Can You Use SMS Messaging in B2B Sales?
Let’s get the obvious out of the way. B2B marketing really is business to one person.
It’s just that one person is playing a role in the buying process, rather than making their own purchasing decisions. For a small business, one person may play all the roles in the entire process. For larger companies there may be many people involved in the process of making a buying decision.
But you already know that if you’re in B2B sales or marketing. What you may not know, is how willing those various people are to use their own mobile for business.
It’s a well-known fact the majority of people keep their mobile within arm’s reach at all times. It turns out many of them are keeping it close to use it for business.
According to eMarketer, 89% of business people surveyed in the UK say they use their mobile phone for work – outside office hours. Around 49% of those say they do so for ten or more hours per week. Remember, those numbers are for time outside scheduled office hours.
Other data from IDC (quoted in the eMarketer report) showed that business people use their mobile devices for research too. Nearly 20% use mobiles for research more than 75% of the time. Another 37% use mobiles between 50-70%.
Since buyers are usually 60% or more into their buying process before talking to a sales rep, it’s important to get in front of them early in the research process.
Another Inbound Channel
B2B buyers need information. Emarketer says the types of information they want most is:
- Case studies and success stories
- Shares from peers
- Value over sales pitch
Those are all things you probably provide via email.
Have you explored the option of sending them via SMS too?
You can run an opt in campaign the same way you do for email. Let the buyer then choose whether to sign up for SMS delivery or email in the contact form. If it’s clear you’ll only send them relevant information – updated case studies, webinar invitations, or technical information – they may be just as likely to sign up for SMS as email.
What is the benefit? Well, SMS open rates are much higher than email. The usual statistic thrown around is that 98% of SMS messages are read within three minutes. Also click through rates on SMS messages are much higher as well – sometimes ten times as high as email.
So if you send links to your content to a buyer via SMS while they are researching, it’s more likely they will see it. They’ll be more familiar with your brand. And assuming what you offer matches what they are looking for, your company could end up on their short list when it comes time to contact sales.
In addition, B2B professionals like to share the information they find. The eMarketer report said that 59% of them share content via email. At the same time though, companies say they suffer horrible open rates on those emails.
Now consider how sending out content via SMS might change things. B2B professionals value the shares they get from peers, SMS has the highest open rate of any communication method, and a click through rate ten times email. If you add that up, you’ll find many more B2B professionals seeing your content than if you send via email.
To sum it up, I’ll quote from a Hubspot article published a few years ago, “[D]on’t be scared of SMS, it can be better than email if you use it properly as a content communications supplement”.
The take-away is simple: SMS is just another inbound marketing channel.
So why not start using it today?
Four years ago, reputable commentators in The Guardian were wondering if SMS - short message service or text messaging - had peaked in performance after a two-decade exponential rise. Here we look at the evidence which shows that SMS is not only going strong, but continuing to stand out as an essential marketing channel for many businesses.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way. B2B marketing really is business to one person. It’s just that one person is playing a role in the buying process, rather than making their own purchasing decisions. But you already know that if you’re in B2B sales or marketing. What you may not know, is how willing those various people are to use their own mobile for business.
Is SMS messaging a good investment of your business’ time and money? A report from Mobile Ecosystem Forum shares some data on how SMS is being used, who is using it, and provides some evidence showing the answer to that question is most likely “Yes”!
Are startups afraid of using SMS marketing? Is it because they’re afraid of annoying customers and breaking the regulations? I don’t think so. If your startup isn’t using SMS marketing already, it’s probably because you don’t know all the facts. Find out why SMS is actually perfect for startups.