Forget about the mum and pop shops, B2B tech-based enterprises have three key needs says Kimon Lycos.
This is for small and medium sized companies that have created a wonderful innovation, or a break through technology, and has bled through their ears while doing so. They have over a period time forsaken personal hygiene, slipped in and out of reality, felt the cold sweat of fear so often they created a name for it, and are insanely determined to succeed.
Excuse the brusque tone, but I feel very strongly about this topic, because I believe I have discovered exactly what every high-tech SME wants, who is a genuine B2B player. And my passion to communicate this clearly, to the right people has me thinking of Eminem lyrics, “You little boy bands do nothing but annoy me, so I have been sent here to destroy you.” I refer to an article I read on a Virgin Blue flight, “Virgin Blue Voyeur – Success Files”, giving advice to SME’s. What the author was totally unclear about was what type of SME? When you read the advice, the article is for someone who wants to sell something like knitted socks in retail stores. And then the suggested media channels of TV and radio has clear B2C leaning. Again, nothing for the B2B guys.
The differences between an SME who has developed the next big thing for industry, is vastly different to a mum and dad kicking off a bakery. One potentially could accidentally arc weld their nipples in a freak engineering incident; the other could poison a busload of pensioners with scones. When delivering advice, I wish that those knocking out the pose could keep a specific target market in mind.
B2C stuff aside, I have, as mentioned, come upon an exacting formula for a high tech SME, because I have looked purely at answering the question, “What does an SME selling technology and innovation to other companies globally want?” The answer is remarkably simple, and potentially very explosive. When you get rid of all the fluff, nonsense, noise and touchy-feely stuff, here is what every high-tech SME wants in three parts.
It sucks being small. Even if your brain has the power to melt carbine steel by thought alone, being small generates cancerous perceptions. Small means risk, uncertainty, lack of success, inability to perform, lack of popularity. In a nutshell, small head-butts credibility in the face, knocking it to the floor, searching for its teeth.
However, thanks to our friend the internet you can be small, but take on the guise of something much bigger, to generate the credibility you deserve that matches your capabilities. Building a website that is not only pitch perfect, but also is built to purpose, with the design, look and feel attracting the right type of audience becomes a powerful thing. Often websites from technology-based companies are technical. They are ablaze with motherhood statements and information only an expert understands. Unfortunately at times you need to sell to those who are not experts, so ensure that you use something called benefits or promises to let people know why you actually exist.
More than cosmetics and messages that sell, you need to make the website famous. You need to generate natural search rankings and have the right amount of content on site to reward the hard working spiders, which are unleashed by various search engines. When a website is built right, says the right things and does the right thing for search engines, you dramatically raise the credibility of your business.
Using the tools available with social media, is a cheap and effective way to give the vocal cords of the mouse, the volume like an elephant who had a nasty incident with a bike seat. Globally there are conversations occurring 24/7. People are searching for information, asking for information and sharing information. Social media is not the sole domain of B2C. In fact social media is a brilliant tool for B2B because of the focused nature of B2B. Think about it, people are looking for the shortest and easiest means to be informed as they hunt for solutions, opportunities or knowledge. If you have a credible technology or innovation you are playing a profitable numbers game.
You can be guaranteed that someone out there has the need that you seek to fill. By seeding content, opinions, happenings, domain knowledge and your expertise, you will generate interest into who you are and what you do. Beyond, Facebook, Linked In and Twitter, you will find forums where fellow industry experts, investors, buyers, potential employees and such meet to discuss and swap industry information. With all these conversations in play, how much do you influence and interact with the various people who make up your specific market?
With trade magazines brimming full of advertorial content, they have less credibility than a $20 hooker at an “all-you-can-smoke” crack cocaine buffet. This diminishes the value of advertising and getting your leg up with an “article.” Rather than spend a few thousand briefly communicating with a cynical audience, you can spend a few moments delivering your message to a wide range of stakeholders and refer back to credible sources.
If for some reason you enjoy sharing a confined space with other strangers, running the gauntlet of potentially sitting next to a large sweaty German for 5 hours, and holding in farts – then go ahead and continue the expensive and risky activity of business travel.
Otherwise, you can use local consultants in far-away lands to work under short-term contracts to develop business opportunities and connections for you. The fact is, within a 3-month period, you can determine market acceptance of your gizmo, and determine if the barriers to entry are low enough. The alternative, early morning or late night calls, following up at odd hours and travelling continually is slow and very expensive. The risk is that you can waste a lot of time and resources chasing one market, when those resources could have been spent in a far more profitable place.
Using a local Business Development consultant, who knows the local culture, knows B2B sales and can represent you for a short period of time to help generate local connections is by far a cheaper and more effective means to create opportunities for sales.
By putting these three components together, CREDIBILITY, INFLUENCE & CONNECTIONS, you have a powerful combination to make yourself famous for the right reasons, influence industry decision makers and directly sell to them in their language.
What every technology and innovation based SME want are more sales, generated with greater profitability.
Kimon Lycos is the owner of B2B marketing and communications agency, Mihell & Lycos.