In B2B Marketing, Everything Counts
When my sons were in high school, I used to tell them that everything they did during their high school career counted. Not just their grades, but also their participation in sports and extracurricular activities would be seen and evaluated by future employers and especially college admissions people. Their performance in every class could mean the difference between being accepted into the university of choice or a college they had to settle for.
So how does this lesson apply to B2B marketing? Glad you asked! I mean that the simple things you take for granted or fail to execute properly can mean the difference between success and failure. Every customer and prospect has a choice of whether to do business with you or one of your competitors. Sometimes the choice is based on a major issue such as price or features, but often it is based on a feeling the prospect gets about the type of company you are. You can claim to be the company with the best product or service, but it may not matter if you make a poor first impression.
Following are some of the little (and not so little) ways you can ensure that you project a polished and competent image and thus increase your chance of making the sale.
- Be professional. This means clean graphics on your website and no LinkedIn photos of your executives drinking alcoholic beverages. Also, best to be in business dress, not looking as if you just stepped off a baseball field. And of course we all love our kids and animals, but usually it’s best to keep them off the company website. Yes, I know there are exceptions to this rule (e.g. you are in a business dealing with children or animals), but in general, you want to showcase your business, not your household, persona.
- Be articulate. Words matter a great deal to some and less so to others. But there is no reason for sloppy writing, especially when it comes to issues like poor grammar and typos. People think that sloppy writing translates to poor quality control and lousy customer service. This isn’t always the case, but why take the chance? When in doubt, hire a good editor/proofreader.
- Be accurate. As the saying goes, “Mean what you say and say what you mean.” Double-check whatever facts you present and make sure you quote third parties accurately.
- Be personal. When approaching a prospect, customer, or potential employer, take a little extra time to personalize your communications. Learn about the company or person you are dealing with and craft a unique message. Even a small bit of personalization beats the mass promotion or generic resume approach.
- Be competent. There are a number of components to the art of being competent, including having a website with clear navigation and no broken links. Delivering on what you promise in a prompt and helpful manner is also important. Whether you are talking about your cleaning service or selling a multimillion-dollar product, companies with a reputation for competence will beat their competition.
- Be generous. If you want to show the world that you are an expert in your market space, share relevant content with your website and social media audience. Companies that hold their domain expertise close to the vest suffer because most prospects will peruse your website to educate themselves before they are willing to engage with you. So don’t be stingy – give a little of the good stuff away to attract interested prospects.
One additional tip comes from my dad, who used to tell me that I should dress for the position I wanted in the future, not my current job. This was great advice, and at Fusion Marketing Partners we apply this to clients by creating content and websites that showcase where they are going instead of where they have been. Like the other tips above, the purpose of this this is to project a level of competence and professionalism that attracts business instead of chasing it away.