Every single businessperson depends on the relationships which they build on a day-to-day basis to do their jobs. As I mentioned in an earlier post, technology gives us lots of ways to be in touch with our clients in non-intrusive ways and to build positive business-relationships.
But who do these relationships actually involve? The title B2B can be misleading. Of course, in the legal sense one business entity buys from another, but when all is said and done, it is one person buying from another in the same way that commerce has taken place since records began.
So, with all the new channels at our disposal I suggest we rethink B2B. Maybe, human-to-human marketing (a term from Chelsea Gaspard which I first encountered last year) would be more appropriate. Individuals engaging and educating their clients and prospects, focusing on developing long-term, durable business relationships, rather than cold, hard selling.
Why? Well, if you only get in touch with someone when you want to sell, they can only feel like a commodity. If you don't like someone, chances are you won't be too keen to lift the phone to them, engage with them or even consider signing an order form.
This modern (soft) approach should be supported by a more traditional marketing function which empowers the individual to nurture these relationships and engage with the key clients and prospects, whilst also thinking of new and innovative ways to drive overall brand awareness.
The brand name name gives the salesperson a degree of integrity, a stamp of trustworthiness and helps them get on the map. It is then up to them to create their own business ecosystem. Content allows them to build the relationships which means in 6 months or even a year, that when the customer is ready to buy, your individual employee will be the go-to force in that sector.
With social selling, salespeople use social media platforms to research, prospect, and network by sharing educational content and answering questions. As a result, they’re able to build relationships until prospects are ready to buy. This is different than social media marketing, where a brand engages many, aiming to increase overall brand awareness or promote a specific product or service by producing content that users will share with their network. Social selling concentrates on producing focused content and providing one-to-one communication between the salesperson and the buyer. Both strategies create valuable content from the consumer’s perspective and use similar social networks and social software tools. But with social selling, the goal is for the rep to form a relationship with each prospect, providing suggestions and answering questions rather than building an affinity for the organization’s brand.