Once a business has reached a certain stage of maturity, attention inevitably turns away from accepting any kind of job as it begins setting its sights on the most lucrative work, often the type procured by larger organisations.
If you run a B2B company such as a manufacturing or engineering firm, that kind of work may well come through word-of-mouth referrals, or traditional outbound business development. Both are proven ways of generating business, but they are notoriously hard to predict. In the case of outbound business development, it is also extremely labour intensive.
Outbound business development relies on sustained efforts to overcome gatekeepers and build relationships with key decision-makers who may have no immediate need for what you do.
The ideal scenario for any business is to complement outbound sales activity with inbound lead generation that encourages a steady stream of prospects to contact you. It goes without saying, the deeper the pockets and more exciting the work those prospects have to offer, the better.
But how do you get the attention of these high-value prospects and what would motivate them to contact you, rather than any of your competitors? Well, to understand that, you need to understand the inbound B2B buying process.
The inbound B2B buying process is significantly different from a traditional outbound sales process because everything operates on the buyers’ terms. The buyer chooses who to shortlist and the buyer chooses who to contact.
The inbound B2B buying process follows 4 steps: Searching, Filtering, Assessing and Selecting. The way that you influence these steps to your advantage is through leveraging the power of your brand.
A carefully constructed brand will help you to: be visible in the right locations when buyers are Searching; make sure you are a natural choice for further consideration during the Filtering process; give you the tools to survive the rigours of the Assessing process, and give elevate your perceived value when the buyer comes to Selecting who to work with.
If you want to generate more inbound leads, then focus on your brand first. Without that, you will forever be on the back foot.