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The Personal Touch Approach to Sales and Marketing … Part 2
By Paul Dunham

Introduction

It defies belief until you discover powerful, proven techniques that will guide your business to incredible success.

Time to get personal
As we emerge from global recession businesses across every sector are seeking to safeguard market share and implement strategies to attract new prospects. B2B businesses might not have the budgets of their B2C counterparts for marketing creativity and high visibility campaigns but there is still a pressing need for communication competency. Ultimately people buy from people they like – so understanding the likes and dislikes of your prospect or customer and combining this with proven principles of sales and marketing will ensure they choose above your competitors.

There remains a tendency within B2B communications – and B2B marketing in particular – to direct communications to a job title or generic department rather than a named individual. Recent research, for example, reveals that less than half of B2B direct mail is addressed to a named individual within a company. Around half of the companies surveyed believe that companies in their sector are not able to efficiently manage this most basic level of personalisation.

This finding is alarming at a time of economic hardship when the battle for market share is intense. B2B companies must also meet the increased expectations of customers who want to be addressed with consistency across all the touch-points offered by the current multi-channel reality. However, little more than a third of businesses across Europe’s major economies and the USA are confident of being able to communicate consistently in this fashion. Developing a proven and systematic approach to B2B sales and marketing is critical but not costly or difficult.

On a positive note there is clear evidence that B2B companies are aware of their communication shortfalls and are rising to the personalisation challenge. This accuracy is essential if businesses are to realise greater return on their marketing investment and build a loyal and expanding customer base. Today’s consumer has become used to a certain level of control over what information does and doesn’t reach them and how that information is delivered. B2B firms must begin to recognise their audience on these same terms – consumers sitting in the office rather than at home. There is no need to replicate all the bells and whistles offered by consumer-facing firms. But failing to get the very basics of personalisation correct may well mean that serial offenders are left behind as the economic recovery takes flight.

You need to continue to build your relationship
You need to continue the relationship, build in regular calls, emails and newsletters. Try to vary the reason for getting in touch by having something of interest to offer, not just asking if they are ready to buy again. Make sure you make your sales and marketing process smarter, better and more effective using process and procedures your whole organisation can understand.

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Added: 1st February 2012

Paul has over 30 years experience in the manufacturing industry. Combined with his knowledge of marketing practises he's an expert when it comes to marketing for manufacturers.

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