With 2013 fast on approach, we have been spending hours upon hours researching the latest sales and marketing techniques, opinions, case studies and brands.

It's a great time of year because through this research we are exposed to other companies successes and at times failures - all while thinking about what more we can do for our clients.

One of the big issues that small businesses face is their understanding of how sales and marketing works together. Quite often, small businesses invest in one and not so heavily in the other, only to find that their sales pipeline isn't full and budgets are not being met.

Without being critical of small business owners who have their fair share of things to worry about: think people, finance, hr, sales, marketing, product / service development - sales and marketing is something that every small business owner understands the importance of, but has trouble executing.

Re-thinking how your client makes decisions on whether or not to buy your product or service is imperative to understanding how to market to them and ultimately, how to get the sale. We know that the reason someone buys at all in a b2b environment is to either make money, save money or reduce pain and frustration. 

There are many things to consider when doing research into why your client buys from you over a competitor and it is more than just reputation or the benefits that your product or service offers.

The reasons why small businesses buy are simple. (B2B)

1. Price: They usually have a budget, but don't know what it is exactly, and need you to sell to them value that is backed by a competitive price point.
2. Packaging: That means your website, your business card, how you present yourself, the experience they have at reception, your brochure and more.
3. Service: Do you make them feel special from the moment they click onto your website to the time that they come into your office and ask you the hairy questions? Do you make them feel special?
4. Payment: It's true. Most people make choices on their buying decisions based on what payment plans are on option. 
5. Reputation or perceived reputation.

Then it gets down to what type of product or service you have on offer and whether or not it has perceived value, quality and use. 

It's important for all businesses to ask their clients why they have bought from them and use this for both testimonials and for improving service and product delivery.

It may mean interviewing 10 of your clients or if you are able to invest more in this marketing exercise, then 100 or more. You can do online surveys, telephone them or meet face to face. In the US, research is very important in the marketing mix as there is massive potential for growth for any business looking for it. The market is huge, but to truly be effective, it is important that you know your market inside out.

In a business to business environment, reputation supercedes most influencers and through a strong word-of-mouth referral backed by a quality sales presentation and a competitive price structure - most businesses will find a winning formula.

Ask yourself, "why do businesses buy from you?"

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Mellissah Smith

Mellissah Smith is a marketing expert with more than 20 years experience. Having founded and built two successful marketing companies internationally, she is well recognized as a industry thought leader and innovator. Mellissah started her career working with technology and professional services firms, primarily in marketing, public relations and investor relations, positioning a number of successful companies to list on the various Stock Exchanges around the world. She is a writer, technology developer and entrepreneur who shares her thoughts and experiences through blogs and written articles published in various media outlets. Brag sheet: #2 marketer to follow on Twitter (2003), Top 150 Marketers to Follow (2015), Top 10 innovative marketers (2014), 60K+ followers on Twitter with 97% authentic.


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