Taking advantage of business-to-business (B2B) sales opportunities is important to the bottom line for a growing number of companies. With a lingering recession and high unemployment figures in the background, businesses of all sizes are allocating additional time and resources to their B2B communication activities. This marketing approach can be even more effective by adding two common-sense strategies:
- Improved B2B Negotiations
- Improved Business Writing
However, many companies overlook these prudent steps in their rush to make a sale.
Negotiating Delivery Terms and Prices
While many business owners dislike negotiating, the negotiation process should not be overlooked during the B2B sales cycle. "Everything is negotiable" can be a helpful reminder to negotiate the best financial terms even when a customer appears unwilling to be flexible.
In addition to applying this strategy to a pending sale, companies should be equally attentive to the value of negotiating when buying from a supplier. As noted by Roger Dawson, "You will never make more money than when you are negotiating."
Improving the Bottom Line for Business Writing
Most business executives are eagerly searching for a more effective way to tap into the world of internet sales and marketing. In many cases, the most straightforward approach to do this is to improve the quality of online business writing. Why? Here are two inescapable reasons:
- Google and other search engines are increasingly becoming more discriminating about what passes muster in search algorithms.
- Business customers frequently use a company's written message as a proxy for judging the overall excellence of a business enterprise.
A high percentage of contemporary online business publishing content was produced at the whopping expense of one to five cents per word by some thrifty business buyers observing a "lowest bidder" mentality. Should business owners really expect this approach to put their best foot forward for either smart search engines or smart customers?
The Bottom Line Keeps Moving
The power of search engines to influence internet users is still evolving. The roles of keywords, images and unique text in search algorithms are changing. What worked 10 years ago is not necessarily a viable strategy today.
The costs of operating any business are subject to constant review. Business writing clients regularly attempt to improve the bottom line with improved efficiencies for writing expenditures. Marketing and public relations are not immune from budget cuts. Business writing costs must be scrutinized along with all labor expenses. Persuasive business writing increasingly needs to be cost-effective as well.
However, common sense suggests that there are practical limits to what B2B marketing can achieve when too much attention is devoted to keeping business writing expenses throttled at prices that preclude consistent quality. What does anyone realistically hope to achieve when attempting to buy a high-quality commodity for between a penny and a nickel per word? Of course, discerning search engines and customers will not be fooled - and will often punish companies that try to sacrifice quality at the expense of unsuspecting clients.
The Need for Expert Solutions: Business Negotiating and Business Writing
The increased value of expert solutions poses a serious challenge for businesses everywhere. The working definitions of expertise are a moving target - but are qualified expert negotiators and writers likely to be consistently available at the same price as unqualified personnel?
The jury is still out on the impact of social media, but popularity appears to be an inadequate proxy for either writing or negotiating expertise. The importance of internet visitors and keyword density has been superseded by a need to supply specialized answers and help. This quality shift deserves applause by everyone in the internet and B2B community.
Stephen Bush is a B2B marketing consultant and business writing expert who works with small businesses throughout the United States and Canada. He has provided specialized help involving business negotiating, commercial financing and proposal writing for over 30 years. Please contact Steve to discuss career training services for individuals interested in pursuing careers as a small business finance consultant or referral specialist. Steve is the founder and CEO of AEX Commercial Financing Group.
By Stephen Bush