2012 February

Managers Guide to SEO – Part 1

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Business buyers as well as consumers search online when looking for a product or service. 85% of these buyers find what they want via a search engine. If they can’t find you they will buy from a competitor.

We think it is useful for any business manager to have at least a rough idea of how search engines work and how they can be used to benefit your company. This is Part 1 of a planned 3 part guide to search engine optimization (SEO) aimed at managers and executives who want an overview. In this first part we explain why online search is so important and why understanding the basics of how search engines work could help your business.

Written by Michael White

Michael White is co-founder and Managing Director of Motarme, the Marketing Automation vendor. You can find him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Value Propositions II – Using your NOSE

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As pointed out by Tom Sant, if you can’t establish that you deliver superior value then the customer will choose based on price.  In a previous post, “Value Propositions – what you do, why it’s important, how you do it” I reviewed articles from the Harvard Business Review, Forrester Research and other sources that discussed how to prepare your value proposition. Since writing that post we have started to use Tom Sant’s NOSE framework.  It’s a simple approach to help you develop a compelling proposition focused on your customers’ needs.

Can you describe the value you deliver to customers? Is it sufficiently different from what your competitors do?  Can you persuade prospects that you are their best choice?  Understanding how to communicate your value proposition is essential for generating leads and acquiring new customers.  For online marketers, you have to communicate the value to a web visitor in a few seconds or they may leave your site.  For B2B sales teams, you have to describe a convincing value proposition in your sales proposals or you won’t win the deal. Read More

How Much Time Do You Have To Respond To Sales Leads?

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Web lead response times

Web lead response times – source: www.hbr.org

Time is money.

I was asked by a client at a business-to-business technology firm last week how quickly you should respond to a web-generated sales enquiry? My answer is “as quickly as you can, definitely within 24 hours or less”. An MIT study, discussed below, shows that companies that respond fastest to web leads make more sales.

My answer was based on a 2007 study called “How much  time do you have before web-generated leads go cold?” prepared by James Oldroyd of MIT (and previously at Kellogg University) and David Elkington of Insidesales.com.  Prof. Oldroyd carried out a Lead Response Management survey while at Kellogg and a second survey while at MIT and he published an update on the research in March 2011 with the Harvard Business Review (see “The short life of online sales leads”).  Then InsideSales delivered a joint webinar on the research with B2B Lead Blog in July 2011, “Research from Harvard, MIT Pinpoints Hard Lead Conversion Lessons with Easy Solutions”. Read More

Business Buyers are Acting More Like Consumers – Report

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Business-to-business (B2B) buyers are acting more like consumers, according to a new report. The white paper “The New BtoB Path to Purchase” summarizes the results of the DemandGenReport ‘Inside the Mind of the Buyer Survey’, which polled over 230 business buyers and got some interesting results.
• 83% of the B2B buyers surveyed said they start their purchase process with informal research
• 41% said they engaged with a sales representative only after their own initial research was conducted
• 25% said they engaged with sales after a preferred list of vendors was established
• 53% of small businesses said their first contact was made with the supplier sales team only when they asked that supplier for information via their website
• Less than 7% of buyers said they connected with vendors via a cold call
• 41% said they contacted the product or solution vendor directly themselves Read More

How B2B Companies Can Use the Web to Generate Sales

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A short explanation of how Business-to-Business companies can use the web to generate sales and revenue. Most B2B vendor selections now start on the web. Procurement team members search for suppliers, for information about product categories, for case studies and reports. You can use this new buyer behaviour to ensure potential customers find you when they start looking for your kind of product or service. You can use digital marketing tools like search engine optimization, pay-per-click ads, email and social media to bring the right kind of visitors to your website. Once they are on your site you can offer high quality content in exchange for their basic contact details. This enables you to take the first tentative steps in what is usually a multi-stage interaction over a course of weeks or months, your goal being to persuade them that you are their best choice.

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