We know for sure that B2B buyers – our customers – do like to talk to a real sales representative (which may be a relief), but perhaps don’t until much further down the purchasing process than we might like. Indeed, some surveys show that if we map out the ‘journey’ from a customer identifying a need to buying something to meet that need, the meeting with sales might be more than two-thirds of the way along.
Some potential customers we never get to present to will simply have missed us as a supplier. Others might have got the wrong impression about us. We all know that both of these scenarios happen. Reducing the number who miss us is straightforward: more effective promotional awareness, whether it’s through search advertising, press coverage, industry presence, etc. Reducing the number who get the wrong impression? That’s harder.
Are we hiding it away?
To get a picture of why a potential customer might (incorrectly) think that we can’t meet their needs requires putting ourselves in their shoes. For every product or service and application, the home page of our website needs at least to suggest that we might have the answer, and confirmation then needs to be no more than a click away. How many of us have analysed our website in this way?
Then there are companies who are well-known for one product or application, but who can equally well supply other demands. Are those lesser-known ones even getting a look in? Often the main product or application dominates the company’s marketing, from the business name and slogan downwards. Is it then surprising if potential customers dismiss the company for other products and applications, perhaps not even getting as far as investigating? Every sales rep has a client who’s said to them: “Oh, I wish I’d known you did that too!”
For those of us who realise that we have products, services and markets that potential customers don’t associate us with, the remedy needs to be wide-ranging and ongoing. A complete revision in brand messaging may be necessary. It can’t be done with a one-off announcement.