Indian B2B manufacturers for long have been focused on promoting products rather than solutions. With the advent of technology the market is fast becoming a buyer’s domain than Seller’s. The focus of B2B manufacturers, whether in digital marketing campaigns or participation in exhibitions or cold calling is PRODUCT oriented. Most of these organizations spend huge amount of time in strategizing on how to launch products in market and not on learning about customer requirements.
This article tries to highlight aspects which are least focused by B2B Organizations and solutions for the same.
Problem 1: Number of stakeholders involved in buying cycle: The biggest different between B2B and B2C is the number of stakeholders involved in buying decision process. In B2B scenario people from purchase, quality control, research and quality assurance are involved, while in B2C its mostly impulsive buying. Most B2B buyers often conduct prior reference checks happen at all levels. This also lengthens the sales cycle as B2B manufactures have to ensure all the stakeholders agree to the solution and it has been documented.
Solution: Develop engagement strategy for stakeholders: Indian B2B manufacturers have to develop engagement strategy to solve problems faced by stakeholders rather than promoting products. Also have to focus on customer support, since most buying decisions are based on prior reference checks, having robust customer support can help to help to build word – of – mouth marketing.
Problem 2: Informed Buyers: Most buyers are well informed about B2B Manufacturing Company, before floating enquiry for product. Most buyers often conduct prior research about the B2B Manufacturer, its clients, range of products and background reference checks from clients. The sales team is most often unaware about this research.
Solution: It is important for sales team to constantly engage with stakeholders, since this would help them to be a part of the research process and influence buying decisions. The engagement can work on two simultaneous levels regular discussion meetings to understand any issues they face in their current production and content marketing on social media for regular online chats.
Problem 3: Investing without researching: It has been observed most B2B manufacturers invest without venturing in research for launching new category of products, advertising or marketing. Most decisions are based on gut instinct and experience, which often results in losses. Research for most B2B organizations is just focusing in Google results, which is often influenced due to SEO.
Solution: Research has to be conducted from established agencies with proper focus on expected outcome and what decisions will be taken based on the outcome. There are different types of research agencies who work on collaborative report to reduce the cost of research for a single company. This same should be applicable when venturing for advertising or launching a new office.
Problem 4: Rise of social search engines: Last 10 years have seen immense growth in social media, search engine, smart phones and internet. All this has fueled profound implication on how a company strategizes its marketing and communications. Internationally most B2B manufacturers have embraced social media, but in India, they haven’t even begun. For B2B manufacturers, having website and accounts on Indiamart and Tradeindia is end of the story for digital marketing. And strategy is focused on getting enquiries for products not on engagement. The digital transformation resulted in buyers’ market, rather than sellers, now the buyer decides what they want, how they want, when they want and their terms.
Solution: To succeed in buyers’ market B2B manufacturers have to research and redefine their strategy. The strategy should focus on engagement online as well as offline, to influence the buying decisions. Campaigns can be focused on training the stakeholders on how to solve issues related to problems arising in production, product demo sessions, regular newsletters informing on new developments in technology and research, regular webcasts on social media websites, ensuring presence in media, etc. Involving customer support team for regular site visits, not just when the client requires, even when they don’t require helps to build confidence and trust for word – of – mouth marketing.
Problem 5: Technology: Indian B2B companies’ dependability technology is mediocre, except for investment for managing finance through Tally; they hardly invest to create a robust platform for observing sales trends. When most companies, especially their clients shifted to SAP or ERP, these companies hardly spend on implementing technology. The sales team still drafts quotations using excel or word and keep track on follow – ups using spreadsheet. With cloud model of CRM the biggest fear of Indian B2B manufacturers is that data will be hacked or stolen.
Solution: B2B manufacturers have to venture in technology in all aspects of business processes. It is a need of the hour for B2B organizations to implement CRM for managing sales cycle and ERP for other internal departments. Having a robust technology will help in getting analytics and trend of finance and purchase, while CRM would offer insights for sales and marketing team. Having cloud model of CRM is better than having no CRM as tracking of sales data is much easier.
Indian B2B Manufacturing companies have to invest in business process re – engineering to re define their vision. Lack of vision has been the biggest drawback for growth.