Early Adopters it’s time for action!!

I think it’s safe to say that yet another marketing term can be added to the B2B vocabulary bucket, that of social commerce or sCommerce. By now most of you should have signed up to Groupon, Living Social, Voucher Cloud and the raft of other coupon based social networks and are hopefully taking advantage of all the available deals. What you may not of seen is the B2B social marketplaces such as Huddlebuy (UK) and Bizydeal (US) popping up. There’s also a good chance the major sCommerce B2C players will no doubt jump on the B2B wagon any time now. 

A new born fawn

While this is all very new still (Huddlebuy soft launched in Jan and are keeping their numbers closely guarded), there is most definitely an opportunity to test this as a viable platform, become an early adopter and market your products and services. It’s fairly obvious how you can take advantage of these services from a buying perspective, but how can you add this new found channel into your marketing strategy? 

The first rule of social commerce club
Prepare yourself, services like Groupon can have unlimited take up on deals, this varies on some of the B2B platforms, some provide only limited take up on deals, others will let people apply for as many deals as they wish, regardless of the amount of deals available to the user. Get yourself ready to service your customer to the best of your ability, this may mean training up sales staff or your customer support teams on:

  • Who a B2B social commerce customer is (an opportunist that’s in for the quick deal)
  • How to interact with them
  • Make sure they have all the details of the deal
  • What sales funnel/journey they need to be taken on

Create a killer deal
The more your deal spreads and gains uptake, the more brand awareness you will receive. While all of these deals are cost based, why not add some further value to the deal to get yourself noticed. These may take the form of ‘how to guides’, relevant research or perhaps productivity savings.

A longer sales cycle
It’s important to add restrictions to your deal, essentially the normal terms you would apply to any promotion. One of these is time, we all know that the B2B sales cycle is longer, while you can give users the option to show interest/claim the deal within a short period of time, you may find it beneficial to allow them a longer period of time to claim the deal.

Get their contact details
Groupon for instance does not provide any details of its users, fortunately it would seem that its B2B counterparts are happy to negotiate the contact details you require, ask yourself what do you really need to communicate to the audience after the deal is done (less is more, chances are really only an email address). Make sure when they do get in contact and mention the deal you gather more details; names, addresses, company names etc. People are much more forth-coming over the phone or face-to-face.

Don’t just take the quick win!
Ok ok so this has something to do with the initial sale/deal, but you must consider the long term strategy, it can be far more about brand awareness, lead nurturing and Social CRM after the sale. Lead you customers down the sales cycle, develop a method to generate re-occurring sales and continue the conversation.

Socialising your transactions
We’ve covered the platforms that allow social commerce in a B2B environment but really, social commerce has been around from the minute product reviews became available. How can you use social commerce in your marketing comms and make your promotions and deals shareable? This may be as simple as adding sharethis.com widgets to your site. But really, it’s more about making it easy for your customers to let their networks know they have done business with you, I would consider connections and recommendations, a form of socialising B2B transactions, even if it’s not directly focused around a sale or deal. www.linkedin.com/in/brandjoe

Written for B2B Marketing Magazine

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