Say hello to B2B sCommerce
I think it’s safe to say that yet another marketing term can be added to the B2B vocabulary bucket, that of social commerce or sCommerce. By now many of you will have signed up to the likes of Groupon and Living Social to take advantage of all the available deals. What you may not have seen is the B2B social marketplaces such as Huddlebuy (UK) and Bizydeal (US). Major sCommerce B2C players may also jump on the B2B wagon.
While this is all very new (Huddlebuy soft launched in January and is keeping its numbers closely guarded), there is an opportunity to test this as a viable platform, become an early adopter and market your brand. It’s fairly obvious how you can take advantage of these services from a buying perspective, but how can you add this new found channel into your marketing strategy?
The social commerce club
Prepare yourself, services like Groupon can have unlimited take-up on deals, but this varies on some of the B2B platforms. Some platforms only provide limited take-up, while others let people apply for as many deals as they wish. Get yourself ready to service your customer to the best of your ability and train sales staff and your customer support teams.
Create a killer deal
The more your deal spreads and gains uptake, the more brand awareness you will receive. While all of these deals are cost based, why not add further value to the deal to get yourself noticed. For example, add ‘how to guides’, relevant research or perhaps productivity savings.
A longer sales cycle
It’s important to add restrictions to your deal, essentially the normal terms you would apply to any promotion. One of these is time. We all know that the B2B sales cycle is longer. While you can give users the option to show interest/buy within a short period of time, you may find it beneficial to allow them a longer period of time to claim the deal.
Get contact details
Groupon does not provide any details of its users. Fortunately, however, its B2B counterparts are happy to negotiate the contact details you require. Ask yourself what you really need to communicate to the audience after the deal is done (probably only an email address). Make sure when you do get in contact and mention the deal, you gather more details e.g. names, addresses, company, etc.
You must consider the long-term strategy, it can be far more about brand awareness, lead nurturing and social CRM after the sale. Lead your customers down the sales cycle, develop a method to generate re-occurring sales and continue the conversation.
Socialising your transactions
How can you use social commerce in your marketing comms and make your promotions and deals shareable? This may be as simple as adding sharethis.com widgets to your site.
Connections and recommendations are also a form of socialising B2B transactions, even if it’s not directly focused around a sale or deal.