How often did we hear this question in the last three years? Marketers, sales(wo)men and many C-Level’s in the B2B space have asked the question many times in seminars. I am quite happy to have found a study that actually gives some insight in a quite complex business topic.
According to a Demandbase National Marketing and Sales Study in cooperation with Focus, the company corporate website is the top source of new sales leads for consumers. The corporate website still is the primary hub to harness customer interest driven by outbound online marketing activities. However, it is only second to personal connections and referrals. Nevertheless, more than seven times more effective than social media which speaks a clear language, right…? Well, what if referrals lead to websites via Social Media?
Executives see the website as the top online source of sales leads (23%), followed by email (14%), online advertising (7%), and finally… social media (3%). What sounds as a clear message, is more a blur. The most important factor for measuring website effectiveness is the quality of leads generated (34% vs. quantity 9%). However, nearly one-half of executives surveyed do not know where users are most likely to leave their website.
Another interesting thing is that study participants stated that the website still vastly underperforms in terms of lead generation. Although companies think they understand their sales prospects (over 60% respond knowing or understanding their prospects well), driving sales leads is still a big challenge for them. 80% of the respondents said the corporate website is not performing to its maximum lead generation.
Did you ever ask yourself how a consumer found your website? Can a website alone be enough to generate quality sales leads? What is the key to generating more leads from the web? Is it the website only? Well, once your website is ready to attract customers, it needs to get traction.
Often in the last weeks, we came across one of the main effort to get there: content generation. What makes search engines to drive (potential) customers back to your website? Content. And often marketers say: “We have tons of content! Why is no one coming back?” The answers is easy: Content needs some systematic approach, and that can best be achieved with inbound marketing. And that’s were Social Media comes into the game. So, the website alone is not the answer to lead generation.
“Social media may be heralded as the silver bullet to bring B2B marketing up to snuff but, despite its increasing influence, it’s important to keep in mind that no business sale is made without the buyer going to the corporate website first. Regardless of its origin–social media or e-mail, banners or search–traffic driven from online marketing initiatives always intersects at the website. And, while businesses are investing heavily in their sites, the study shows that they are then ignoring the very audience they worked so hard to attract.” Chris Golec, CEO, Demandbase
The study shows that there is a lack of understanding how to optimize and generate new sales leads and demand generation. Analyzing websites and drawing the right conclusions from site performance and the clients’ brand journey experience is what needs to be elaborated on. Obviously, many marketers still have “better things to do” or not the time to verify the back-end. Marketers need to understand that their web strategy should be focusing on connecting website experience and the brand journey towards it. This in the future will be mainly driven through inbound activities that could find a catalyst in referals. Companies just need to elaborate on the interconnection between website and Social Media. That’s where the answer to lead generation is hidden…
Don’t you agree…?
Many companies ask themselves if social commerce ist he next big thing and what impact it might have on the buying process of consumers. Let me give you two examples to think about social commerce visions with two of the latest studies that I came across in the last two days.
An optimistic view…
The E-Tailing Group Inc., sponsored by PowerReviews, finds in a research that one in two respondents say they spend 75% of their overall shopping time researching for products (compared to 21% last year). Customer reviews have the biggest impact on the decision to buy: 90% respond reviews have an impact on their decision; 60% say they’re the most important factor.
The report The 2011 Social Shopping Study finds that 29% of shoppers are turning to social networks to research products. However, only 18% of retailers in The E-tailing Group’s annual mystery shopping survey in the fourth quarter of 2010 feature customer reviews on their Facebook pages.
“People are willing to take the time to do research,” she says. “They will do anything to find the right price. (…) Social is emerging as a significant way that some consumers research products (…) The real question will be whether social media is adopted by most younger consumers and become a standard way consumers research products.” Lauren Friedman, President, The E-tailing Group
Some essential findings for social commerce future consideration…
- 59% say they read customer reviews (if on social platforms or not is not quantified)
- 42% access question-and-answer features that allow a consumer to pose and respond a/to question(s) to/of other shoppers
- 26% converse in community forums
- 15% view user-generated videos or create their own video
- 13% access a retailer or manufacturer’s Facebook page
- 9% monitor, respond to, or post tweets on Twitter.
A pessimistic aspect…
A representative study conducted by Havas Media and Lightspeed Research of 1.007 UK social networkers finds that 89% of respondents not having bought anything on Facebook. Above that, 44% of people are not even interested in doing so.
However, if the provider or manufaturer offers some special discount and deals, 77% of respondents are more likely to buy via Facebook shops. And targeting then becomes key: 70% of the people said, they would buy things from Facebook tht were based on their interests and prevous shopping behaviour (so business intelligence and data mining are welcome with consumers it seems). Also Location-Based Advertising (LBA) gets some impact then: 55% would even „check-in“ to a venue or stire via Facebook Places or Foursquare promotions.
Exclusivity is a main factor for social commerce according to the study. One quarter (25%) responding they would purchase a product on Facebook if it wasn’t available anywhere else, 22% make trust in a brand they know dependable on their buyiong process, and 17% said, they would purchase if it was easier than shopping via ecommerce solutions. Even, 11% stating they would buy something that was only offered to ‘fans’ of a brand.
Brand advocates and brandvangelists are essential. The study shows the power of online recommendations and the influence of friends is essential for socail shopping. If friends recommend a brand, 53% of consumers were more likely to look up information about a brand. 17% were likely to buy from a brand if it was recommended by someone they knew.
And crowd shopping for discounts seems to become a trend. More than half of respondents were interested in getting together with friends to buy products in services in groups. 60% of males finding this opportunity compelling, compared with 48% of women. And women are generally speaking more “neutral” and “negative” when they see a brand on a social networking site (83%), according to the “Women & Brands Online: ‘The Digital Disconnect’ Emerges” study, from ad:tech Chicago and Q Interactive’s “Women Channel”. Those same female Internet users responded they were more likely to be affected by coupons and discounts (41.6%).
Social Commerce is evolving to play a bigger role in the purchase decision process. And like in earlier offline ages, it is the social graph (friends and influencers) that make the important difference in my eyes. You buy from those people you trust (if they are the middlemen and know about it, or not). The studies show a clear trend: People, especially men while women being more difficult to affect with social branding activities, buy when they are addressed with the ads of the poeple they know and trust in. Brandvangelists are an essential factor that companies and brands need to consider embracing in their customer acquisition tactics when thinking about the future of their web strategy.
When you are working in the UK, you want to get more information about the people who are your colleagues, especially from a social point of view. And I found an interesting study on how the inhabitants of a very much digital country is changing their habits. A recent study by eXpansys of 3,000 people in the UK states that Britain prefers Facebook over TV. Britains spend an average of two and a half hours going on Facebook every day. And TV only gets two hours of their attention…
No, the word did obviously not exist before… Or can a phrase come to live with Google not knowing about, nor finding it with their intelligent algorythm? If Google has not indexed one website with the phrase yet, can I claim the phrase as my innovation? Anyway… So, I just created the word today. Horray…
How did I come across it? Let me tell you how I thought about sales and sustainability…
In my eyes the word salestainability defines the future of a successful long-term strategy in business – especially in our social web world… Salestainability. The merger of sales and sustainability could become the formula for clever and intelligent business for the next generation C-level. For those managers who aim to get the balance right between the desire to use social web efficiency and to credit their own customer base for loyalty and advocacy.
Last week, I thought about the challenge for business decision makers to align their web-strategy with new opportunities that social media and social networks offer. And quite frankly, I can imagine that marketers might become kind of “greedy” when thinking about the latest studies. When Deloitte and ExactTarget find that customers are mainly following brands because they want to get benefits, coupons or discounts, nobody would be surprised, if brands are sending rather than understanding.
The social web tends to offer many opportunities to do conversation with our customers without “spaming” them. If customer become Facebook’s Fanpages they declare their open mind to brand activity, and are not only “Likes”, or brand advocates. If people accept Dell’s promotions and let the IT vendor generate 5 Mio. US dollars via Twitter accounts, we need to re-think our sales business and integrate it into our web-strategy to leverage the sales approach to the next level of SocialCRM if they are capable of doing it. And if customers respond to Groupons location-based promotions, they follow the studies results and motivate brands and companies to reach out to them.
Some might pick it up and use their old email tactics – often unpersonalized, uncustomized, unhuman… Feedback might not be valued the way it deserves to be recognized. Companies will start pushing promotions out to them. Why not, if they ask for it? Why not, on a daily basis? Why not challenge their current capabilities at high frequency, harness their brand feedback and hand out permanent sales offers? Why not…? Another study might tell them why…
So far, so good…
Sales is the key driver for business. Business can’t live without push, promotion and placement. Upsale is upscale. No gain, much pain. Companies love to take the money from their customers but do they really care about sustainability? But how can a company in a world of quarterly reporting, balanced scorecards and budget pressure pay attention and give credit to sustainability?
The value of sustainability in business from an executive management point of view was just highlighted in the study “Sustainability: The ‘Embracers’ Seize Advantage” from MIT Sloan Management Review and The Boston Consulting Group. Managers who take the sustainability approach as a key strategic metric to their business will improve brand reputation, claims the study. And most companies are “looking towards a world where sustainability is becoming a mainstream, if not required, part of the business strategy”. Thus, having an essential impact on their sales and web-strategy…
Salestainability is where the worlds of sales and sustainability face the competition to understand which customers are the best ones and how to embrace, hug them and treat them. Who are the best…?
Those who don’t follow/fan/like and still get emails, newsletters and direct mail and don’t unsubscribe?
Those who like the brand on Facebook and do conversation around a brand but don’t buy…?
Those who buy through Groupon, take cheap offers and are one-stop shoppers, never seen again?
Those who follow and listen through Twitter for bargains and rate them with a RT or share it?
Who knows the answer? The answer might be: Find the right salestainability!
Salestainability is not a phrase, it is a challenge. Salestainability is getting the balance right between “want” and “wish”, and thinking about diversification and respect. It is an external strategic business attitude towards training the customer on the social web capabilities around a company and brand. Internally, it is about not exhausting the business immanent SocialCRM tactics. Letting the customers breath and take their own decisions without being pushed too hard, without getting under pressure – with the approach of willing to find and give the personal touch from and to the customer. With the pleasure for social shopping leasure.
That’s what I would define as the future salesforce. That’s what I would call… salestainability!
What do you think of salestainability, it’s definition and it’s future outlook for a business that creates a powerful and still customer-centric strategy?
Now, a poll by AVG of 2,200 mothers with children between 2 and 5 who have Internet access states their kids knew how to play video games (58%) than knew how to ride a bike (43%). Kids were able to open a Web browser (25%) than swim unaided (20%). An important gender divide could obviously not be found: Girls (59%) and boys (58%) ranked nearly equal in their tech skills at playing computer games. I was surprised to hear that French kids age 2-5 can use a computer mouse but only 67% of US kids.
Obviously there is a change in the lives and development of our kids which parents should be aware of. The results of the poll demonstate that younger mothers seem to be putting more effort on technology. Or do kids just draw their wrong conclusions from our extensive use of tech tools? Children with mothers age 35 or older tend to be better at most life skills (i.e. writing their own name). Younger kids with mothers 34 or under show higher skills in tech abilities.
In my eyes as a father it was quite estonishing to hear that 19% of kids knew how to play with a smartphone app but most of the children cannot tie their own shoelaces (9%) or make breakfast. Our big son was unlucky (the iPhone came out too late for him). He had to learn the show thing first. I will definitely assure that my little son learns to make breakfast first so that we can sleep longer at weekends. Just joking… ;-)
The study is part of AVG’s efforts to show how important early tech education is for children. The question is wether we need to have that proof or if kids just learn and copy how their parents behave and thus put more effort in the tech skills. In October last year, AVG released their first insights. They spotted that many babies have online Facebook and other profiles by the time they are six months old.
Now, what can you say about your kids? Would you say these findings apply to your kids as well? How is your emphasis on handling and learning new technology?
Über Jahre hätten wir vermutlich geantwortet, dass -gerade in Deutschland- Fakten zählen, wie uns nicht zuletzt Herr Markwort jahrelang in seinem Fokus TV-Spot selbst im B2C Umfeld weis gemacht hat. Die B2B Agentur RTS Rieger Team und forum! Marktforschung haben mir nun Auszüge einer von den beiden Unternehmen durchgeführten Studie zur Verfügung gestellt, die die Mär des rational-agierenden homo oeconomicus in Frage stellt.
In 300 Telefoninterviews hat man die erste und zweite Führungsebene aus unterschiedlichen Industriezweigen (Anlagen- und Maschinenbau, Elektronik und Automatisierung) nach ihren Beweggründen bei Kaufentscheidungen befragt. Das Ergebnis verblüfft. Obwohl 77% der Befragten angeben, dass sie Emotionen in Kaufprozessen ausblenden, lassen 54% einen Deal platzen, nur weil sie ein ungutes Gefühl haben. Und sogar 31% vertrauen ihrem Instinkt, was nicht gerade für eine rationale Entscheidung spricht.
Auf die Frage, ob Produkte oder Preise nicht vorwiegend zählen, gibt es dennoch eine schwierige Faktenlage. Für 88% zählt vorerst mal das Vertrauen in den Anbieter. Doch wer oder was bildet das Vertrauen? Fakten, Emotionen, Menschen oder Marken? Für 85% kommen gute Beratung und Betreuung bei der Kaufentscheidung gleich an zweiter Stelle. 39% haben angegeben, daß ein angenehmer Kontakt zum Mitarbeiter entscheidend war und 30% nennen die die Nähe des Anbieters als kaufentscheidendes Kriterium. Menschen kaufen eben von Menschen. Je schneller der Zugriff möglich ist, umso wohler fühlt sich der Mensch offensichtlich bei der B2B Kaufentscheidung.
Für die Fakten spricht, daß der qualitativ beste Anbieter bei 72% der Schlüssel zur Kaufentscheidung ist. Doch wenn für 67% hohe Anbieterreputation und für 64% hohe Produktreputation wichtig sind, ist das dann ein Votum für die Fakten- oder Emotionsentscheidung? Und wie lässt sich interpretieren, dass nur 13% die Marke bei der Produktauswahl wichtiger sehen als den Preis?
“Marken brauchen Emotion, weil Sie jeden Tag emotionalen Entscheidern gegenüberstehen, dies beweist unsere Studie BtoB Insight.” Meint zumindest Tim Bögelein, Geschäftsführer, RTS Team.
Ob die Studie das wirklich beweist, mag man mal im Raum stehen lassen. Zumindest liefert sie einen Ansatz, den emotionalen Wirkungsgrad bei einer Business-Kaufentscheidung mal genauer unter die Lupe zu nehmen.
Dass Emotionen in der Businesswelt keine Rolle spielen, haben wohl nur die wenigsten angezweifelt. Offensichtlich zieht der alte Spruch “Qualität hat seinen Preis” im B2B Umfeld immernoch. Denn nur 26% lassen den günstigsten Preis entscheiden. Sicherlich kann man davon ausgehen, dass der Mensch bei der Kaufentscheidung einem hybriden Prozessansatz folgt: Die Kombination aus persönlichem Kontakt (Emotion) und vernünftigem Preisangebot (Ratio) sind bei einer B2B Kaufentscheidung eminent wichtig – und gerade bei Produktgleichheit das Zünglein an der Waage Kaufentscheidung.
Aber das ist meine Meinung. Andere Meinungen sind mehr als willkommen…
Sometimes I am asking myself where the social web world, tries to take us… Companies want to have us as personal social advocates, want us to spread and share their latest marketing message, or that we engage in their digital embassy. They create offline virtual and online fitting rooms (here and here) to take our time for brand passion and fashion sharing. Time is becoming the main ROI figure of the future, the gold companies try to get from their customers in the future.
Have we ever talked to companies in the past? Have you started communication with them without any purchase intent or customer service issue? in the last ten years before we started getting engaged in the social web maniac, I have not… The social web, clever smartphone capabilities and new search technology make us doing these things. In the past, I was playing football and golf, going out in bars, meeting friends, seeing TV shows and reading books and magazines. And I still love doing this… though I am always chasing time to accommodate a number the things I like doing.
My magazine rack is full of issues from Business Punk, GQ, Brand Eins, company brochures and other fashion materials. Yes, I stll see much value in print reading. On my bedside table, nearly 8 books to review try to fight for the pool position (and I just found another one I would like to read). And in my car, I have found the latest program for LeWeb10 where I will be going and know how much material to review, read and learn about I will find in these two days.
I read my list of RSS-feeds, check my Facebook updates or try to follow the main news and social influencers on twitter. I try to share as much information as possible on Delicious. I do networking on LinkedIn or on XING. Many companies and brands call me their fan on Facebook. And yes, there are some more social topics I try to get engaged in. And in the centre of this social activity stands this blog…
Have I mentioned that I am living a traditional father’s life. I do have a job to do (with quite some traveling) plus look after my family, my lovely boys and my wife. They want to talk to me, have their “airtime”. They like to get some decent minutes of awareness on the playground of life. I remember when my father was at home and we had time to talk to him. And then, he had forgotten everything we said after some minutes. I see some danger to fall into his patterns of family communication as well…
Life is becoming more and more challenging these days with the evolution of the social web, social media and all formats of social networking next to our common daily habits. Although I am trying to live the 36-hours day with respect to trying what is possible as a human being. One sentence jumps to my mind and keeps repeating itself every hours I am awake…
If I only had time… If I only had time. If I only… If…
No, the social web has not yet conquered the last corner of my sleeping soul although there are companies that already envision the extreme world of social media in the future. Still, there is evidence how less efficiency could create a better work-life-balance. At some stage, in order to remain successful business people we probably need a personal web manager in the future. This person could become the master of the new ROI calclation in employment output.
If anyone feels like me, share your view and let’s discuss. Tell us how you manage your business time today…
Manchmal liebe ich die um die Ecke gedachte Welt der Kreativen. Und wer hat gesagt, dass Print nicht wirkt? Print wirkt. Wenn man die richtigen Ideen hat… Manche nutzen das sogar, um mal wieder Wireless zu arbeiten.
Die einen tummeln sich auf der IFA 2010 nach den neuen Trends. Die anderen folgen YouTube und den Trends, die sich dort so tummeln. Das Schöne an der digitalen Welt ist, dass man inzwischen nicht mehr in der Flieger steigen sowie sich auf Messen die Füsse wundlaufen muss, um sich schnell über die Zukunft des Bildschirms zu informieren.
Einen Einblick in die Zukunft gewährt das Ergebnis des Open Innovation Experiment der TAT. Es ist eine experimentelles Video, welches verdeutlicht, wie die Zukunft der Bildschirmtechnologie eines vergrößerbaren Bildschirms mit durchsichtigem Bildschirm Display (on demand) sowie Bildschirmen aus elektronischer Tinte ist. Auch wenn es mir aus technischer Sichtweise unmachbar erscheint, sollte man nie nie sagen. Eine coole Innovation wären solche Bildschirme auf jeden Fall…
Die aktuelle Studie „netz98 fragt nach – Einfluss sozialer Elemente im E-Commerce auf das Kaufverhalten“ des Marktforschungsunternehmens eResult GmbH im Auftrag der Internetagentur netz98 new media GmbH besagt, daß für fast 50% der Internet-Kunden Bewertungen und Empfehlungen anderer Kunden ein wichtiges Argument sind, überhaupt online einzukaufen. Gegenüber dem traditionellen Shopping biete Online Shopping mit dem Zugriff auf die Meinungen unabhängiger Verbraucher einen klaren Mehrwert.
Bei aller Euphorie sind Bewertungsmöglichkeiten für die meisten User kein zwingendes Element, wenn auch ein wichtiger Baustein eines Online-Shops. 70% sehen es nicht negativ, wenn die Bewertungskriterien in einem Online-Shop fehlen. Man möchte anfügen, das die Gefahr auf ein anderes Portal zu wechseln, wo Bewertungskriterien angegeben werden, dennoch durchaus gegeben ist. Und von dort zum Kauf ist es dann nicht mehr weit… Die Frage wäre also, was ist entscheidender für den finalen Kauf. Die Bewertungen oder das Vertrauen in den Shop?
Die Frage beantwortet sich teilweise mit den Rezensions-Optionen, die für mehr als ein Viertel der Befragten wichtig sind. Diese Nutzer weichen im Zweifel auf andere Online-Angebote aus, die diese Funktionen bieten. Denn: Wenn 45% der Teilnehmer angeben, Produkte oder Dienstleistungen sogar regelmäßig zu kommentieren oder zu bewerten, dann sollten Shopbetreiber dies Ernst nehmen.
Der Sharing Trend ist hingegen verhalten. Nur von etwa 10% werden die Weiterleiten Funktionen wiederholt genutzt. Frauen (13%) nutzen sie mehr als Männer (9%).
„Wir halten es für sehr wichtig, uns auch wissenschaftlich und quantitativ mit dem E-Commerce zu beschäftigen. Viele aktuelle Fragestellungen können eben nur die Nutzer selbst beantworten. Davon profitieren nicht zuletzt unsere eigenen Kunden – denn die Ergebnisse der Studie fließen unmittelbar in unsere tägliche Arbeit ein.“ Tim Hahn, Geschäftsführer, netz98
Interessant ist aber auch ein weiteres Ergebnis. Nahezu 40% der Befragten können sich vorstellen, unmittelbar in einem sozialen Netzwerk über eine Shopping App einzukaufen. Mit einer Einschränkung… Der Shop, bei dem eingekauft wird, muss dem Käufer bekannt und vertraut sein. Wer also eine App baut, sollte bei der Konzeption mit Check-out sowohl vertrauensbildende Maßnahmen (z.B. Gütesiegel) als auch die transparente Darstellung des übergeordneten Shops klar kenntlich machen.