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Sales funnel, B2B sales, B2B marketing expert

Tips for manufacturers to grow client base

My company provides mechanical designs and manufacturers and supplies products to a few companies in both the US and Europe. How do I increase my customers?

This is a typical “opening” question that I get asked when starting a new engagement with clients.  B2B marketing needs to be closely integrated with the new business and new client acquisition process to be effective.

For a public question and answer, I gave some straightforward answers.  The detail of how to apply these, is where my expertise will help you get it right first time.

Sales funnel, B2B sales, B2B marketing expert

Planning B2B sales and marketing plan

Step one for B2B sales

  1. Ask your existing client/s for referrals. If they were happy with the work that you did, they should be happy to help. If you feel the need, offer them a X%/$X discount on the next project for every client they refer. This is ‘win-win-win’ situation because you get more clients, they get a discount, and they use your services again.
  2. Ask your existing clients for a written recommendation & permission to use their logo on your website. Publish them both on your website. This will help increase the conversion rate on your website. If you feel the need, you can offer them a link to their website which will be good for both of your SEO rankings – so another win-win.
  3. Publish as much (relevant and quality) content as possible on your website (about the projects you’ve done, potential projects, your fields of expertise, etc. Obviously, you need to have a professional and trustworthy looking website. I can explain how the articles need to be done.
  4. Create a free ‘get a quote tool’ – many customers check online to get an estimate of how much the project will cost. If you have an automatic online tool, this can attract a lot of customers. I have personally used such a tool and I was very impressed.
  5. Partner with organisations/companies that work with your target clients – for example: I work with lots of entrepreneurs and many of them ask me for referrals to various types of service providers, including programming companies. These companies give me a small percentage of the profits they make from my referrals (of course I only refer to companies which I know and trust as my reputation is worth more than the referral fee).

Step 2 tactics for more sophisticated marketers

In Europe, there are a number of partnership sites for B2B. You could use these sites to post your offer or search for other offers and hopefully make a match.

Another approach is considering hiring local distributors who specialise in your industry. The advantage here is local distributors will already have a strong network to promote your products/services. Furthermore, local distributors would have thorough understanding of the local market, language, and business culture to close deals.

Go talk to your current customers. Ask them why they do business with you. They may, and most likely will, tell you something different than you’re saying to new prospects. Listen to what your current customers are saying and use their messaging to talk to the market. Ask them if they know other companies that could use what you have,

Go and join the professional trade bodies who represent the industries for your existing clients. Ask your existing clients what these are. Once you are a member, you will be able to see a membership list of other organisations who are also members
Plan outbound marketing to approach these companies and see if they want to also work with you.

Consider visiting the annual conferences and trade shows which these professional bodies run because you will then meet in person with prospects. Many people find it easier to sell their expertise face to face. You could consider doing a trade show stand as well where you can display your past work and the logos of your clients. This builds trust and can start discussions.,

B2B sales and marketing work together

In summary – you need to learn the process of B2B new business, you need a strategy for your new business development and then you need a regular tactical execution process to deliver the new business programme.

You may choose to hire an external advisor to help write the strategy, you could get an in-house salesperson to deliver the tactical execution as well, depending on the size of your contracts and how many you need to get in order to pay for their salary plus commission to make it worthwhile for the business.

Instagram B2B, Business marketing using Instagram,

Tips to increase your B2B Instagram followers for better long term success

Tapping Into Instagram: Increasing Your B2B Followers

Instagram B2B, get B2B instagram followers, Creative Agency Instagram, social media agency New Zealand

Instagram for business

With the above in mind, it’s important to remember that increasing your B2B Instagram followers is more than just finding the best way to “appeal” to your market. Rather, you should start learning how exactly you can tap into the interests of B2B presence on Instagram and using that to your advantage. Thankfully, getting “the hang” of this process can be trained. Here’s how it works:

  • Buy Instagram followers to offset growth: This is a temporary strategy, but it might work to get you a headstart. While you’re planning for better ways to pursue your followers, you can actually avail services that acquire followers for your resources. This is a good way for you to at least have a support system in place so you won’t risk losing your followers when you try a new strategy. Remember, though, that this isn’t a permanent solution. It’s best to tackle this matter as a worst-case scenario or a short-term solution, but never as something you should rely on. It’s still important to learn how to actually gain followers in an efficient and natural way, In speaking of,
  • Prioritise investments towards organic growth: A lot of marketers measure the success of their social media campaigns based on the number of likes, shares, or engagements they acquire over the shortest period of time. While this does display efficiently, it’s not quite the practical approach to build your branding. Remember that branding takes time, and as such gaining brand attraction needs time as well. You should gear your campaigns towards getting long-term followers, not short-term ones. Make sure your hashtags and keywords are easily-recognisable and remembered. Also, make sure your initiatives and campaigns are easy to remember.
  • Add humanity to your brand by doing community projects and socialising: Make sure you use positive visuals when you create Instagram posts, as displaying your service, products or brand involved in positive action can greatly boost appeal to you. For instance, if you go for action-oriented pieces such as cute animals, holiday destinations, or anything that shows a story, it’s likely that people will grab their attention. Make photos you can make stories revolve around them, that way you have a way of engaging your consumers and encouraging them to talk with you and have conversations with them.
  • Encourage your users to interact with you, but don’t be pushy: You can also try to encourage your users to interact with you without being pushy. You can start by making a particular hashtag trend among your brand employees and to encourage people to use that hashtag to share their stories. Give them a reason to be encouraged and motivated to participate in your campaigns by involving them, as it’s a powerful tool to secure brand followers. Make sure your initiatives always have space for you to interact with your customers.
  • Get your hashtags primed and ready: When you want to pursue better followers for your Instagram page, you’ve got to remember that #hashtags are where it’s at. However, don’t just rely on what hashtags are currently trending. Try to tap into hashtags B2B companies in your niche will use as well – and you can often do this by doing proper keyword assessment. Search for keywords that rank high but aren’t used as much by your competition. Tap into those keywords and try combining them with hashtags that actually trend. That way, you can tackle both attracting natural Instagram followers and those searching the internet and happened to stumble upon your page.
  • Always remember to keep track, assess, evaluate, and adjust your parameters: One of the fatal flaws in making any strategy in any business is that a lot of higher-ups tend to stop assessing the moment they started to see success. This shouldn’t be the case. Regardless of the performance of your campaigns, be sure to always have systems in place that promote assessment and evaluation of performance. This can be through regular meetings, weekly submission of reports, or even having a software with easy-to-access analytics. This puts you in a position of advantage as you’re always going to be able to assess your performance so far and make adjustments as needed.

The Takeaway: Tapping Into Instagram, Social Media For Long Term Marketing

With the above tips in mind, it’s important to remember that Instagram is actually more than just a platform for fancy images. It’s actually quite a powerful platform to reach your clients and audiences from an aesthetic standpoint – and a lot of successful marketing pushes nowadays do rely on the creative and innovative use of graphics. With this in mind, it’s important you remember and take note of the tips above in order to gain traction with your B2B campaigns, and get more customers in the long run.

What’s a typical response rate for personalised B2B direct mail?

What’s a typical response rate for highly personalised B2B direct mail? What provider would you work with? I’ve heard of Enthusem and Pebblepost.
It’s a well designed card with their logo, name or website on it.

Logo for Enthusem

Logo for Enthusem

Your response rate for B2B direct mail depends on a couple of things

  1. What you’re selling and whether the recipient has heard of you or has the need right now for your product/service.
  2. If you are already known, you can get response rates over 10%, particularly if you are trusted.
  3. One way to improve your “response rate” is to do a follow up by telephone to check they got the message and to elicit a reply verbally.
  4. You will get the best results by working with someone experienced in Direct Response Mailings. This is a skilled position – do not expect high % returns without expertise in creating the mailing asset. If you’re inexperienced buying direct mail services, I suggest meeting a few agencies for a “Chemistry” meeting where they will show you their work and ask you about your business needs. This will educate you about the process and likely outcomes.

Lastly, both the services you suggest seem good, I’ve not used them. But a competent Direct Marketing Agency (like Creative Agency Secrets) will do a similar job of customised direct mail pieces as these businesses. Which may be much cheaper. It depends on how big your database is as to which is a good / cheap option.

We use our 8 Step New Business Development process and each has a category – this blog post is related to Step 2 – Marketing Communications and Step 3 – New Business Pipeline

Click on the icons to see more posts in each category.

Symbol for marketing communications symbol for new business pipeline

 

 

This answer was first submitted on Clarity.fm

B2B Marketing Validation (Green Light by Alachua County)

How to market validate a B2B startup

What are the best ways to validate a B2B idea without spending a lot on product development first?

I currently run a B2C online service. I’m looking to pivot to B2B as a way of growing our business.

Creative Agency Secrets are very practical and tactical marketers so in this answer we will give you a series of steps to run through. You will need to run through them all several times – for example, if you do 1,2,3 and it’s not working, go back to 1 and start again, improving each time.

You will need to be very self-critical in order to improve and if you have not got experience in B2B, we strongly recommend you find a mentor or coach who can be objective and help shortcut the number of iterations.

  1. First – write out the revised offer as it would apply to a B2B situation. Make this a one-page print and pdf brochure.
  2. Second – approach people you already know and who could buy the service and ask them to appraise the document and give you honest feedback. You can find these people on Linked In or via the local chamber of commerce. Get the feedback face to face if possible and / or by phone. DO NOT use email. You want to be there in person to ask supplementary questions such as “why did you say that?” to clarify your understanding.
  3. Third – try to push a sale or two from one of your market testing interviews. Be prepared to offer a money back guarantee or a discount with the option to name them as a client as the quid-pro-quo.
  4. Fourth – You should now have a sense of which TYPE of B2B firm could buy the service. So go and buy a mailing list of similar businesses in your local area. Approach them all and repeat – raising the price, reducing the guarantee as you get more focused onto your sweet spot.
  5. Fifth – as you approach more, try to refine the offer and price if sales are not forthcoming. This will allow adaptation to refine the offer to suit the market. And also gradually withdraw from the face to face and phone and pull back to web (low cost) sales. You may still need telephone follow-up. Experiment with having a colleague do this calling rather than yourself as you further move to lower cost marketing tools.
  6. Sixth – re-invest any profits into improving the marketing method and collateral.

That should give you a methodology. Now you will need very strong copywriting, CRM and sales skills. Buy or hire these for your support team.

Good luck and happy to help further.