Marketing Tools for B2B Companies to Succeed
The way of doing business is changing across the globe. Till mid 90s, Tally was the only accounting software that was known to the SMEs in India which managed the finances of our company. Debit Account, Credit Account, Contra Entry, Journal Entries and our Treasurer- The General Ledger. Most of the Entrepreneurs were extremely happy using this software. We didn’t seem to want anything more.
In the late 90s, came in the Lion- SAP into India bringing in their software for Business processes- managing operations of Purchase, Operations and Sales activities. SAP introduced their 1st version R3 which was meant for Big Business Houses. Looking at the business potential in India, other players started pitching their ERP products which were meant for the SMEs. Entrepreneurs who believed in growth and wanted their companies to produce good quality products with timely delivery schedules adapted to the ERP software from various vendors. Looking at the demand in the market, giants like SAP, Oracle, Microsoft etc. came up with exclusive solutions for the SMEs in the early 2000s. With the increase in complexity in the Business Operations, new modules were introduced in the ERP softwares which are being adapted by various Businesses across the country.
In the midst of all the technological changes taking place in our Country, a new phenomenon known as “Digital Disruption” hit the world. Communication on the internet became more popular and much faster. I remember small businesses working with dialup connection modems, relying on LAN were now moving to SaaS (Software as a Service) platforms to store their data on the cloud and access them using the internet even from their smartphones.
In short, life has become simpler. But the question still remains. Has all this been effective enough? Are we profitable enough to maintain the changes? On one hand, we have to adapt to these changes, adapting new systems, upgrading our manpower, paying higher salaries. On the other we have to tackle inflation, lower margins, limited customers, political uncertainties. Are our lives better than what it used to be? Where are we going wrong? What are we missing? We have the right skill sets. We are great at what we do. We might have the right teams. Then why do we feel stuck?
Lets talk a little about the World phenomenon- “Digital Disruption” that happened over the last decade. In my view this is an overload of information available to human beings free of cost that overwhelms us leading to confusion, doubt and finally the inability to act.
How did this happen?
Till about 25 years ago, we had limited access to information (TV, Radio, Newspaper) in our country. About 20 years ago more networks acquired licenses, starting several TV channels in our Country. They had to pay a high fee to get/renew their licenses. Similarly, several news channels- National & International joined this league of entertainment. About 10 years back, due to the internet revolution and several acquisitions of software companies around the world, came in the digital era where individuals could post their own content in the form of blogs or videos online free of cost and the world could watch it. No License was required to reach the world audience. As a result, we are overwhelmed with a lot of much information leading to confusion and hence, inability to act.
We as Indians are termed as the best marketing folks in the world, due to our ability to speak English and express ourselves. Over the years of experience, I’ve realised that we as Business Owners believe in Sales (Cash flow) and mistake that for marketing. The more we sell, the more money we make, the better the growth. The marketing techniques used earlier (participating in exhibitions) was a costly affair and we would think twice before taking a decision. Many of us couldn’t afford it in the first place. Even for the people who could afford it, didn’t have a clue of their ROI. It was a gamble. It still is.
Like any other technology, the “Digital Disruption” has its pros and cons
The bad part is that we are lost in the midst of so much information. If we don’t become a part of it and make an effort to reach out to the right people in the right way, it is only a matter of time, we would be extinct.
The good part is that, marketing is now a universal tool and everyone has access to it at a low cost. You can calculate your ROI and decide what works for you and what doesn’t.
In today’s age, it is necessary that every business house has to set aside a monthly marketing budget to reach out to their audience. The more people, you reach out to, the higher chances of generating inquiries and hence higher chances of conversions. However, we require the right systems in place to do so. Besides the personal connect, which is essential to close deals, there are systems required to keep your audience engaged even while you sleep. According to me, The top 5 systems for B2B marketing, keeping your customers persona in mind are:
- Content- Ability to create the right content to attract the right target audience.
- Email Marketing- A email marketing system to send your content to the leads list you have to analyse their behaviour to the emails they receive.
- SEO- Search Engines to display rank our presence online.
- Social Media Presence- To be active on Social Media Platforms and engage with the right groups and right people and grow.
- CRM System- To record the leads & prospects from Inbound(Digital) Marketing and Outbound(Direct) Marketing activities to trace your ROI so as to track which system is working for you and where you need to invest more for better results.
With these automated systems in hand, I’m, the pressure of generating leads is going to ease off and doing business wouldn’t be as tough as it seems right now.