Online B2B commerce is booming, with growth rates in the double digits, according to research by Forrester. But it’s also an environment that you need to know how to navigate successfully. Here are five key areas where manufacturers need to focus if they want their site and online marketing strategy to be successful selling into B2B organizations.
1. A Unique Value Proposition for Your Customers
Your customers have lots of options when it comes to doing business with manufacturing or industrial companies. So, giving them a reason beyond price alone will help differentiate your business in the marketplace, which will in turn build trust between you and your buyer. It means thinking about what makes you unique in relation to other manufacturers competing for the same dollars in the same market – your value proposition. It can be a unique service, special pricing or support that you offer, but it needs to be something that is both meaningful and relevant for your customer base.
2. A Modern Transaction Experience for Buyers
Whether the transaction is taking place on the phone, over lunch, at a eWorldTrade show or in an online environment like your website, it must be as streamlined and personalized as possible. You should help guide buyers through the process and avoid frustration by anticipating their questions and concerns before they mail them; make sure every step of the way provides clear direction and makes certain key information visible up front so there’s no need to hunt around looking for details about availability or warranty terms.
Three suggestions here:
(1) Putting all the information that buyers need upfront will help please customers and reduce calls to customer service.
(2) Letting your customers know you are available at their convenience—day or night, seven days a week—will build trust with them. And not having to wait on hold for an agent is always good.
(3) Savings on shipping, of course, is always nice!
3. A Flexible Engagement Model
Today’s B2B buyers expect everything within reason to be flexible; they don’t like to be forced into one model over another because that might interfere with how they do business or it doesn’t allow them to respond in real time (or faster than you). So, if they want special pricing under certain conditions, such as paying with purchase orders or meeting minimum order quantities, then you need to offer those products and services. As for engagement models, today’s B2B coconut oil buyers expects that the sales cycle might take longer than traditional B2C transactions: A buyer would expect a product to take up to 60 days to be delivered and manufacturing companies often will need time to process orders and ship them quickly—within one or two business days.
4. The Ability to Build Trust
As we mentioned above, building trust should be part of your value proposition in how you interact with buyers online. But it takes more than just being nice on the phone when they call with questions about shipping or warranties. It means all your contact information on your site is accurate—your physical address, phone numbers, e-mail, web site addresses. Also include customer testimonials on your site that show you are trustworthy and have a good reputation for service.
5. A Smart Use of Technology
Successful B2B sellers today use technology to their advantage. Whether it’s using contact management software to track leads, perform competitive analysis or measure performance against goals, technology can help you achieve them all. If you’re not sure which tools are right for your company, then find out what others in your industry are doing and then copy them—it’ll be hard to go wrong if they’ve already shown that the tools work well for them!
6. A Clear Online Communication Strategy
This is important so buyers know they can reach someone within the organization with questions or concerns about what they see on your site or in your marketing content. That’s why it’s vital to have an employee profile section of your website where every key employee who will be communicating with customers is listed—and contact information for each one easily accessible by clicking their name online. And make sure all social media sites are current—particularly LinkedIn where many B2B buyers are already active in conversations about industry issues or solutions that might interest them.
In order to succeed in this competitive market, manufacturers need a well-thought-out online strategy. The five tips we’ve provided will help you craft the perfect plan that drives sales and builds trust with customers. If you have any questions about these or other strategies for your B2B ecommerce site, please contact us! We would be happy to provide a consultation on how our team of content marketing experts can create an amazing SEO campaign for you today.
All of these strategies will build confidence with buyers and enhance their experiences with your business; helping you win more orders faster than ever before. Have additional suggestions?