Marketing has changed rapidly over the last few years. For many businesses, the same old marketing strategies that they have always used aren't working anymore, and they find themselves at a loss as to what to do.
One of the reasons businesses are confused is because they don't understand how buyers have changed.
While it was once enough to put up a brochure type website and talk about your company and the products or services you offer, that doesn't work anymore! Not only that, but those old sales tactics may not be working either. So, if you haven't gotten the memo on that, it's time to sit up, take notice and keep reading.
So, why don't these website and sales tactics work anymore? Because buyers want more today.
Understanding The Buyer Today
Buyers are looking for information to help them make better decisions, and the internet is the place they can get it. They can research products, watch videos how how products work, read blog articles about those products, find suppliers and read reviews. And, the same goes for services.
In other words, buyers want information to help them along the buyer's journey that will ultimately lead to a purchase.
Just look at these buyer statistics:
- 70% of purchasing decisions are made to solve a specific problem. (Impact Communications)
- 66% of B2B buyers now use a wider variety of sources to research their buying options. (DemandGen)
- 47% of buyers said they spend more time researching B2B purchases than they did in the past. (DemandGen)
- 79% of B2B buyers said that the content on a vendor's web site played a decisive role in their purchase. (DemandGen)
- 70% of the buyer’s journey is complete before a buyer even reaches out to sales. (SiriusDecisions)
- 95% of buyers chose a vendor that provided content to navigate each stage of the buying process. (Demand Gen Report)
- 86% of buyers are more likely to buy when companies make it easy for them to do so. (Forbes)
If you aren't getting the results you want for your business, hopefully, these statistics are making you look at what you are doing in a very different way.
Companies that have shifted from intensively relying on cold prospecting to improving on inbound tactics and lead nurturing are more competitive in the marketplace and win more clients.
Analyzing Your Current Marketing and Sales
If you are thinking that your marketing and sales are lacking at this point, then it's time to make some changes. But first, lets look at what buyers want from you.
According to HubSpot, here are the top ways buyers want you to create a positive sales experience:
- Listen to their needs (69%)
- Don’t be pushy (61%)
- Provide relevant information (61%)
- Respond in a timely manner (51%)
Armed with this information, where do you start? Here is what we recommend:
1. Evaluate Your Website
This is the best place to start. Your website should be used as a marketing tool to generate new leads, to engage customers or to provide solutions and answers to customer problems. If it isn't doing that, then you are missing out on the opportunity of capturing leads from people that are looking for the solutions you provide.
When evaluating your current website, here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Does my website take a long time to load?
- If I was a visitor to my, would I be confused about what my company does?
- Is my website focused on telling visitors about my products or services?
- Does my website tell visitors how good my company is?
- Is my website designed to showcase my company like a bright shiny brochure?
If you answered "Yes" to these questions, then it is time to do a redesign. And, you will need help to do it.
Usually, when businesses look to redesign their website, they hire a web designer to do the work. But there is one important factor that goes into redesigning a website that web designers are usually not good at...messaging.
If the messaging on your website doesn't resonate with your visitors, they will not engage, become a lead or eventually a customer.
You can learn more by reading our article, Web Designer or Marketing Agency - Who Is Better To Create My Website?
2. Assess Your Lead Generation
It is important to take a hard look at your current marketing strategy that generates your leads. This is where we find that businesses often struggle. Because they don't have a tracking systems in place, they often think they are generating and closing more leads than they actually are. Whether you are generating leads doing cold calling, networking or asking referrals, you have to know where your leads are coming from.
For a sales team to flourish and a business to be profitable, it needs a steady stream of quality leads. Qualified business leads are the lifeblood of any organization.
But, according to HubSpot, 63% of companies say that generating qualified leads is their biggest marketing challenge.
Over the past few years, inbound marketing has become an increasingly popular tactic for companies to generate leads. In fact, the number of companies that use inbound marketing view it as a success.
According to HubSpot, 68% of inbound marketers believe their organization's marketing strategy is effective, while 52% of outbound marketers do no think their strategy is effective.
But, no matter how good your marketing efforts are, they are wasted if your salespeople never follow up with marketing leads.
According to SalesForce, 79% of all marketing leads are never converted to sales. And, Operatix reports that 65% of customers are lost because of indifference, not because of mistakes.
Your sales and marketing efforts must work together; otherwise, potential opportunities are lost. Marketers need to understand which leads convert in the sales funnel so they can alter campaigns. Sales teams need marketers to help write great nurturing content along the funnel to help move prospects down. Without these two teams working cohesively, prospects are forgotten and opportunities are lost.
3. Determine If You Are Offering Value
Because buyers are looking for information to help them make better decisions, you need to evaluate whether you are offering anything of value for them to make those decisions.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Do I provide monthly blog articles that educate potential prospects?
- Do I have any downloadable content, such as eBooks and case studies, where I can get their contact information?
- Does my website provide clear solutions that solve my potential customers problems?
If you answered "No" to these questions, then you have some work to do.
It all comes down to content and lots of it. With inbound marketing, the idea is to put customers first by providing information that is truly valuable to them. Developing and publishing relevant content allows companies to look beyond their own products and services to focus on the topics related to their market that customers truly care about.
This can include everything from simple tips and how-tos to industry commentary and answers to frequently asked questions. The goal is that when people search for information around these areas online, they find you and your business.
Why does this matter? Because the internet and Google have changed things.
“Google now processes over 40,000 search queries every second on average, which translates to over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide.” (Source: Internet Live Stats)
And, you can bet that some of those searches are relevant to your products and services.
You can learn more in our article, Is Inbound Marketing Right For My Business?
Developing A New Marketing Strategy
Marketing today is more challenging than ever, so developing a marketing strategy can be difficult. A modern marketing strategy requires lots of elements:
- Collateral development and production
- Content development specialists
- Email programs
- Graphic artists
- Market research
- Marketing software
- Metrics/data analysts
- Mobile marketing specialists
- PR specialists
- SEO/keyword research
- Social media specialists
- Special events
- Website development/re-engineering
The question that businesses need to ask themselves is.......Do we have the knowledge and staff to develop and implement a new marketing strategy on our own?
If the answer is "No", then you have to consider whether it is worth hiring more employees or an outside agency.
The learning curve for employees with little experience can be staggering. And it often leaves your business owner with a vastly incomplete marketing strategy that is missing key elements, such as blogging, social media marketing or a site filled with ugly graphics or both.
Believe it or not, hiring an outside agency is typically cheaper than doing it in-house. You can see why in our article, Why Should I Hire A Marketing Agency For My Small Business?
Insiders know that keeping up with sales and marketing trends and techniques is a must if you want to be a leader in your industry. But, this takes time and effort.
Those companies that recognize that they need help and understand that it is more efficient and less costly to hire an expert marketing agency to do this for them are the ones that are meeting their goals and guaranteeing their long-term success.
Bill is the CEO and Founder of InTouch Marketing. Bill drives the vision and direction of InTouch except when England's playing in a soccer tournament, because everything stops!