The saying “Always be Closing” is probably ingrained in every sales rep and executive’s mind. This makes sense, because closing new business is the lifeline for your company’s profitability. However, there seems to be a fundamental shift, especially in the IT channel. Solution providers are now beginning to place more of an emphasis on marketing.
Why is that, you ask? This is happening in response to the way that buyers are buying.
Today’s IT consumers have become savvier and are taking control of the sales process. That leaves us scratching our heads, wondering how we can keep our customers engaged. Therefore, the need has evolved to ALWAYS BE MARKETING.
Let’s start with why it’s important to always be marketing:
- 86% of tech B2B buyers are doing online research before making a purchase. (Source: Google & Millward Brown Digital) Prospective buyers are searching the internet to find out what solution is best for them and who is most reputable. If your information is not present, you are losing out on business.
- 70% of the sales cycle has been completed prior to engaging a sales rep. (Source: Sirius Decisions) Your sales rep is either encountering a well-educated buyer (or a misinformed buyer), depending on the information they have been researching. You have more control of the buying cycle if you are the one informing the prospect of information that highlights your expertise.
You need clients to survive. Even if you have the most loyal customers today, you never know what tomorrow will bring. If you lose your key clients, where will your new ones come from? How will you replace that revenue? Consistent and relevant marketing is the answer.
While marketing may seem simplistic, in reality, it’s not!
Marketing is a long-term strategy, not a quick win. It can no longer be looked at as an ad-hoc solution, such as one social media post or a single email. IT solution providers must take a programmatic approach to marketing. It must be aligned with the stages of your prospects’ buying process. And to keep them engaged, remember that content is king, so long as your buyers find it valuable.
So, let’s talk about the how to engage your audience throughout the stages of the sales funnel:
Awareness/Interest: Initially, you will want to fill the top of the funnel with intriguing and educational content. To get that great content in front of your buyers, leverage outlets such as digital ads, social media, and SEO. I know it can seem time-consuming and daunting to create this content. But, if you are not generating thought leadership and leading with your brand and expertise, your prospects will probably choose another IT company that is providing that value.
Consideration/Intent: Once you’ve piqued their interest, you will want to map out the buyer’s journey and provide content that will help answer questions about pain points, objections, financial challenges, and why they should buy from you. Depending on their level of interest, webinars, eBooks, case studies or testimonials, and infographics can support your marketing goals at this stage.
Evaluation/Preference: Here, you will want to build out nurture streams to effectively support the sales team and help your prospects navigate through the evaluation period. The competition is fierce in today’s channel, and prospects are demanding more resources that are specifically unique to their needs. At this point in the marketing journey, customization is key. Answer the questions and provide the information that helps your prospect choose and purchase your solution.
Marketing, when done well, will fill the top of your funnel and help sales to convert those opportunities. And let’s face it – you need clients for your business to survive. Don’t let your company fall into the illusion that marketing is too expensive or time-consuming. This is a costly mistake that can sink your business quickly.
If you don’t have a marketing plan in place, now is the time to get started. If you need tips on how to spruce up your marketing strategy, be sure to check out our blogs, eBooks, webinars and more. Wherever you are in your marketing journey, just remember: ALWAYS BE MARKETING.
If you’ve taken marketing as far as you can, but just don’t have the time or resources to do it right, we may be able to help. A Fluent Vision’s Marketing-as-a-Service program is designed to build and enhance your current sales and marketing infrastructure so that you can get back to what matters most: closing more business.