Tuesday, September 30, 2014
During last years, we have experienced a dramatic change in buying behavior, including: the customer‘s desire to control the buying experience, preference for anonymity & self-service and decrease in trust of sales professionals. Those changes have signficiantly impacted ERP marketing and selling motions.
How do these changes in buyer behavior impact your marketing practices? There are 5 key marketing tactics you can’t afford to ignore when selling and marketing Cloud Solutions.
1. Self-Service Rules!
In today’s plugged-in world, customers prefer information to be provided on a self-service basis. Buyers research is independent and not assisted. They make decisions based on the information and resources you provide on your website and the impression you’ve left them with. Give your customers the opportunity to find all answers for themselves and access your solutions through trial engines to help them fulfill their self-service desires.
We live in the information era, so don’t be afraid to be generous with information you provide. Gates (forms) are enemy of spreading information. If you think you already have too much information, you don‘t. Expectations for information from customers are still on the rise. Cloud service providers that understand this and can deliver will be rewarded with more interest and leads.
2. Content is Vital
Content is the foundation of everything we do in marketing. Hence the well-worn idiom, “content is king“. Today, content needs are more critical since we must supply content for the different types of buyers involved in the sale. Each decision marker is looking for something different. They need content that is meant to be shared, relevant and timely.
Create content that answers all questions that a potential buyer may have at every single step in the buying process. Actually, the best marketing is when it answers customers’ questions even before the question has arisen in their minds. Marketing and sales should work closely together to create content that serves to overcome all customers objections.
Bear in mind, that different people have different preferences on how they want to consume content. They want a variety of content through different mediums (e.g. videos, blogs, social, etc.). Lastly, don’t forget, that content is just…content, unless it’s driving behavioral change in your customers, in which case that means it is highly useful to your customers.
3. Be Highly Useful
Your customers want to know what your company knows, not what you sell. This sounds crude, but your customers don’t care about you and your products. They care about themselves and their needs.
Customers only need sales-related content (e.g. sales factsheets) at a very particular moment in the sales process, which means when your prospect is ready to buy. Which means, you need different kind of content for the top and middle of your funnel.
Nowadays customers are bombarded with hundreds of marketing messages per day, which makes them highly selective. How do you stand out in this information-saturated world? Be highly useful. Try to focus on your customer pains and needs, not you in your marketing. Try to establish a two-way conversation instead of monologue.
4. Be Easily Found, Not Just on Google
Buyers use search. No surprise there. We all use search to find everything from a new restaurant to a new software system, so it’s very important to show up for your relevant keywords. But do not forget other search options, not just the primary search engines of Google and Bing.
Believe or not, but in the last few years the role of search engines in locating websites has declined. How can it be? The reality is that during last few years there has been a massive increase in the number of other places we can get website suggestions like social media, question-answering sites like Quora and/or Youtube. Well, the search funnel is no longer dominated by Google.
Are you easily found outside of Google? Can your ideal prospect in craft breweries, in electrical distribution and in process food manufacturing find you? And are you immediately responsive when they finally decide to contact you?
5. Social media Presence is a MUST
Why should you invest your marketing efforts in social media? First, prospects are leveraging social media and their informal ecosystems to validate vendor and partner claims. They prefer to hear 3rd party/peer opinion that usually happens through social network when making a buying decision.
Second, when you have content you have to share it in as many places as possible, in some cases social can have the greatest reach. You should centralize your content, placing it on the platform you own (e.g. website or blog), but also decentralize it in order to enable a further reach.
Important! - Your content marketing strategy should always come before your social media strategy. A enormous mistake made by many organizations is that companies start social activities on Twitter or Facebook, instead of first focusing on what goes in those channels. Social without content is one-legged stool.
Even more important! - Social requires an immediate reaction to customers’ response. It is like the social telephone you must answer as soon as it rings to defend your reputation in every case.
These are 5 marketing tactics you should add to your cloud marketing strategy immediately to start selling more cloud solutions. Stay tuned to our blog for more practical advice on cloud-base marketing strategies.