How to Find Elusive B2B Buyers

Okay, it’s time for a little honesty. How many of your potential buyers want to hear from you on an unsolicited basis?  How many are glad that you called when they weren’t expecting to hear from you? How many are happy that you keep sending them email after email until they finally click on the “unsubscribe” link and remove themselves from your email list? For that matter, how many would appreciate you showing up at their office without an appointment?

The answer to all these questions is the same. Few people appreciate overly aggressive marketers and sales people, and because of this fact, B2B prospects are becoming quite good at hiding from persistent marketers.

Even though I am in the marketing industry and appreciate what telephone sales people have to go through, I quit answering my desk phone because I don’t want to deal with the deluge of unwanted sales pitches. Basically, I use the phone only for outbound calls and to retrieve messages. Noted B2B marketer Christine Crandell wrote an interesting article on this subject in Forbes Magazine. Christine reported on one day’s worth of voice mails (36), consisting of:

  • 11 messages from people wanting to know if I need insurance, etc.
  • 10 messages pitching services and products that are not relevant to my business
  • 7 Robo-call messages that were undecipherable
  • 4 messages from people reading a script at breakneck speed
  • 2 messages from clients
  • 1 message from a firm looking to a explore partnership
  • 1 message from a client telling me about a referral they’re making

In this example, only four out of 36 calls were valued by Christine. Why would she or anyone else answer their phone if there is a 90 percent chance the call is unwanted? For that matter, why would a prospect read your email or click on your banner ad? You may think that your product or service is so compelling that you are doing your prospects a favor by sharing it with them despite their lack of receptivity. But the fact is, B2B prospects are bombarded with hundreds of unwanted promotions every day. And regardless of the merits of your offer, potential buyers are usually better at dodging you than you are at finding and selling them.

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B2B buyers are not just elusive because you don’t know who they are, but also because even though you know who they are, they make themselves unavailable to you. This is why they don’t answer the phone and why they use personal email addresses to download your online offers that don’t reveal their company name, address and phone numbers.

The answer to how to find these elusive B2B buyers is not to engage in more high-pressure push marketing tactics. Rather, it is to use pull marketing to make it easy for them to find you when they are already looking for information about your offerings. I talk a lot about pull marketing on our GreatB2BMarketing.com blog, so please go there to learn more. But note that the shift from push marketing to pull marketing is not simply about adding a couple of new media techniques. Rather it is about a change in your business mindset.

Picture the couple who sees the sales person walking up the driveway and hides to avoid answering the door. This is a push marketing scenario, and it is hard on both the seller and buyer.  Who wants to hide or be hidden from? Contrast this to the couple who searches online to find a needed product or service, visits your website, decides that you are a company that is worth potentially doing business with, and invites you to their home to discuss purchasing your product or service. When you walk up the sidewalk they greet you with an open door and a smile. This is the essence of pull marketing.

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Christopher Ryan

Christopher Ryan has 25 years of marketing, technology, revenue growth experience. As both a marketing executive and services provider, Chris has created and executed numerous programs that build market awareness, drive lead generation and increase revenue.
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