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In Closing B2B Sales, Follow-Up Matters

By Jun 25, 2014

A big difference between B2B and B2C marketing is the follow-up. Most B2B sales are larger than B2C, take longer to close and often include the presence of a sales person, who is more often than not, the key factor in closing the sale and establishing the company-to-company relationship.

I was reminded of this recently after a week away from the office. Upon my return, I noticed a big red tube and another box. I immediately opened the tube and inside were a pair of super hero type socks.  I gave them to a guy in the office who had a young child.

In the box, there was a cool little flash drive with a flashlight, also from the same company. I loved it, but ended up also giving that away.

Later in the week, an oversized blue foil envelope arrive; inside was a set of blank thank you cards. Those were also regifted.

All three pieces included additional informational pieces and a salesperson’s business card. The campaign was integrated, with the same look and a super hero theme. I became interested—but not so interested that I would reach out to the company. I expected the sales person to follow-up. But a few weeks later, there’s been no visit, call, email or text from the salesperson trying to do business with me and my company.

Make no mistake, these pieces and campaign were not cheap. It’s costing the company a pretty penny to market to me. They have a good list, if I am the indication. I use services that they provide all the time. I influence and can make the decision to use this firm. But where, oh where, is my salesperson?

Behold the classic disconnect between sales and marketing. 

Most salespeople expect marketing to do the heavy lifting for them—and when done correctly it does. However, like most people, I hate to be sold. But I LOVE to buy. I am too darn busy to call you, but a gentle nudge from a sales pro would set the dialog into motion and likely commence the sales.

However, marketing rarely, if ever in B2B, closes the sale. But that is precisely what most amateur salespeople expect marketing to do.

You can just hear the moans from the sales team, “We didn’t sell enough from that campaign.” “Your marketing doesn’t work.” “The list must have been bad.” “You don’t understand the buying process of our prospects.” I could go on and on.

In order for B2B marketing to excel, the C-Suite must hold all sales managers and salespeople alike to follow-up on the marketing efforts done on their behalf. In companies with a committed and eager sales team, the marketing works much better, more often than the opposite. It’s not simply coincidence.

Going through the campaign materials from the aforementioned super hero campaign, I notice that the salesperson’s card asks me to reach out. It never mentions that someone will try and contact me.

I predict the campaign will fail.

Grant Johnson is the CEO and founder of Johnson Direct.