Many B2B companies are under-utilizing technology and the Internet. They’re relying instead on tried and true methods of generating leads, including directories, vertical media, telemarketing and direct marketing.

Of course, B2B marketing managers can never forget the power and influence wielded by their own sales group, which favors solutions that work now to identify prospects and drive same-quarter sales. Risk is indeed a four letter word.

However, the B2B marketing environment is currently undergoing a radical shift, largely because of the impact of technology on purchasing behavior. Customers today expect more value, information, and responsiveness than traditional channels can deliver.

As a result, basic product data sheets and brochures are sales table-stakes that no longer create incremental demand. Lead generation is saturated with too many companies chasing prospects in those traditional channels. Buying cycles are starting earlier because there is more up-front pre-sales contact research by purchasers.

In fact, more than 85% of B2B purchases now start with research on the web, and 80% of B2B purchasers state they have directly sourced their purchase options. The increase in blogs, discussion groups, analyst reports and online media is forcing B2B brands to compete in brand new ways when providing relevant and valuable information to purchasers.

B2B companies that are not fully leveraging technology and the Internet to acquire customers are losing potential sales every day. Many of their prospects are lost because most B2B websites are brochureware (we call them ‘b-nodes’).

In fact, fewer than 3% of B2B web visitors convert to prospects, because b-nodes are not SEO-aligned with what customers are searching for during the pre-purchase phase of the buying cycle. Not only that, many B2B marketers make a sporadic and inconsistent effort to refresh or improve their websites.

The gap between what would-be customers want to know, and what B2B marketers are telling them, presents a tremendous opportunity.

Smart marketers are working with marketing firms built to service the digital marketspace. They’re technically-adroit and Internet-savvy. They provide a roster of services designed to drive sales by enhancing the alignment between B2B marketers and their customers.

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