Business Innovation & Growth Acceleration
Business Innovation & Growth Acceleration          

Changing Over From Transactional To Strategic Customer Engagements 

The importance of moving B2B customers away from transactional relationships

Most SME's tend to adopt either one of the following traits and business models.


  1. Sales Centric Business : a more "tactical approach", which places a greater emphasis on the sales infrastructure of the business to get the desired results often with no marketing focus or effort.

  2. Marketing Centric Business: a more "strategic approach", which determines exactly what the market wants, and how to create the required demand for the product or service in the target market, so that the company can achieve its growth objectives.


Whilst both descriptions are a little generalised, they do however hold true for most SME's. Typically, younger businesses tend to have a Sales centric aproach whilst, the more mature and extablished businesses have evolved and adopted a Marketing centric model. In simplistic terms, Marketing is the strategic aspect of selling and Sales is the tactical aspect of marketing. see pyramid


In recent years, evolution in Digital tchnologies has created boundless new opportunities and made new customers and markets much more ealisly accessabe. Unfortunately, this also means that your competitors now have very easy access to your customers and markets, making the overall business landscape much more competitive.


The way in which you choose to structure the company can have a significant impact on the rate of your company growth and profitability, including business success or failure. Ultimately, it's all about gaining a greater insight into your competitive landscape, customers, B2B buyer behaviour, increasing your client acquisition & retention and finally positioning your company and brand appropriately.


Here we take a brief look at the difference between the two, and help you decide which is more valuable to your organisation in the long-term. 


Sales vs. Marketing 


You're likely to see sales-based models employed in businesses where shifting high volumes of product are the order of the day, for example, in an IT reseller where it's focussed on 'box-shifting' (i.e. selling volume only) without adding any value to the offer.


However, sales-centric organisations are more likely to end up competing on price; squeezing profit margins, this isn't a great place to be. A great example is the supermarkets. The price war between Tesco, Asda and Aldi has been raging for years with each claiming to be cheaper than the next, employing tactics such as 'brand match', 'brand promise' and 'everyday low prices' in a bid to win your custom. However, this comes at a cost with many products specifically sold as 'loss-leaders' just to get you in the door.


The main challenge facing sales-centric organisations is how to survive long-term. With eroding profits, it's going to be difficult to maintain day-to-day operations, let alone grow the business.


In contrast, marketing-based models focus on developing core markets. Effort and investment is made into raising brand awareness and positioning the company to communicate its value.


If we continue with the above example, supermarkets like Waitrose and Sainsbury's have largely avoided the price wars. That's because they listened to their customers, who were saying that they wanted more than cheap prices, they wanted to know what to do with their food, or to have delicious ready-meals so they didn't have to spend hours cooking after a hard day at work. In these supermarkets they employ tactics, such as issuing recipe cards, promoting simple ways to spruce up classic recipes with a new ingredient, or asking celebrity chefs to create mouth-watering meals to heat at home. By adding value to the food, these supermarkets can actually charge a premium for the same products, with shoppers happy to pay it.


Marketing-centric organisations retain, and even grow, their profit margins, helping to secure their financial future. However, it comes at a cost. You do have to invest in marketing, but it is just that, 'an investment'. The useful insight it can uncover, and the value it adds to your brand, will return strong competitive advantages beyond price, giving you longevity. 


Shifting your mindset 


If you want to move your customers away from transactional relationships, and make them into clients who are loyal with an increased customer lifetime value, it all starts with changing your sales mentality and embracing the value that marketing can provide them with.


Marketing is not about colouring in pretty pictures. It's not about writing stories. And it's not about coming up with crazy ideas or pulling stunts to get you noticed. Marketing is about following a clearly defined strategy, which is aligned to your business goals, to execute carefully planned campaigns that return qualified leads for your sales team to close. Focussed on lead generation, marketing will help to build your customer base with targeted leads, that you actually want to do business with, and give you the valuable insight of how to best engage them.


Helping you to establish a long-term relationship with your clients, marketing provides clarity to ensure your sales team is better prepared and more knowledgeable about the market, your competition and customers. Furthermore, it ensures that everyone across your organisation understands and can recite your company's key differentiators and competitive advantages - afterall, how can you expect your clients to understand what you're offering if everyone in your business has a different idea about who you are and what you do? 


Book your Readiness Assessment 


Whether you're new to marketing, or have already invested in it, our team has the skills, knowledge and experience to ensure you receive the best return on your investment, by facilitating better engagement with sales and communication flow with the rest of your organisation.


In our Readiness Assessment we will look at your current business, exploring in detail your sales strategy and the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. We can then identify areas for improvement and make recommendations on how to more closely align these powerful departments to help you move your transactional customers towards more valuable client relationships.


Book Your Readiness Assessment

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