Tag Archives: marketing strategy

Understanding the Buying Cycle for Customer 2.0

This post was authored by Julie Fraser, President & Principal Industry Analyst, no prescription cialis

shi.com” target=”_blank”>Cambashi Inc.

While most people talk about the sales cycle and stages of marketing, these must directly reflect the buying cycle. While the main stages of the buying cycle have not changed since I participated in the course “The Business of Selling and Marketing” with TRB Consulting over 15 years ago, some of the approaches buyers use to move through the cycle have. Let’s walk through the buying cycle as TRB lays it out in the book The Buck Starts Here:

Become Aware: This is typically where the customer recognizes a need or an opportunity. Addressing this can be a marketing activity leveraging thought leadership and educational approaches in either traditional or on-line formats, and sales teams can also help current customers understand new products and their capabilities.

Gain Initial Info: In this area in particularly, buyers leverage the Internet, Social Media and other avenues that are both outside traditional marketing approaches and not entirely in your company’s control. Every aspect of marketing can be very important – on-line and traditional.

Gain In-Depth Info: At this stage, buyers generally are comparing options in terms of functions, features, pricing, and terms. Answering these questions must be a foundation of

Justify Internally: While each customer must do this step themselves, marketing and sales teams can support buyers with detailed results from other customers and/or performance data compared to current approaches.

Buy: For most purchases, the customers want to buy face-to-face with a salesperson or a customer service call desk. Still, providing on-line ordering and customer service opportunities are increasingly important too.

Have Ongoing Relationship: While the account managers and sales teams continue to have a strong hand in these, many companies are doing a great job of keeping customers loyal and keeping them informed to get back in the buying cycle for other products.

This is the first element of being customer focused – looking at the buying cycle as the foundation for marketing and sales activities. At each of these stages, you must be aware of who you want to act and what action you want them to take – that guides what activities to plan. The tricky part now is to also incorporate into the plan actions to manage the impression you make even for parts of the marketing and sales cycle you do not control completely. Customer 2.0 looks there with a keen eye.

Looking forward to sharing more with you at the event in September! Then I’ll focus on identifying and planning to satisfy all the aspects that a customer might value.

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Aligning Your Marketing with Your Customers’ Buying Process

Chris Chariton is presenting this topic at the Marketing & Sales Summit.

The buy cycle has been around for as long as products have been bought and sold. While the stages of the process haven’t changed over the years, the way buyers

navigate through the buy cycle and where they go to get information has changed dramatically.

This interactive workshop will shed light onto the four major stages of the B2B buy cycle – Needs Awareness, Research, Consideration & Comparison, and Procurement – and effective marketing strategies for each of these steps.

Attendees of this session will walk away with:

  • Information on what sources B2B buyers rely on today for each step of the purchasing funnel
  • Tips for what your company should do to address buyers at each stage of the process
  • Actionable research data on how industrial buyers purchase today, and what influences them
  • Details on the role social, traditional and online media play in the various buying stages
  • Why the “last click” that leads to the purchase should not receive all of the credit for the sale… and how to effectively build your marketing strategy to address this

This workshop will also cover best practices in conducting a content audit to ensure that your marketing materials are addressing the needs of buyers at various stages of the buy cycle, and that your company and products are visible in various media/information sources used across each stage.

About Chris Chariton

Chris Chariton is Vice President of Marketing Services and Product Management for GlobalSpec (www.globalspec.com), a specialized search engine, information resource, e-publishing and online events company for the industrial sector. In this role, Chariton oversees direct marketing, demand generation, product management and market research, as well as public relations and advertising.

An expert in the field of industrial marketing, Chariton has been with GlobalSpec since 2000. Since that time, GlobalSpec has grown to six million registered users and consistently achieves record levels of profitability. Overall, she has nearly 20 years of marketing experience, including 10 years with Pactiv and Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics.

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The Move from Outbound to Inbound Marketing

What This Means for Your Marketing Strategy

Inbound MarketingI’ve grown to resent those pop-up ads that require you to click ‘stop’ or ‘skip’ before you can continue using the website you’re visiting. It’s even worse when they gradually glide down the screen and you have to chase them with your cursor before you can make them disappear. Not to mention when you miss the little ‘x’ in the corner and click on the ad itself. It’s uninvited and it eats up valuable seconds in your day. Am I the only one?

The thing is; advertising has always been a part of our lives. So much so, we have become accustomed to filtering it out. We mentally tune out the commercials that interrupt our favorite TV show. We flip the pages of our favorite magazine and barely notice glossy advertisements on every other page. We screen sales calls, delete unsolicited e-mails or flag them as spam, and file direct mail campaigns in our recycling bins.

Here’s the rub: we know what those advertisements are trying to do and we filter them out because we dislike being dictated to. We are acutely aware that those behind an ad campaign typically do not have the full picture of who we are, what drives us, what turns us off, or what motivates us. We resent not being appreciated or understood as an individual. We feel tuned out and so return the favor.

Our mistrust increases every time we are manipulated to give away our contact information only to find it misused by over-eager salespeople. We have had enough of marketing messages being thrust at us from every angle, invading our rights to space and privacy. We are fed up of traditional mass marketing, or ‘outbound marketing’.

‘Inbound marketing’ is the opposite of this interruption-based model. Instead of pushing marketing messages at people, an inbound marketing strategy focuses on creating helpful tools and content that pulls people in. This might be via a blog, e-book, white paper, webinar, social media or by simply optimizing your website so that people can find you via search engines. By increasing the amount of valuable, educational content available online for your brand, the chances of being found by people relevant to your business are vastly improved.

Inbound marketing works to undo the damage caused by traditional marketing. It restores confidence and rebuilds trust. By allowing individuals to come to your website, surf around and gather the information they require, you give them the space to relax and enjoy their user experience. By using only contact information these visitors willingly give you to contact them in a highly relevant way, their whole experience of your company is one that they will want to repeat again and again.

3 Guidelines for Inbound Marketing:

1. Build (and optimize) it and they will come

Start with your website and build out from there. Create valuable content that visitors will want to thank you for. Start making it enjoyable to do business with you. Give people access to online tools and resources before they have to ask for them. And don’t forget to optimize all of this for search engines (SEO) so you can be found in the first place. Content creation is a critical first step to draw in those who are genuinely interested in your products or services. Some examples include FAQs, technical information, blog posts, white papers, videos, or online programs to facilitate product selection. There are more – be creative and think what would most help your customer base.

2. Stop thinking about potential customers as giant dollar signs

Remember: people are individuals with the ability to make their own decisions independently of their peers. Start thinking in terms of one-on-one relationships and less about sales revenue. Sales will come. No, you might not see an overnight increase in profits. The lack of immediate, demonstrable ROI may drive your upper management crazy. As a marketer, that can be difficult. But, given time, if you persist in offering valuable, educational, useful information, people will appreciate it and be more inclined to purchase. Offer information to guide them through each phase of the buying cycle. Don’t assume everyone is poised, credit card in hand, waiting to do business with you if you so much as ask.

An important note: when people are nearly ready to purchase and they want to give you their contact information, make sure your landing pages are optimized for these conversions. Don’t confuse website visitors with a multitude of options or contact fields. Keep it simple. Optimize for only one or two keywords per landing page. Offer one clear call to action per page and then only ask for the contact information that you absolutely need. Also, make it clear why they are providing you with their contact information. Make it a stress-free, smooth transaction for the user.

3. The key is trust

In the 1934 classic “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, Carnegie talks about the importance of becoming genuinely interested in other people, being a good listener, making the other person feel important, and doing this sincerely. Validate people by listening to their concerns and showing you understand them. By this I mean listen to what people are saying about you – online, to your customer service department; your sales people. Only with all the pertinent information can you make accurate judgments on what people want from you and deliver on that. Sure, you can respond to people’s questions and concerns on a one-on-one basis, but why stop there? Why not take that individual response and turn it into a blog post, or white paper, or downloadable tip sheet? Share and spread your knowledge. Demonstrate thought leadership and your customers will reward you with loyalty you didn’t dare imagine.

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Marketing Strategies That Enable Sales Force Success (2008)

Juliann Grant of Telesian Technology and Scott Sommer of Jacobs Engineering discuss pre and post-sales strategies that build a bridge between marketing and sales. This presentation was delivered at the 3rd Annual Marketing and Sales Summit in 2008.

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