Monday, June 4, 2012

Myths of B2B Word of Mouth

Myth 1: WOM is not influential in B2B.Fact: WOM is the #1 influencer of B2B purchase decisions. Few B2B customers ever buy anything without first asking around about their experiences with the vendor and/or product. In a recent survey of B2B decision makers by Forrester Research, 84% of respondents said Word of Mouth recommendations influence their purchase decisions. While nearly all B2B companies have blogs, only 24% of respondents said they trust blogs. Other research firms also have found that WOM rules in B2B.
84% - WOM
60% - Salesperson
59% Web sites
58% Print publications
45% - In person events
43% - Analysts
43% - Social Media
41& - E-Mail
40% - Web events
30% - Interactive Media
24% - Blogs

Myth 2: Business people are not active users of social media.Fact: Business people are first of all people and they are buyers and furthermore even more socially active than the average consumers. They buy things not just for themselves but for their businesses as well. Forrester recently surveyed B2B buyers to learn about their usage of social media. The results were off the charts. B2B buyers are nearly 20% more active creators of social media and twice as active consumers of social content. Based on the survey results, Forrester told B2B marketers: If you’re not using WOM/social as part of your marketing mix, you’re late to the party.

Myth 3: Businesspeople don’t advocate companies and products.Fact: Businesspeople are more active Advocates of companies and products than consumers.
Another myth that has pervaded B2B marketing is that businesspeople don’t advocate companies and products. Fact is, B2B executives are more active recommenders than the average consumer, according to a study conducted by WOM research from Keller Fay. The study showed that business executives have 118 WOM conversations weekly compared to 100 for consumers. On average, executives mentioned 102 brands times per week compared to 77 for consumers. In 61% of the WOM conversations, executives recommended a brand or product to a peer or colleague. 40% of B2B Buyers are Advocates.

Myth 4: B2B companies only have a few Advocates.Fact: B2B companies have many Advocates. As B2B marketers know, within a single account there are multiple people who spread Word of Mouth. This includes end users, gate keepers, technical buyers, decision makers, and others. While some are more influential than others, all of these people are part of a Word of Mouth Community within any one account. At a single company, there may be 500 people who are part of a Word of Mouth community. Thus, a B2B company that has 100 customers may have a total Word of mouth community of 50,000 people (100 accounts x 500 people.) Assuming that 40% of these people are Advocates, the company could have 20,000 Advocates (40% of 50,000). This number is a large, highly influential, yet under-leveraged Virtual Sales force. By energizing their Advocates, a B2B companies can amplify positive Word of Mouth and drive qualified referral leads and sales in a continuous flow.

Myth 5: The impact of Word of Mouth can’t be measured.Fact: The impact of Word of Mouth can be measured as precisely as any form of online marketing.
There are dozens of tools that enable B2B marketers to measure the quantity and quality of Word of Mouth about their companies and products in the blogosphere and on social networks like Twitter.
Advanced Word of Mouth analytics enable B2B marketers to go beyond measuring buzz to measuring business and marketing results. For example, advanced analytics track Advocate impact on open rates, click through rates, and conversion rates. These advanced analytics enable marketers to harness the proven power of Word of Mouth and track its impact as precisely as a PPC or email marketing campaign.

Larson Notes & Satire:  There are many good ways to marketing a company and no one way works good all by itself.  If you can work 3 or 4 tools in tandem you will have a much better attack and you results will follow off the charts. Point is that most of us are not working our 3 f’s (family, friends and fans) hard enough. We don’t engage them, we don’t work with them, heck are we even telling them what they need to know to push us and our companies out to their spheres of influence.

Now I never ask for or give recommendations to people or companies I know nothing about. I get enough requests from people asking for referrals that I have no knowledge of and I’ll be damned if I will recommend someone I know nothing about nor have I ever used their service of product.
Make you one of my friends or fans? Yes that I will do but you need to earn the right to get more out of me.

“We don’t sell lists, we find customers.”

Howard Larson
Larson & Associates
Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition
Making good businesses great and great businesses even better

P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.

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