Remember when attending an exhibition or requesting brochures were the main ways of researching a new solution requirement?
Finding out which companies provided the type of solution you were looking for took a bit of effort on behalf of the buyer to identify potential suppliers and compare their various offerings. Not so these days! Within 30 minutes you can pretty much become an “expert” on anything you like.
With instant access to more information than you could possibly hope for, nowadays the buyer is better informed than ever and is likely to be at least 50% of the way through their procurement cycle with preconceived ideas on what they need, before a supplier is even aware of the opportunity!
Think of all the opportunities the buyer has for completing a review of the market: a simple Google search on a key phrase and you can check out a few websites, subscribe to newsletters, attend webinars, review blogging sites, check out LinkedIn profiles, join in on Twitter, download white papers, watch explainer animations – the possibilities for research are vast!
Having identified a list of potential suppliers and perhaps looked at videos on YouTube, or run an online demo, they might view community sites to find recommendations on supplier products, or searched Google with relevant phrases to look for complaints/issues or other bad customer experiences.
At this point the buyer will have identified potential suppliers. The key question is – Will your company make the short list?
The sales team can spend all their day, picking up the phone to identify prospects and sending emails to organisations that fit the profile for their solutions, but in reality, unless your company has a robust digital marketing strategy, opportunities will get to the tender stage without you even being aware of them.
Before all you sales professionals despair, there is an answer! By developing interesting and original content that adds value to the reader at each stage of the buying process, you can position your company as a thought leader and keep your propositions front of mind.
Not only can you attract prospects to your company and, but by managing your company’s online presence through a digital marketing platform, you can also track and measure your prospects level of engagement to influence their shortlist and develop a prioritised, steady stream of qualified sales-ready leads to follow up and close.
You can turn this situation to your advantage quickly and for minimal investment.
Alternatively, you can continue to leave a high cost sales team trawling the market in an attempt to catch a prospective buyer before it’s too late. And just hope you find them, before they find your competitors….