in place for your building materials company contain the four essential elements outlined above? If not, can you envision a clear methodology to implement any that are missing?

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