Branding | 3 min. read
B2B models and brand strategies must evolve to meet buyer behaviour
Written by Mike Nield, 03.01.2017
Business models have shifted with the rise of online shopping. Consumers around the world can now price compare and purchase at the touch of a button or a swipe of a smartphone. By 2025, there will be in the region of four billion smartphones being used across the globe. The competition for your business is no longer just your local rival, operating within the same core business hours as you. In our emerging truly global online marketplace, goods can be purchased from anyone anywhere in the world.
Consumers now expect flexible, reliable and customer-centric service across the board and retailers are having to shift their business model whether online or in a physical store. But it is not only retailers that need to act. A different mindset is needed across all industries. A massive re-think is required by B2B companies who rely on sales teams alone to sell goods and services – this strategy has become outmoded. According to the Corporate Executive Board, 60% of a prospect’s purchase decision is formed before interaction with sales representatives takes place. You need to be prepared to deliver a multi-channel service for your customers, one which provides them with the information they have come to expect during this period of research and consideration. Whether your customers eventually deal with you online or offline, all channels by which they reach you must be seamlessly linked and help move your prospects closer to action; not through trickery, but rather meeting constantly shifting expectations. With Accenture stating that 94% of B2B buyers conduct online research, enabling the initial stages of the sales process to take place online has become imperative. Having online assets is one thing, but for them to be effective sales tools they need to educate, inform and create trust.
Increasingly, customers are basing their purchasing decisions on trusting your company’s online identity, without ever meeting anyone in person or even seeing the products they are buying in some cases. Building trust in your brand is absolutely critical. But before you can build trust, you must establish an effective marketing strategy. When you are deciding how best to reach your customers and you are formulating your brand proposition, you must find answers to key questions such as, what has brought that customer to you and why do they trust your brand over others? What do you need to do to convert them to a repeat customer or even a champion of your brand?
Only once you understand your own goals and those of your customers can you come up with a well-founded, deliverable strategy. To ensure longevity, it’s not just a question of understanding your customers’ needs now – you need to look ahead to anticipate how their needs will change. Will your business evolve accordingly to keep pace or even one step ahead?
If you want to make these changes work in your favour, arm your business with online assets that have the ability influence purchasing decisions, talk to Intermedia.
Originally published January 3, 2017 16:18pm, updated September 30, 2020