Every company’s ultimate goal is financial success (a.k.a. profitability) but many find it difficult to maintain, especially when their product or service has a lengthy sales cycle, writes Jennifer Nagy.
Here are three ways that a B2B business can shorten their sales cycle:
1. Educate potential customers
The first step in the customer buying cycle is ‘need recognition’, in which the potential customer decides that they need to find a solution to address a specific problem that they are experiencing. Although some customers might already know about the solution that exists, most potential customers will have little to no knowledge about the variety of options available to them. Without proper understanding of the need that the offering fulfils and the specific benefits that a property can expect to achieve using the product or service, closing the sale will be next to impossible.
This is your opportunity to educate potential clients about the issue (that your company’s solution solves), including why it happens, how it can be prevented, and possible solutions that will eliminate the issue. Keep in mind that this is not the time to sell your product or service specifically; instead, provide a high-level overview of the issue and the available solutions on the market. By being the company who provides educational, unbiased information about ALL of the possible solutions, a potential client is more likely to trust your company – and therefore, is more likely to select you as their service provider.
2. Increase brand awareness
Brand awareness is a key component of a successful sales strategy. Once a customer has determined that they have a need, they will first consider any companies that they know of that provide the necessary product or service (before undertaking research into the other companies offering similar services). Of course, that means that if your company has good brand awareness with decision-makers at hotels, you will receive more warm leads (a.k.a. opportunities to sell).
As well as increasing the number of leads that your company receives, a potential customer’s prior knowledge of the company will be advantageous during the final decision-making process. Most potential customers value a company with a strong reputation and a familiar product/service more greatly, than an unknown company.
3. Build credibility in the industry
It is important that potential customers have a favourable impression of your company. By continuing to provide a high-quality product or service to every customer, publicizing your company’s good news and executing a strong brand awareness campaign, your B2B company will be able to positively influence the credibility that your company has in the minds’ of potential customers.
So, how do you go about implementing the above?
Public relations (PR) and content marketing are the most effective marketing tactics available to educate potential customers, grow brand awareness and build credibility within the industry. Using PR, a company pitches stories and information to journalists about their company, product or service, in an attempt to secure editorial coverage. For example, a B2B company that has created a brand new RMS could contact trade journalists to let them know about the new operational trend that the RMS will create in the industry (because the tech will completely change how hotels execute revenue management going forward).
Content marketing is a marketing tactic in which a company creates and distributes educational, engaging content with the purpose of driving action. This content can be shared via a variety of mediums, such as on the company blog, through social media, in email newsletters sent out to the company’s marketing list, reprinted in notable online trade publications, such as Tourism Tattler. With content marketing, the more people who read the content, the greater the credibility and brand awareness that the company will create in the minds’ of potential customers.
Ideally, the two tactics should be implemented on an ongoing basis using consistent messaging to ensure a significant increase in the company’s credibility with potential customers and increase brand and product awareness, which will result in a shorter sales cycle, more leads and eventually, greater revenue.
Editor’s note: To ensure that your PR practitioners content gets published, budget for advertising support. PR company’s are good at writing engaging content and rely on media publishers to distribute this to their readers. The two go hand-in-hand – good content supported with strong visual brand awareness equals lead generation.
About the author: Jennifer Nagy is the President of JLNPR, a full-service public relations and marketing agency that lives and breathes all facets of the travel technology industry. From online travel agencies to revenue management systems, tablet-based aviation automation solutions to IFE technology, hotels to airlines and everything in between, JLNPR uses our knowledge and experience to get your B2B travel technology company noticed by media, influencers and potential customers. For more info visit www.jlnpr.com or contact Jennifer at firstname.lastname@example.org/em>