Good old-fashioned networking has beaten off 21st-century marketing strategies to be named the most effective sales driver.
A recent study by Catalogues 4 Business revealed that identifying the right people in business and building relationships with them is the most powerful sales generator when it comes to marketing your business. Advertising and ecommerce turned out to be next on the list, unable to swipe the top spot from old-school networking.
The study involved over 300 UK organisations which were spread across a number of B2B and B2C industries. From that group, almost a quarter (24%) reported networking to be the most effective strand of their marketing efforts. Meanwhile, advertising received 19% of the votes, using an ecommerce website got 17% , 16% thought that having a field sales force was the best sales generator, and 14% considered it to be social media.
“Networking has been a business staple since selling began,” commented managing director of Catalogues 4 Business, Ian Simpson. “If you’ve got good relationships with people, then they’re more likely to buy from you. Whether a market stallholder in ancient Rome, or a modern day multi-national, having solid relationships with the key people provides a good return. It would be easy to assume that in the modern world, with face-to-face contact seemingly becoming less and less necessary, that networking would’ve fallen by the wayside. But our report demonstrates that clearly isn’t the case.”
However, according to the study, there is not necessarily a correlation between the success of a marketing technique and its popularity. For example, despite being named the third most effective sales tool, ecommerce websites were way down the scale at 13th when it came to the most commonly used strategies – with only one in five businesses having one. Interestingly, email marketing and non-ecommerce sites were more widely used, coming in and ninth and tenth, despite being cited as less effective.
Ian commented: “There seems to be a real mix between the level of success and the spread of implementation. Obviously this depends on the nature of the business, but perhaps companies should be more explorative in their approach.”