Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Sales Process



Unlike business-to-consumer companies, B2B companies are regularly faced with long, complicated sales cycles. Ofen, it takes months after initial contact to close a sale. This cycle can initiate online, but it will go through several different stages and forms of contact, many of which occur offline. That's where print advertising shines.

It begins with developing a message that speaks clearly to your prospects. That message should be integrated into both print and online communications, enabling one to reinforce the other. A prospective customer is logically more inclined to initiate contact online with a brand they recognize, such as those they've encountered through print and vice-versa online.

The need for brand awareness.

Creating brand awareness is a key step in promoting a company or product. This is especially true in the B2B industry where products and services are typically more customized and complex. A high level of customization inevitably results in a multi-faceted and long-term relationship. If customers are going to enter into that kind of relationship with you, they need to feel comfortable with your company. They need credibility...and so do you.

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MY OBJECTIVE:

To share common sense lessons learned with 40-plus years experience in marketing, sales and as a B2B publisher.

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I'm really just a "mature" guy picking up experience along the way. If only by osmosis, I've observed what works and what doesn't work under the marketing umbrella -- with 11 years in sales and marketing at Procter & Gamble; 30-plus years in B2B publishing (including three years as a publisher); and 1,000's of calls on every size company starting with the likes of Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard all the way down to small, brash start-ups.

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