How B2B sales have changed [INFOGRAPHIC]

Did you know ‘the internet is the new trade show’? Well it is, according to a new infographic by Maximize Social Media.

Every month there are now over 10.3 billion Google searches; with 78 per cent of US internet users researching products and services online.

Plus, 54 per cent of B2B buyers beginning their buying process with informal research about business problems, with a whopping 78 per cent of this time spent researching online.

Lori Wizdo, principal analyst at Forrester, warns: “Today’s buyers might be anywhere from two-thirds to 90 per cent of the way through their journey before they reach out to a vendor.”

It’s true. But the majority of B2B brands are now aware buyers are making contact with the sales team much later on in the process.

The infographic goes on to highlight good and bad sales techniques. It highlights blogging, social media and SEO as great inbound marketing tools. However, outbound techniques, including print, direct mail and trade shows, are said to be too ‘intrusive & impersonal’, ‘interrupting the prospect’ and expensive.

This is a warped vision of these channels. Although print, DM and tradeshows can be seen as traditional channels they are still effective and therefore have a role in B2B – DM perhaps even more so with the evolution of big data. As a result, targeted DM campaigns can be personal, interesting and ultimately drive sales. It worries me that these channels have been brushed off as unsuitable lead gen tools – they should be used in collaboration with new technology and digital outlets.

These remarks are backed up with one fact. The research says inbound marketing techniques cost 62 per cent less pear lead than traditional outbound marketing. This may be true, but marketers need to employ both outbound and inbound techniques, otherwise their campaign will fall on its face.

Interestingly, the research reveals 57 per cent of companies report customer acquisition through their company blog and LinkedIn, 48 per cent from Facebook and 42 per cent viaTwitter. This is surprising as social has previously been thought of as an inappropriate lead gen tool and more important for promotional values.

This research demonstrates the power of content marketing and what B2B marketers can achieve when they use it correctly. However, the infographic fails to point out that content marketing needs to be used in collaboration with other techniques for brands to witness real results.