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6 New Year Resolutions for B2B Industrial Suppliers

Happy New Year

For B2B industrial suppliers 2014 was good, and 2015 looks even more promising. As Abraham Lincoln said, “Always bear in mind that your own resolution to success is more important than any other one thing” so here are 6 suggested B2B e-Commerce resolutions to help make 2015 a VERY happy year!

1. B2B Industrial e-Commerce isn’t going away – get with the program!

Industrial e-Commerce is accelerating. With e-Commerce industrial suppliers will likely add new revenue growth. Without it they are likely to lose market share to online competitors. But B2B e-Commerce is evolving – it’s essential to keep up-to-date . For example, see this Blog post on expectations set by sites like Amazon®, McMaster® and Grainger®. To succeed, B2B websites need to provide a similar user experience. The good news is that the cost of staying up-to-date has fallen and opened access to most industrial suppliers.

2. How does your industrial e-Commerce site match up? Do a website audit and tune-up.

Think about the e-Commerce sites you use and what functionality you expect. If you haven’t already done a usability study watch, in silence, as users try to use your site. Is your site and catalog search powerful enough to find what they need? Do they think it’s a user-friendly design? Do your product detail pages focus on the needs of the customer over the features of the product? Are downloadable 3D CAD models of your products available? If so do you use them for lead generation? Are those leads automatically distributed and tracked? Is your content unnecessarily gated behind too detailed “contact us” forms?

3. Get your Sales, Marketing and Customer Service coordinated – stop taking selfies!

Putting customers’ needs before our own seems obvious but can be hard. We’ve been talking about alignment of Sales and Marketing ‘forever’ but few have achieved it. Successful e-Commerce requires coordination of Sales and Marketing and Customer Service. Who handles those by phone calls, emails or live online chats? C-Suite leadership is usually essential to ensure coordinated sales, marketing and customer service teams. All empowered and motivated to work in the customers best interest – see this sales engine post for example.

4. Use the start of the new year as a reason to check in with prospects.

Most of us use the New Year to re-evaluate and re-focus. Projects that weren’t ‘active’ or on which you were told to ‘check back with me in 6 months’ can suddenly become active. Initiatives that were low priority may be much higher priority now. Reach out to prospects and ask about any changes or new priorities for 2015. Explain you are reaching out to learn of any updates, as many projects get formed around this time.

5. How does your content marketing stack up? Do an audit and maybe an upgrade.

More than 90% of B2B marketers have adopted content marketing. There’s more competition for your content than ever before. Does yours stand out? Does it focus on what your customers need to know and favorably present your solution? Not sure? Ask them or a third party. Edit any new 2015 messaging to remove pronouns like “we,” “our,” and “us”. Replace them with “you”, meaning the customer. According to Forrester, 85 percent of B2B companies fail to connect content to business value for the customer. As a result, suppliers don’t keep customers or win their long-term loyalty. After a sale, continue to use content marketing to nurture the relationship and loyalty. Apply as much creativity on customer engagement content as on demand generation content. Modern marketing automation platforms deliver content and track engagement for you – if you are not already using one, consider an upgrade.

6. Don’t be afraid to fail!

A lot of attention is rightly placed on marketing ROI. Do you have reports on content downloads (for example, 3D CAD models of your products)? Can you ‘close the loop’ to which led to sales? But don’t let accountability stop you trying new things – in other words don’t be afraid to fail. To do great things, you often have to take risks and try new things. Of course, anytime you take a risk, there’s potential for failure. So here’s the resolution: do one, two or three new things this year. Challenge your team to build a list of possible things and do a short business case for each. Select one, two or three to try, then hold the team accountable for the results. The goals are to try promising ideas, reward the process and the risk taking—and maybe find a winner along the way!

Those are 6 of our suggestions – let us know what you think of them or share your other resolutions below…

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