Why Manufacturers Are Hesitant to Try Live Chat

Although live chat has been around for some time, manufacturers can be reluctant to diverge from the standard way of doing things. What will it take for an old school industry to finally buy-in?

Live chat has been around for quite a while – we’ve been providing 24/7 live chat for over 16 years – it is still an emerging best practice for many companies and especially for manufacturers. I learned on a recent marketing podcast that if something is considered a “best practice”, it means all your competitors are already doing it. An emerging best practice however, is something you can do to give your company a competitive advantage. In this article, I’ll discuss a couple common misconceptions companies have about live chat and share the top 5 benefits a manufacturer can expect from implementing an online chat program into their website. This article will even discuss how a manufacturer who might already be using a live chat software can take their program to the next level.

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Chatbots vs. Live Chat: How Artificial Intelligence Affects Website Visitors Experience

Chatbot conversation on smartphone screen app interface with artificial intelligence technology providing virtual assistant customer support and information, person hand holding mobile phone

With artificial intelligence on the rise, so too is the consumer’s desire for instant gratification. So which software do most website visitors prefer, chatbots or live chat?

As businesses look to artificial intelligence to enhance customer service, it is increasingly difficult to find the right balance between automation and human support to deliver the service customers demand. One of the more prevalent tools marketers are looking to is chatbots. With the ability to provide customers with instant responses, answer basic questions and resolve complaints quickly, it is easy to see why chatbots are viewed as a tool that enhances the customer experience. Innovations like Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, WeChat and WhatsApp have contributed to making this a popular method of communication for many consumers.

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Why You Need a Comprehensive Lead Generation Program

1) In a typical firm with 100-500 employees, an average of 7 people are involved in most buying decisions. (Source: Gartner Group)

Buyers are more and more afraid to make a significant business decision on their own. Some of these fears are justifiable and some are not. The reality for your growth is learning how to market to and sell to a team of buyers. You must be perceived as a credible business partner and be able to get engaged with and understand the frustrations and challenges of different personality types involved. Every buyer needs a certain type of information, as well as a certain amount of information, in order to make a decision.

2) Today’s sales process takes 22% longer than 5 years ago. (Biznology)

Not only are the sales more complex due to the “team of buyers” discussed above, but budgets have also tightened over the last decade and companies have been operating leaner than ever. In addition, B2B sales environments have become much more competitive due to globalization and the internet. These factors and more have caused the sales process to drag out longer than in the past.

3) 93% of B2B purchases start with an internet search.

It’s simple. If you want to grow your business, you must be found when people are searching the internet. People will search using the products and services you provide and they will search based on a challenge or need they have. Either way, we work with our clients to ensure there are ‘motivation matching’ landing pages and content to match the searches being conducted. We collaborate with our clients to develop content that answers questions their potential customers are asking.

4) B2B buyers are typically 57% of the way to a buying decision before actively engaging with sales. (Source: CEB)

You must be visible in multiple channels so that your buyers become aware of you and visit your website. It is a necessity today to have a world class website that conveys credibility and communicates a strong, clear value proposition. The most important job a website has is to convert visitors into sales leads which then turn into revenue.

5) 9 out of 10 B2B buyers say online content has a moderate to major effect on purchasing decisions. (Source: CMO Council)

When was the last time you added fresh, engaging content to your website that provided value to your potential customer? Do you put time on the calendar to meet with your sales and marketing team? Your buyers are spending more time doing their research prior to engaging your sales team, so you must help them learn who you are and how you can solve their problems. Plus, an educated buyer can help shorten the sales process.

6) 80% of business decision-makers prefer to get company information from a series of articles versus an advertisement. (B2B PR Sense Blog)

The primary objective of any advertising or awareness campaign should be to drive buyers to rich, relevant content on a landing page or on your website. In doing so, you can test which content resonates most with your buyers. This is not to say advertising can’t drive a return on investment. In fact, all campaigns should have built in, isolated tracking mechanisms to determine the overall effectiveness of the ad-spend.

7) 63% of consumers need to hear company claims 3-5x before they actually believe it. (Source: Edelman Trust Barometer)

We have all heard about the importance of “Top of Mind Awareness”. As previously mentioned, you must be able to communicate a strong value proposition. You must also have a compelling company story, a mission, and credible experience that help your buyers decide you are the company that is right for them. Once all that is developed, you then must be consistent with your distribution of your messaging in as many places and platforms as possible. Part of the work here is gaining an understanding of where your target buyers are doing their research.

8) Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads. (Source: The Annuitas Group)

There are some great tools available to allow you to share your expertise with your target buyers. There is tremendous revenue value in educating your buyers about all the facets of your company and your capabilities. Putting this strategy in place is one of the most challenging initiatives a company can take on. In recent years, the market has become saturated with email marketing software – many of which are very good. However, all too often we hear stories from business owners and/or marketing directors who have invested for months in these software platforms expecting huge results, but in turn, were sadly disappointed when they didn’t fully utilize their investment. Why didn’t they? They did not have their lists segmented – or didn’t even have lists. They did not have supporting content created. They weren’t able to get the sales team involved to really think through a nurturing process that would fit into their sales process; this is almost always due to a lack of time. So, you must plan ahead first, and then invest in the software. Plan the work, then work the plan.

9) Top sellers use LinkedIn 6 hours per week. (Source: Jill Konrath)

Your target buyers are almost guaranteed to have a profile on LinkedIn. One of the most under rated aspects of LinkedIn is the messaging capabilities. Messages that get sent from LinkedIn –not inMails that are paid messages – get opened. This allows you to break through the “noise of email”. LinkedIn also provides quality information about your potential buyers. Herein lies the challenge for most marketing and sales professionals. Doing the research, the content development, the posting, and the outreach on a consistent basis takes time. Lots of time. However, this go-to-market strategy should absolutely be part of your B2B sales growth.

10) 84% of CEOs and VPs use social media to make purchasing decisions. (Source IDC)

Leslie Gaines-Ross, Weber Shandwick’s chief reputation strategist said, “Chief Executives are decidedly testing the social waters.” By increasing their online presence, CEOs are demonstrating that they “care about attracting the best talent, understand the need to better humanize themselves and are more in-tune with where their stakeholders are,” among other things. When you look at your LinkedIn connections, you should see your influence growing continuously among your peers and more importantly, your target buyers. Top executives in charge of revenue growth have always seen the value of networking and building relationships. Now more than ever, LinkedIn is readily available to help them do this globally at a much more rapid pace.

What’s Next for LinkedIn After Microsoft Deal

In case you missed it, Microsoft recently agreed to acquire LinkedIn for 26.2 billion dollars. If you are one of LinkedIn’s 433 million users, it is fair to be a little nervous for what potentially lies ahead for the popular professional social network. After all, this is not Microsoft’s first foray into the social media acquisition game (Ever heard of Yammer? Didn’t think so). Anytime an acquisition like this takes place there is certainly reason to worry.

But, the big question remains: What does this mean for those who use LinkedIn as a source for lead generation and developing new business relationships? Read more

Why WordPress is the Best Content Management System

Choosing the right content management system is critical to virtually every aspect of your website, especially its marketing potential. Whether you are a web developer or a business owner, wouldn’t you want to use the best content management system to make sure your marketing initiatives are being met?

WordPress can sometimes get a bad rap among the various content management systems that are out there. Since WordPress began as a blogging platform, businesses tend to think it is too simple to support the more complex features they desire in a website. However, over time WordPress has evolved as a content management system and is the most popular of its kind. In fact, today WordPress powers more than 24 percent of the web. Why choose WordPress for your website? Here are a few benefits to keep in mind.

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The Key to Effective Marketing Automation

In an era where most of the buying process is complete by the time a prospect is ready to engage with sales, effective marketing automation is the key to engaging potential customers early and often in the sales process.

While there has been an increase in the adoption of marketing automation in recent years, it is not as easy to implement as you may think.

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A Simple Guide to Organic Search Engine Optimization

When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), it can often appear intimidating or overwhelming due to its highly technical, always-changing nature. The truth is, unless you have an experienced in-house SEO team or hire an outsourced digital marketing agency to help you out, organic SEO can be quite difficult to master on your own.

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How Google Accelerated Mobile Pages are Changing the Way the Web Works

In its ongoing effort to take over the digital world, Google is once again changing the web as we know it.

As smartphones and tablets continue to transform the way we access information, the amount of people using their phone to consume the news continues to rise. In fact, the percentage of people using mobile to access media is now significantly higher compared to desktop. However, the mobile experience can often leave a lot to be desired.

With the introduction of its new Accelerated Mobile Pages, Google is aiming to dramatically improve the performance of the mobile web.

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Why You Should Outsource Digital Marketing

Every marketing department goes through the same internal debate: Should we outsource digital marketing or bring it in-house?

While the decision to outsource digital marketing may seem difficult, it is often very clear-cut. As buying behaviors continue the shift toward online media, the prevalence of digital marketing continues to grow. In fact, in 2016, the average firm will allocate 30 percent of their marketing budget to online. With that trend expected to continue in the coming years, it will be more important than ever before to have a team of experienced experts that know how to run a successful digital marketing campaign.

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How to Choose the Right Lead Generation Campaign

The days of cold calling to generate leads are over. As today’s consumer grows more frustrated at being interrupted by a telemarketer, inbound marketing has emerged as the primary lead generation tactic.

For most marketers, the goal is to generate leads that will eventually become paying customers. That’s where we can help. Here’s four lead generation strategies and how to determine if it is the right one for you:

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