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The Best Business to Business Selling Strategies

Kim Ann Zimmermann, BusinessNewsDaily Contributor

In these still-tight economic times, business owners may be tempted to skimp on promotion, especially when marketing to other businesses. Many just put up a stagnant website and run an occasional ad in an industry trade journal. But experts say successful business-to-business (B2B) marketing needs to provide a steady stream of consistent messages across a number of platforms.

Putting up a website is a good start for reaching other business owners who are potential customers, but it should not be a "once-and-done" approach.

"The best way to reach other businesses is through the Internet, but simply being online is not enough," said Linda Rigano, executive director of strategic services for Thomas Industrial Network, a New York-based firm that specializes in helping smaller industrial companies increase sales.

Be engaging

Just having an online presence isn't enough, though. Your for all small businesses as the volume of their sales funnel varies greatly," said H. David Hennessey, professor of marketing at Babson College in Babson Park, Mass. "For example, a demolition company that focuses on the demolition of large buildings may only need one or two jobs per week to fully utilize their staff and equipment, so they may only need to bid on four to six projects a week. However, a business that provides services to exhibitors at trade shows may need 50 to 60 prospects per week to end up with 15 to 20 customers. To get that volume of prospects, they may need to advertise with the local convention center and possibly purchase names of all exhibitors, which can be reached via direct mail, email or telemarketing."

Hennessey said Quick Response codes are a great way to enhance printed marketing materials with an interactive response.

"They are easy and cost-effective to create. A prospect can scan the bar code that is printed on a direct mail piece with a smartphone and be immediately directed to online content, whether it is a video demonstration, an invitation to sign up for an upcoming event or newsletter, or additional information on your latest product or service."

Getting old-fashioned

Old-fashioned networking should also be a priority when promoting your products and services to other business owners.

"Referrals from colleagues and referrals from service providers are still the top ways that businesses find service providers," said Mike Schultz, president of RAIN Group, a Framingham, Mass.-based sales consulting and training company.

Don't get locked into one particular method of outreach to new and existing business-to-business clients. "Like the old hockey metaphor, don't skate to where the customers are, skate to where they are going to be," Schultz said.


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