Future Forum Events—Genevieve Reid

19 Feb, 2013
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Robot-to-Robot: The Disappearing Buyer?

By Genevieve Reid, Director of Sales & Marketing, Computershare

I can imagine a not too distant future where short-listing for suppliers is based on “robot-to-robot” penetration testing of your company’s website by a prospective company’s procurement cookie. The procurement cookie will trawl for data and create its own short list of preferred suppliers with no regard for your sales teams’ relationships or network of recommenders.

Could robot-to-robot be the new “warm call” in product or service selection in the future? This is not a difficult next step to imagine. Many of us have already encountered the anonymous buyer through faceless e-auctions which, judging by the show of hands at the event last year, seem to be on the rise. The good news is, for now, we do still get to go through the sales process before the e-auction, meaning that in most cases, price is not the only determining factor.

Other than those products and services that primarily compete on price, the e-auction almost always ends with a judgment call made by a human asking, “Do we simply want the cheapest, or are we willing to pay a little more for value?” The key to success is whether your clients or prospects can clearly articulate your value proposition to their procurement teams when you’re not there. This is where your resources should be focused.

This is the point where marketing professionals demonstrate their value as the trusted partner in every sales campaign. In today’s online world, marketing content is king. Whether your marketing team produces case studies for your website, client testimonial videos for YouTube, or campaigns for Facebook, whenever a buyer tunes in to define and evaluate their needs, you must feel confident your marketing partners have your value propositions and positive client testimonials covered across every communication channel.

Regardless of whether our websites are invaded by procurement cookies or e-auctions stay the course, it is essential to engage your current valued clients and ask them to work with you to develop marketing content you can share externally, such as testimonials, case studies, thought leadership on your successes together and Net Promoter Scores. Your prospective clients are, as you read this, searching Google for the answers to their problems. If you don’t have content that matches their key word searches you may never even make the short list of preferred suppliers or, worse still, you’ll never get the chance to establish a human-to-human relationship.