It's hard to see where you're going when you're focused on short term priorities and tasks. That's why creating the right growth framework for your business means you need to take a step back, assess the competitive landscape and develop the right strategy based on what you see.
The same is true when creating a B2B digital marketing strategy framework for next year. This blog will present simple process steps that allow you to do a quick online analysis of your digital presence relative to your competition.
Evaluate Your Competitor's B2B Digital Presence
Positioning relative to your competitors is a big part of any business plan or sales growth strategy. With traditional marketing, it was relatively easy to know your regional competitors. These have historically been the company in the next trade show booth or the competitor that provided your newest salesperson or rep.
While it's easy to identify traditional competitors that you have competed against for years, the internet has opened your market up to potential competitors all over the globe. We frequently find B2B companies that have operated profitably in regional markets for decades, but now are seeing stiff competition developing through global competitors that utilize an online B2B marketing strategy. If a global competitor's strategy is positioned properly, they can be a significant threat, even to your legacy customers.
What Are The Signs of a Strong B2B Digital Competitor?
Your first indication may be when sales staff or your manufacturer's reps start to lose deals to a new competitor that they have not previously seen. The buzz may be, "Who is this?" or "Why haven't we heard of them before." Maybe you have not run into them at trade shows or seen an ad from them in industry trade rags.
Your team has worked years to build your company reputation and establish a strong customer base, but this new competitor seems to have appeared out of thin air. Maybe they have even started to grow their sales revenue by winning over a customer or two that you have had for years.
Your sales team is frustrated! How did this new company do this? How can I mitigate the damage?
Does Your Competitor Have a Digital Marketing Strategy Framework?
Your B2B competitor may have an online digital marketing strategy framework that is allowing them to effectively communicate their solution and their offering to your existing customers. Let's be honest. Sometimes your customers get frustrated with your company. It is just too easy now to jump on the internet and look for a different vendor.
Here are 5 steps to help you investigate whether your competitors have invested in building a digital back door - a way for frustrated customers to find an open invitation to hear a sales pitch. Do they have their sales pitch online and available at the exact moment your customer gets frustrated and goes searching the internet for a new vendor? Are the purchasing agents your team works with retiring? Are these trusted relationships being replaced by the next generation that depends on the internet rather than relationships?
5 Steps To Rate Your Online Digital Sales Growth Foundation
Put yourself in a frustrated customer's mindset for a moment. As an example, if your company makes widgets and the quick delivery of those widgets is in the top 2 or 3 issues critical for your industry, then a customer may search for "Quick Delivery of Widgets."
Let’s explore the journey your customer travels by using the following five steps. It is important to note that this complete journey may only take five or ten minutes.
Hint: It's best if you do the following steps using an "incognito" mode or private browsing session to investigate your competitors. This will help mask your identity as a competitor looking into their process.
#1 Search Engine Ranking - Go to your favorite search engine. Search for "Quick Delivery of Widgets." Where do you rank? 98% of people don't go to page 2. Does your competition rank above you? Do you rank at all on page one?
#2 Meta Description - On the search results page for "Quick Delivery of Widgets" you will see several paid ads first, then the page one search results. Do any of the two or three line meta descriptions say anything about “quick delivery?” Odds are if the meta description says something about "quick delivery of widgets" that is the website the frustrated customer will enter. Be honest here, if you knew nothing about the companies that come up, and all the information you had was the meta description, where would you click?
#3 Messaging - Click into the website. Again, playing the role of a frustrated customer, do they see anything about their problem, "Quick Delivery of Widgets"? A website typically has 4 to 5 seconds to acknowledge that "Quick Delivery" is a problem and present a solution.
#4 Top of the Sales Funnel Lead Capture - Is the solution compelling enough for you to want to learn more? Does the website provide helpful ideas that could mitigate the customer's pain? Is this information easy to find? Is there a way for you to provide your contact information and get more helpful information sent to you? If you are willing to give your contact information, you have become a top of the funnel lead.
#5 Bottom of the Sales Funnel "How to Buy" - Is there an obvious "How to Buy" button? Is there an easy way for you to provide information to get a ballpark pricing estimate or talk with sales?
How did your company rate against the competition in these five areas?
Budgeting For Sales Revenue Growth in 2020
What do I do if don't have a winning foundation in place?- Your first simple step is to request a FREE Sneak Peek competitor analysis. An Open Path Strategist will do a high-level evaluation of your positioning relative to a couple of companies that you identify.
Then, we will set up a time where you can learn your competitor's strengths, where your opportunities lie, and how you can budget for and build a Sales Revenue Growth Engine that will increase your sales revenue and provide a strong ROI during your 2020 growth cycle.