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Can Social Media Help B2B Sales? Vertical Marketing (Wimborne) Uses SM Platforms To Shorten Procurement Cycle (October 11, 2011)
DMN Newswire--2011-10-11--For many in the world of B2B, social media platforms are seen as marginally effective, at best. The usual remark from directors is, ?I dont see how Facebook or Twitter can help increase business. Fair comment. But after 23 years as a PR/marketing agency for technically-oriented companies, Vertical Marketing (Wimborne) has seen a lot of things come and go; and this time around, the specialist agency believes that social media just might be a lifeline and a boon for B2B.

?Over the past few years, traditional marketing outlets, magazines, trade shows, for example, have lost some of their clout, explains Paul Barlow, MD of Vertical. ?As marketers, its been difficult to find and to cost-effectively reach new ?communities of customers that were once easily approached through the trade press. Then add the expanded global nature of many businesses. How do you get your message to potential customers in India, Brazil? Social media platforms might be ideal solutions: theyre inexpensive, easily targeted, easily adapted from campaign to campaign and ubiquitous in just about every corner of the world.

But how to use these platforms effectively for B2B becomes the question. Can Facebook and Twitter, the two icons of social media, help increase sales?

?First, there are many more social media platforms than Facebook and Twitter, from YouTube channels to SlideShare to LinkedIn, for a start, says Barlow. ?Second, although the term ?social media can be off putting to many CEOs, we keep in mind that theres nothing more social than doing business. SM platforms, intelligently combined with traditional media, give us and our clients new weapons, if you like, in the battle for market presence and thought leadership, and new tools to deliver the technical solutions and support distributors and end users require.

The ultimate goal of all marketing is sales, conversion, moving the bottom line. So for B2B companies that means making your way through the often-prolonged procurement cycle, which can take anywhere from six months to two years or more (for those working with the military). At each stage of the cycle, particular information is needed by specific people to move the decision process forward. Engineers need data that CFOs dont but both must be satisfied if the sale is to be made.

Heres where social media can work for B2B marketers.

But first, its important to understand the expectations of todays customer: expectations that have dramatically changed. Customers expect to have access to the information they want, and only that information, when they want it; and thats a level of personalization, pioneered by the likes of Amazon, thats the hallmark of todays customer relationships. Companies cannot afford to disappoint.

?Sending financial people technical data about how to apply conformal coating is not only useless, its now seen as a sign that youve not paid enough attention to the customer, you havent done your homework, so to speak, says Barlow.

?Selecting the best platforms from traditional and digital options, those that allow you to target specific groups to seamlessly deliver the information into various stages of the decision making process speeds the procurement cycle and demonstrates to clients an understanding of their needs.

Simply put, the best way to complete the sale is to deliver the right information at the right time to the right person. Full stop.

And while many B2B marcomms directors might not fully grasp the value of social media, or traditional media, for that matter, they can understand the value of taking a 15-month procurement cycle and shortening it to, say, 12 months.

?Thats really the goal we set for our social media efforts, says Verticals MD, ?to help clients sell more for less expense and at a faster rate, while improving the experience for customers. This is not an easy task; but businesses, in general, and marketing, in particular, have never been easy, have they? Well use anything and everything available to help our clients. Its our job take; we take it very seriously.

About Vertical Marketing Ltd.
Vertical Marketing Ltd. (Wimborne) offers intelligent strategic and marketing communications services to B2B technology companies, be it electronics manufacturing or components, renewable energy or aerospace, wire and cable or military, security or specialty coatings. Vertical uses its knowledge, creativity and 23-plus years of B2B experience to develop intelligent 360 marketing strategies that make sense for each of our business-to-business, technology-oriented clients.
In every case, Vertical offers customised strategies with powerful flexibility so clients can quickly adapt their efforts from product to product, region to region, customer to customer, all backed by meaningful metrics and optimum return on investment (ROI).

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Related Keywords:Marketing, Sales, Social, Media, Precurement Cycle, Advertising, B2B

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