I have been reading a bit about how the last two years have been marked by change in the industrial/B2B/SME marketplace and how our websites should help potential customers through their research and selection process with perhaps a zoom call occasionally with a salesperson to iron out any problems.
Really? Hasn’t it always been the case that customers want the quickest route to identifying a solution to their purchasing questions? What is clear is that instead of interrogating a catalogue and a sales rep or telesales today the process is much shorter. People are less receptive to speculative calls – actually, most are unreachable since they are working at home with their phones off. This means that the old role of the sales rep no longer includes seeking out new business – they are now needed to follow up when invited or to present an onsite presence in sorting out detailed specifications or dealing with problems.
The front end conclusion, therefore, is that it is ever more important for suppliers to get their online profile in front of engineers seeking products and processes, and that means appearing on page one of your favourite search engine organic results – unless you want to pay, which is also an option, but probably more difficult and expensive than it appears.
Which brings us to the world of Press Relations (PR) and Social Media – frequently dismissed (perhaps because of old prejudices) but actually one of the few ways where we can present design and production engineers with a steady flow of useful or even valuable information that helps them to resolve their questions. We do this by joining the established media flow which presents a steady and timely data stream from suppliers to customers – a communication channel including the web and print media. When our clients stand out in this channel their website traffic and RFQs increase – also giving an opportunity for an interpersonal sales discussion. The process hasn’t really changed but the emphasis has, making PR and Social Media so much more important to the whole industrial marketplace.
Critical to this information flow is the presence of an established and respected trade and tech media in the shape of proactive publishing houses that address the many niches that exist.