Follow-ups – how much is good?

B2B, follow-up, Marketing, persistence

One question that I get very often from my team is – “if we send so many follow-up emails, won’t the prospect get offended and unsubscribe”. We deal in B2B customers and therefore the general audience is never large, so they are scared that they may lose one prospect from the small set of prospects.

If your follow-up is – just wanted to check if there’s any update for me – then yes – its irritating and people will get offended and not bother to pick up your calls or unsubscribe from your mails in the future.

But if the mail or call has value then they will look forward to receiving your mails or calls. If on the other hand, if inspite of the fact that you are sending them something of value and they still unsubscribe to your mails or stop taking your calls, then it’s a good sign. They would not have become a good customer for you anyway.

Since our time is extremely valuable, it’s extremely important that we eliminate the people who anyway don’t value our services. You should look forward to delighting people who value your service not to people who don’t value it. That’s a wasted effort.

How do you create value in your communications – you share case studies of how you have helped others. You share challenges, that other customers had, that you helped solve. You could have created some new setups/solutions, found a new way to sanitise the rooms. With B2B prospects, there’s a lot of ways you can create messaging.

If not, you can share industry news that you found, or send them a book. But you have to be persistent in reminding them of your presence because, they shouldn’t miss out on talking to you when they actually have a need.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

P.S: If you are interested in getting a free copy of my 7 point checklist for B2B markets, you can ask for it, by filling in your details below.

Lettuce and Garbage

B2B, Marketing, persistence

The difference between lettuce and garbage is Timing. If the lettuce is used at the right time, its good for health and can be used for layering various foods. On the other hand if you don’t use it when its fresh, it can cause food poisioning.

In case of marketing, timing is a major factor for success. In case of investments , I strongly suggest doing systematic investments so timing becomes irrelevant.

However in case of marketing, if the customer doesn’t think of your name when “her” need arises, then you will lose the sale. That’s the reason why you see the advertisements of Coke, Pepsi etc. all year round.

Even though B2B buyers are not impulsive, the logic still applies. If when the buyer begins to start evaluating a company to replace an incumbent and you are not in front of them, they may not contact you and you could lose a lead.

People have so many things going on in their lives, expecting them to remember you because you sent them some information or called them, about 6 months back, doesn’t work. Obviously you don’t want to bombard them with messages which are only self serving. If you add value to their business and then talk a little bit about yourself then its okay.

Till email was not prevalent, most companies used to send out newsletters, whitepapers or catalogs with detailed usage guidelines on a regular basis. With emails becoming so prevalent, if you send something which is in print form, it will actually stand out. Though with people working from home, this can be a constraint. So use email and print both or whatever other vehicle suits you. The email could be 2 times a week while a newsletter or postcard could be twice a month and maybe a seminar once in a quarter..

Whatever is the combination of methods you choose, ensure that you are persistent with it. Using marketing automation tools, you can actually make a lot of this work in the background. That in itself will also create a brand & trust for you, because of your predictability.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

P.S: If you are interested in getting a free copy of my 7 point checklist for B2B markets, you can ask for it, by filling in your details below.

Education to build Trust

B2B, education, education, Marketing, Trust

In the last two posts I had written about building trust and reducing fear in the B2B marketplace.

One of the best ways to build trust is to educate the customer. But you can’t educate the customer if you cannot think like them and understand the conversation going on in their mind (Robbert Collier said that). Only if you can understand the questions they could have, when wanting to buy something for which you have a product / service , will you be able to educate them.

In B2B scenarios typically cycle times are quite large, especially for things which are part of a plan. There are some things which are needed because of some emergency and get done quickly. Otherwise the work on a B2B project could start about 3-6 months before they actually place an order.

Depending on the size of the companies you are targeting, the level of the person who would be looking for the information will change. Also in very large organisations, they may actually employ specialised consultants for helping them on certain decisions in choosing vendors.

The other challenge is that until you have some amazing new Hitech gizmo, chances are that they may already have a vendor providing those product or services . If that be the case, then the kind of education that you will need to provide also changes.

Today information is available freely to everyone. Large companies employ hundreds of employees, some of whom can be tasked to do the research and fetch the information. What is needed by the leaders is actionable guidance. This makes the task of educating a B2B customer tougher.

If you provide products or services that are widely available and the customer already has an incumbent, then your education should be directed more towards educating for creating dissonance. Typically all the issues that you have seen customers face before they started using you.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

TRUST & FEAR IN B2B – 2

B2B, education, education, Fear, Marketing, Trust

In my earlier post on this topic I spoke of the challenge for a new vendor to enter into an organisation. But there’s a positive side of this story. Once you enter the organisation and do a good job and the customer starts trusting you, then you will stay in that organisation for a very long time. Decisions in organisations are rarely impulsive, therefore they will always prefer to go with the vendor who is an incumbent and whom they trust.

So how do you build trust & reduce the fear-

  1. Ideal situation is when you have enough other customers vouching for your product or service. If they are from the same industry as the prospect you are targeting, even better.
  2. Provide continuous education on what’s new and what they could be missing – there are three things in this sentence. First is “continuous” – you have to be reaching your prospects regularly and creating an impression in their minds, so that when the time comes and the incumbent is not in a position to provide them the service, they reach out to you. The Second item in the sentence is – “What’s new” – keep talking about the new technologies, new case studies etc. so that the customer understands that you are doing a lot of work and others are trusting you. And the last item is on “What they could be missing” – with their existing supplier – this is to create a wedge, start a cycle of dissonance with the incumbent. This could be a simple thing like talking about how at each of your other customers’ premises you provide a dedicated project manager to ensure smooth operations. Now if the incumbent is not providing this facility, then the customer will start getting a feeling of missing on a service.
  3. Always be upfront in what you can do very well and what you can’t do. When you first get a chance – it could be a trial or a Proof of Concept, never do anything in this phase which is not your best item. Only when the prospect gets convinced at this stage, will they decide to move forward with you.

Out of the three points above, with marketing you can systematise the second point and ensure that there is constant education happening for the prospects. This background activity will slowly result in your name becoming more familiar. With familiarity, some amount of trust starts developing. As the trust starts getting built, they may start inviting you to discuss on things which they are coming up with to see if they can accommodate you.

Till next time then……

Carpe Diem!!!