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For companies active in the B2B business it will be ever more difficult to conduct acquisition successfully with the instruments available to them in the past.
The reason being the currently changing customer structures which the B2B sales teams, e.g., of private radio stations, consistently confront. Because many small companies, in this case advertising clients, are taken over by larger companies, independent operations merge with franchise chains, and more and more SMEs are working with agencies and other intermediaries. To put it in a nutshell: the trends that can be seen on the B2B market definitely tend to concentration.
As a result of this development, the number of decision points, particularly at the local and regional level, is decreasing which poses new challenges for sales and marketing departments with a regional focus: namely, the inability to reach decision-makers locally. And, those who are able to be reached demand the utmost from their contacts in terms of know-how. They also expect excellent knowledge of markets, industries and customers which is increasing the demand for key account managers on the provider side.
Customers have become much more independent today and at the same time are exceedingly well-informed. More and more frequently they are making their purchasing decisions without preliminary discussions with the provider’s sales representatives, in our case, the radio station. Market transparency has increased greatly thanks to digital sales channels and gives customers the information they need about offerings and prices even before the initial contact and lets them define their own needs, including possible solutions themselves. Virtually every buying journey starts today on the customer’s side on the internet. In addition, many products and services can also be purchased digitally in the B2B segment entirely without human contact. This decreases the potential influence sales teams have on the definition of requirements.
Darüber hinaus hat sich der Wettbewerb im Mediengeschäft erhöht. Neue Mitbewerbende mit disruptiven, oft digitalen Geschäftsmodellen beeinflussen die Vertriebsstrukturen. Datengesteuerte Unternehmen bieten neue Geschäftsmodelle an und konzentrieren sich auf andere Teile der Wertschöpfungskette. Bestimmte Marktketten werden dadurch außer Kraft gesetzt, z. B. auf digitalen Werbehandelsplätzen Agenturen und etablierte Vermarktungsorganisationen umgangen.
The COVID-19 pandemic has further accelerated digitization and made personal access to decision-makers more difficult due to so many working in home office and virtual instead of personal meetings.
Traditional forms of acquisition, such as analog cold calling no longer seem necessarily to be in keeping with the times in this situation. Using digital channels intensively would lend itself as a solution for sales combined with a content strategy that creates additional value. To generate financially strong buyer groups systematically and corresponding contacts, it is not just the selecting the right channel that is important. Rather potential customers must be addressed directly preferably by a targeted digital presence and provided with information that is truly relevant.
"Companies ought to go with their acquisition activities to where the customer is – in the digital space." (Matthias Giebel, Julia Schober and Marcel Gehner, B+P Consultants) (Matthias Giebel, Julia Schober und Marcel Gehner, B+P Consultants)
Only early targeted communication on digital channels with the desired target groups can ensure that providers can influence the buying journey and all buyer personas.
The first step is to define strategically relevant topics such as product launches or new target markets. This is followed by an analysis of the typical customer journey from the initial virtual contact to a company to the start of cooperation.
All possible target groups that can influence a possible purchase decision must be analyzed and described. It is especially important to evaluate where or through which digital channel or which channels the respective target group is best reached. Do they prefer a more classic web presence or social media? Facebook, Instagram and co. or rather business networks like LinkedIn or XING? Who is easily reached by SEO or email marketing? Are there any suitable marketplaces that our target groups orientate themselves to? Which virtual conferences are suitable for lectures, statements and contributions?
A close connection between marketing and sales can be helpful in this context. While marketing is responsible for selecting the channels and campaigns, sales is in charge of content, specifically for collecting engaging topics.
In this context, the following questions help:
- What are the market trends?
- What problems and challenges are our target groups currently dealing with?
- What solutions do we offer for them?
- What arguments speak in favor of our solutions?
- What offerings cover which challenge facing our customers?
- What expert knowledge and trends are of interest to them?
- Which white papers or videos could they need?
From the analysis of target groups and selection of appropriate channels and content emerges ultimately a plan for digital acquisition of new customers with various campaigns for different target groups and generally also a realignment of the web presence.
Relevant content for one’s target groups is the key to success here. Only when a provider, in our case the radio station, becomes a "virtual" counterpart for potential advertising clients on a level playing field, that provider will then be included in the relevant set of potential customers. This is when contact points are yielded. This can be achieved, among other ways, by the provider presenting attractive solutions for the requirements and challenges on his homepage, for example, cross-media campaigns.
All conceivable touch points should of course continue to be attended to optimally, including also those that are non-digital such as events, trade fairs, calls, advertising mail / commercials, sales materials or visits to companies.
Eva-Susanne Krah of Sales Excellence (a business journal from Springer Professional) entitled an article in April 2022 on this subject with the sentence: "Those who aren’t visible don’t exist." I would go further: Eva-Susanne Krah of Sales Excellence (a business journal from Springer Professional) entitled an article in April 2022 on this subject with the sentence: "Those who aren’t visible don’t exist." I would go further: "Those who aren’t visible in the digital world, do not exist!" digital nicht sichtbar ist, existiert nicht!”
Smaller, classic audio marketing organizations in particular have even more development potential here. My recommendation: they should build on the individual wealth of experience of their generally small but excellent sales teams in regard to social communication with customers by adding a digital new customer acquisition strategy based on highly relevant content.
Yours, Andrea Anders
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