67% of the buyer’s journey is now done digitally – 3 ways to deal with this
The statistics are compelling
Research company Sirius Decisions have tracked the journey of today’s buyer. 67% of it is done online.The first course of action for the typical executive (and many others) is an online search.
Let’s put this in the context of the activities of a traditional sales person. The average buyer will simply ignore your phone calls, e-mails and other personal approaches. They are just not interested in using these approaches to build a potential database of vendors and suppliers. When they are ready to start thinking about a purchasing decision they expect to be able to find you online.
This creates a problem for companies that focus on traditional sales activities
If you rely on sales people reaching out to cold prospects the chances are you have not focused on being present online. If you don’t have the right online presence, your prospects will not find you. And if they cannot find you online you probably won’t feature in their purchasing process.
Today’s buyers are more likely to partner with companies that have spent time and resource building a good online presence. The right digital activity will certainly make achieving your sales results much easier.
Here are the three most effective ways to connect with the online buyer.
Create a compelling website
Most online marketing focusses on encouraging a buyer to visit your website. The trouble is that many websites have been created by someone who thinks in terms of traditional sales and marketing. In the printing sector, this means that the website fails to engage prospects.
The average printing website is full of information about the company. It tells people about the company history. It showcases the plant list. It talks about service and quality (and, often, about competitive pricing). It has lots of pictures of printing presses.
This is of little interest to the modern buyer. They don’t understand the printing process and they are rarely interested in learning about it. They engage better with websites that are in the buyers’ world. They want to see a website that talks about the buyers’ challenges and how the company can solve them. They want to see results that a company has created. They like case studies.
Nevertheless, we should remember that, no matter how good your website is, it won’t produce results unless you create traffic for it. That’s where the next strategy comes in.
“Do you need to improve your online presence? Here are three steps” https://t.co/87C7RRegYQ
— Matthew Parker (@PrintChampion) September 19, 2016
Have a regular social media presence
Many printing companies struggle to create a good social media presence. However, many buyers are now using LinkedIn as the first point for their research. They are also engaging with companies regularly on Twitter. These two channels are where I win the majority of my new business.
Printing companies must regularly share content that is of interest to their prospects and customers. This content will often lead buyers to start a conversation when they are ready to buy. It will help them find your website. It can also help people to engage with the next strategy.
Create an online purchasing portal
Let’s be clear: this strategy is not right for everyone. However, this can be an effective way to win business. Many buyers are more comfortable with an online purchasing experience, rather than talking to people.
If you wish to succeed with an online purchasing portal, two elements are key. Firstly, you need to have a highly efficient workflow. Online profit margins do not allow you spend much time processing jobs. You also need great SEO. Buyers are not going to look much further than the first few online searches. A good social media presence to drive further traffic is also very useful.
Here’s proof that an online presence works
I run a supplier management training masterclass for people in the print industry. It is featured on an old website that has no SEO work done on it. I make no effort to promote the course. However, I still receive enquiries from many companies who are interested in booking the course.
Few other people offer this training. I still feature prominently in the online search. That on its own has won me business from some global brands.
Do you need to improve your online presence? Here are three steps
- Review the content on your company website. Could you make it more engaging to buyers?
- Make a commitment to post daily on social media
- Learn how to use social media to drive sales: invest in How To Sell Print Using Social Media
Remember the 67% statistic
If you don’t have a compelling online presence, today’s digital buyer will not find you.
P.S. You can find out more ways to get the best out of your social media activity by downloading the free e-guide below.You’ll also be signed up to “Views from the buyer” where I share tips, stories and resources to do with selling print and social media.