Companies that sell products or services to other businesses have a tougher audience to impress than those who sell to the average consumer. Businesses are tech-savvy, resourceful, and intrinsically competitive, all of which result in them being much more selective when it comes to making purchasing decisions and contract commitments.
Thus, business-to-business (B2B) marketing tends to be a lot more involved and complicated than the process of targeting the general public with a consumer-level product/service. To help you impress and persuade the CEOs, entrepreneurs, marketers and project managers that B2B companies typically deal with, we’ve compiled the following list of the top six B2B technology solutions you should be using in 2015:
1. Customer relationship Management (CRM) Software
If you only choose one of the solutions on this list, a powerful CRM platform should be it. Popular examples include Oracle Fusion, Microsoft Dynamics, and Salesforce. In essence, these platforms make it much easier for you to keep track of and organize leads into individual campaigns, which greatly aids in conversion tracking and analysis. If you need to manage a large amount of clients and projects in a data-intensive industry, consider switching from basic spreadsheets and databases to a comprehensive CRM. Because CRM platforms are so feature-rich, it may also be worthwhile to enlist the help of business strategists that specialise in electronic infrastructure.
2. Conversion Tracking and Split-Testing
In addition to storing and collecting information about your leads and clients in a CRM, it’s also worthwhile to employ a broad range of split-testing and comparative analysis solutions to determine which sales structures and promotional techniques are providing the best results. Many B2B markets are highly competitive, so there’s no time to waste running projects and pages that aren’t fully optimised. If you want the highest possible conversion rate, you’ll need to continually compare the results of your own advertising campaigns and sales funnels with each other, as well as examine the differences between your own landing pages and your closest competitors’.
3. Marketing Automation Software
Marketing automation software like Eloqua, Pardot, and Act-On can save your marketing team tons of time by automatically using imported client/lead data from your CRM to perform automated content promotion across multiple channels (i.e. – social networks, email, blogs, etc.) These tools grade prospects based on the lead’s on-site behaviour, social activities and other factors.
The lead grades are then used to determine which prospects are more likely to convert, and those leads are then targeted with the automated distribution of drip-fed, tailored content like newsletters, videos, infographics, links to blog posts and special offers that pertain to their interests. This kind of software is essential for any B2B company that conducts a high volume of email marketing and targeted sales processes.
4. Mobile Apps and Web Apps
Time and time again studies have shown that mobile and web apps promote engagement and raise conversion rates. People enjoy interacting with apps more than they do old-fashioned websites.
Apps also make it easier for clients to place orders, examine a company’s catalogue/offerings, and check on the status of their projects/orders while on-the-go. With Microsoft and the rest of the world moving towards a “mobile first, cloud first” environment, 2015 is a better time than ever to get in on the app rush.
5. 24-Hour Technical Support
It is also important to note that the B2B marketplace is global, and as such there’s a good chance that many of your clients will operate in different time zones. If your client is on the other side of the world, their work hours could be in the middle of the night in your time zone, but that doesn’t mean they’ll want to wait until their workday has ended to receive a response.
Thus, 24-hour technical support is an option that should be considered by any B2B company that deals in high volumes internationally. Fortunately, there are a number of companies that offer outsourced 24-hour support solutions that can be customised to fit the demands and needs of your clients and leads. Alternatively, you can assemble your own team of virtual assistants and pay them individually to provide auxiliary tech support during your off hours.
6. Professional IT Support
Finally, recognising that technical support is needed around the clock, it just might be necessary to enlist the help of a professional IT support team such as the group at Stratix. This is a growing Netherlands-based IT support company that specialises in developing, maintaining, and optimising software and hardware infrastructures used within various forms of electronic communication.
With a broad field of expertise, their team provides consultation and strategic assistance to corporations in the private and public sector, organisations, and governments.
Working closely with clients to assess goals, Stratix is able to provide competitive technical support in all areas of electronic data storage, analysis, and transmission, including assisting in tender management, strategic business planning, and innovative assessment.
Larger companies might want to hire an expert in technology management to head up their IT support department. This is especially true if your company does not outsource this job, but rather handles it in-house. If you’re a solopreneur, however, the cost of hiring someone to manage your IT department could be cumbersome and, therefore, isn’t recommended.
Instead, you might consider becoming an expert in the field yourself. This is easier to accomplish than ever before and is sure to give you a sound return on the investment because you will use your new skills each and every day.