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What 2011 hold for B2B sales

By January 25, 2011March 5th, 2013No Comments

2011 is a new animal economically, polititically, and socially. The economic let down of 2009 resulted in cash-rich companies investing in themselves in 2010. In 2011 you can expect to see the maturation of some major movers in terms of three sociological trends that impact sales.

1. Work-life coherence
In 2010 we saw the end of the early adoption phase of a new reality–work/life coherence. You’ve seen the video shorts of multi-tasking college kids Facebooking while taking class notes–well that become the norm at work, too. Factors supporting the work/life coherence ethos include the widespread adoption of iPhones, Droids, and iPads–all devices that invite their users to seamlessly integrate work and play, and make their time richer for it.

What does this mean for businesses selling today? First, realize that now your business message has more competition than ever before. Rather than a sacred 8 to 10 hours of “work” now your customer checks out your email newsletter or your webcast right up against her girlfriend’s Tweet or a Facebook prompt to play a game.

Second, take advantage of it. The work/life coherence shift is here to stay for foreseable marketing cycles, so don’t fight it–take it as an opportunity. What’s playful, entertaining and engaging about your product or service? How can you lead with that more than ever? People are more drawn to authentic and engaging companies. If your company has a shot at being part of the larger context for your customer, you’re in a position to leverage that into a better sales positon. Using video messaging or case studies, Facebook, and Twitter can help you meld more into your customers’ worlds, and become a more trusted advisor. You become more present, more accessible, and more real.

At Write2Market, we’re using video agressively to bring out the real people behind our client’s brands, beefing up Twitter feeds and Facebook followers, engaging bloggers to rave about our clients’ brands, and looking at fun ways to incentivize relationships around the sales cycle. This means more top of mind awareness for our clients and a more pervasive, more profitable presence.

2. Customer participation takes center stage
Sure, the customer’s perspective has always been key to successful marketing–but now you can get it every day. The kind of reactions that companies used to spend tens of thousands of research dollars on can now be had on Facebook for sheer labor cost. So the desire to create with your customer the future you can both enjoy, which has always been a dream, is more of a reality than ever in 2011. The dialogue with individuals is now aggregated and mediated by technology, not think tanks, researchers, or associations “the sovereign individual.” In 2011, W2M is helping our clients put together customer advisory panels that help mediate Facebook and other social media presences. For some clients with especially large groups, we’re developing internal social portals. Our client Dave McMullen, CEO of RedPepper, the agency for challenger brands, has helped their client Kirland’s increase sales AND customer satisfaction by creating their own online community. That’s the future–real, relevant, engaged.

3. Self-publishing superstars
In 2011, again we’ll see the maturation of a trend that was already coming on strong in 2011–the self-publisher eclipsing the traditional publisher in popularity. A lot of development went into self-publishing platforms and marketing options for authors in 2010, notably from Amazon’s CreateSpace as well as Google. The industry has matured to the point that an author can write, design, and develop a strong marketing plan–all it takes is a will for execution. [intlink id=”102″ type=”page”]W2M’s ghostwriting practice[/intlink]¬†for CEOs helps our business clients take advantage of these trends. Just one example–CEO Patty Azzarello, the author of Rise, used W2M to accent her marketing program and landed numerous interviews, lots of social media attention, and top Amazon sales rankings, thanks to her forward thinking. She joins a growing pool of talented CEOs who know how to use traditional outreach (like books) in new ways. “You used to have to wait until you retired to publish your memoir on what you’ve learned and why your company had an advantage,” she says. “Today’s techniques and technology, including relying on partners like Write2Market, means you can get your message in the market next quarter.”

If your company’s leadership or executive team has a unique message, there’s no better time than 2011 to take that industry leadership into a book format. Journalists, conferences and big buyers are still heavily influenced by the commitment represented by a book–meanwhile, the means of making your book happen in a few months time and actually achieve a strong commercial success are finally delivering their promise.(Interested? Get the nitty gritty [intlink id=”102″ type=”page”]here[/intlink].)

These three trends all contribute to a more complex, nuanced buying process where publicity really pays off. Those companies who have invested ahead in social media, Facebook, and Triple A Industry Leadership are well poised for uncommon success in 2011. (More on how PR can make you money? See [intlink id=”1922″ type=”post”]The ROI of Public Relations[/intlink])
-Post written by: Lisa