In B2B transactions you need face to face interactions. The bigger the project the more interactions you will need to have with your potential client.
In a research published in Gartner by Barnes and Nova on “Effective Sales Interactions Guide Buyers Forward Through Insights and Added Value”, they identified “Direct Interaction with the Provider” as the primary influencing factor in a buyer’s purchasing decision.
The biggest project which I successfully closed was a multi-million dollar project which took four years to close. This required me to have constant face to face interactions with stakeholders from the project team, governments, politicians, business groups, interest groups and financiers. One of the main reasons that we were successful with this project was because of the relationships that I had cultivated and developed with all the stakeholders throughout the course of the project.
People will only do business with people they know, like and trust.
In B2B and particularly as a lot of transactions these days are initiated online, your online profile is the start of the whole process. Having a profile that demonstrates your authority and shows understanding about your relevant field builds trust in your target audience.
You can define and shape your online profile appropriate to the social media platform that you decide to use for your business. For B2B, my preferred social media platform is LinkedIn. It has more than 6 million mostly professional users in Australia and 347 million globally.
Here are some points to remember when you are creating your profile for B2B.
In business, integrity is everything. I strongly believe that the most important characteristic that you must hold dear in business is your integrity. People will not do business with you if they believe that they cannot trust you.
In writing your profile content, I suggest that you write this from a point of integrity. What I mean by integrity is being honest in your profile about what you can do (Skill) and what you have achieved (Experience). The consequence of being untruthful or embellishing your achievements are real and can be career ending.
In the US, well known comedian Steve Rannazzisi was recently caught lying about his long time claim that he was in the South Tower when the plane struck the North Tower of the World Trade Centre in New York on September 11, 2001. After this revelation, his sponsors are now reviewing their commercial relationship with him and I am sure many of his fans are doing the same thing as well.
Personally, would you really go and see this guy perform now that you know that he has been lying about his involvement in such a tragic and world changing event.
It is important to state in your profile what value or benefit you can bring to your customer’s business. How will your product or service help them? What pain points in their business are you addressing? How can you make their life easier and positively impact their bottom line.
On our LinkedIn profile, this is what I said about our value proposition “We add real value to our clients’ operations and bottom line by delivering efficiencies and measurable B2B Digital Marketing Solutions and customised Outsourcing Services” (relevant words are underlined for emphasis).
So the value proposition that we offer to our clients is we help their business to operate more efficiently, measure the return on their investment and improve their profitability. Keep in mind that you must be able to demonstrate and deliver on whatever value proposition you put forward.
For your business, what real value or benefit do you offer to your clients? Take your time developing your value proposition. You may have to write a number of drafts before you get it in a succinct form that really encapsulates your value proposition.
Sales Proposal Not Resume
When LinkedIn first came out it was resume heaven. People used to just post their resume for their profile. This might work well if you are looking for a job but not if you are trying to attract new clients.
Structure your profile like a sales proposal rather than a resume. Your profile will be a reflection of how people will perceive your product or service.
A persuasive sales proposal generally includes:
- a definition of the challenges faced by your prospective client;
- the solution that you are proposing; and
- the unique benefits that your client will receive from using your service.
You should keep these rules in mind when you are writing your profile.
The more outstanding profiles on LinkedIn give insights to their value proposition, the benefits that they have delivered and the outcomes that they have achieved whether for their employer, business or clients. They further reinforce their profile by linking it to their online sites, garnering endorsements and using presentations, images and videos.
Professional or Personal
Some people prefer to only highlight their professional achievements. Others like to highlight their professional and personal achievements. Others again seem to not mind showcasing their whole personal lives online.
The idea of incorporating your personal highlights in your profile is to gain a level of empathy from your potential clients. How much of your personal achievements you want to include in your profile is really up to you.
Personally, I prefer to focus more on the professional side and highlight what I have achieved and the value we can deliver to our clients.
What’s In It For Your Business
A good solid profile is the start of your B2B marketing and sales process. It helps you to define and position yourself in the minds of your target audience.
Prospective clients these days will normally do a background check on you online before they consider engaging with you. This is where your profile comes in. A solid profile helps you build your initial rapport with prospective clients so that by the time you connect with them for the first time they already will know about you, what you do and what you can offer.