One Mistake Can Destroy Your Online B2B Strategy


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Eoin is moving for the second time in a few months and he’s not happy about it. Especially when letting agent failures remind him of the importance of an effective and unified online strategy.

Moving can be stressful. You develop an overwhelming obsession with cardboard boxes, discover that you really are quite attached to that broken tin opener that you thought you could throw away and, of course, you have to deal with a lot of businesses. You have to call phone companies, electricity, broadband and, before all that, letting agents. Which is the stage I’m at in my current move.

It’s also the stage where I encountered a few online locations that follow the online B2B strategies we work on with our clients. When you set out to build an online platform, you pull together a lot of business functions that normally operate independently of one another. Sure, your sales, marketing and customer service functions will interact but they very much work to their own remit in their offline activities. However as soon as you create an online presence, you’re asking prospects and client to interact with all of those functions in one place and often at the same time.

If one of those functions fails offline, there’s still an opportunity for the other functions to recover the situation. Effective marketing can rebuild bridges after a bad customer service experience and good sales people can make up for an error in marketing content. Online, where decision-time is shorter and rival brands are a mere click away; if one function fails, the others will lose out too.

Losing Business In Four Words

Let me explain what I mean. I’m looking to rent a new property, so I went online and found a few that I thought were suitable then fired off a mail to the agents involved. Each of the answers varied in wording, but they all had the same thrust, ‘no’. Not even, ‘sorry, no’, just ‘no’. They used more words, but they meant ‘no’. The worst was a mail that contained only four words “that property is rented”.

That’s the one that got me thinking about online B2B strategy. The agent in question had done a good job in advertising their services. I found a property I wanted to rent. I liked the images and thought it sounded like somewhere I’d like to live. They also got their conversion points working, I was able to send a mail with one click and a little typing. That’s exactly the kind of online sales and marketing we like to see; good content with an easy conversion.

Imagine your own online presence working that easily. Your ideal client searches for your service, they find it and they send a mail looking for more information. What is the only wrong answer to that question? ‘No.’

But that’s the answer I got. Despite the fact that I had told this agent that I need their services, I outlined my needs briefly and confirmed a timeframe, they never suggested an alternative. They didn’t ask me for more information or offer some form of consultation. They just said no.

Online B2B Strategy In Three Rules

All of their effective online marketing, their engaging content and strong use of conversion points wasted by one email. Even if they didn’t have a natural alternative, an automated mail that said they’d keep an eye out and let me know, would have been better. In fact it would have given them an opportunity to market directly to me.

As you can probably guess, I’m not happy about this. I went from a keen prospect to a detractor in four words. While it’s not quite the same market it provides the perfect illustration of the simple mistakes that can derail an online B2B strategy. If your sales or customer service team give that kind of closed response to an enquiry it doesn’t just end the query, it ends the relationship.

Besides a headache and a bad mood, this story also left me with three things to remember for any online B2B strategy.

  1. Every query is a sales opportunity.
  2. Online Marketing/Sales/Customer Service is all the same thing, they rely on each other every step of the way
  3. Don’t be fooled, online and offline queries carry the same importance and need to get the same high-quality response

That last point encapsulates this whole issue. Do you think they would have given me the same answer if I walked in to the office and asked the question? In four words, “the answer is no”.

Following these rules will help you to improve your current B2B strategy, finding your own blue ocean strategy could take your business to the next level. Download our free whitepaper to find out more.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Eoin Keenan
Media and Content Manager at Silicon Cloud. We help businesses to drive leads and build customer relationships through online marketing and social media. I blog mainly about social media & marketing, with some tech thrown in for good measure. All thoughts come filtered through other lives in finance, ecommerce, customer service and journalism.


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