Trust is not a new thing when it comes to marketing and communications as evidenced by one of the most awaited studies in the communications world is always the annual Edelman Public Relations Trust Barometer.
Trust is not a new thing in the world of sales either – its a fact that people enjoy buying from people that they trust and in B2B Marketing part of our job is to shorten the time spent building trust so sales can have an easier time and focus on selling.
Social Media changes that and elevates Trust to the individual level. This is actually good news for the B2B Marketer. We get to help our thought leaders build trust virtually before they even walk in the door. Building demand for their unique point of view.
I think the element of Trust in B2B Marketing runs deeper and is more important than in B2C Marketing which makes it a really unique attribute when it comes to B2B Marketing since it is much more critical to the sale.
If you can combine the element of Trust across a wide range of fans, followers and advocates then you have a community. The word community is often overused now that Social Media has come along. But think of it here as an audience that you have built by creating and publishing attractive content that engages them with your thought leaders. Social Media gives you this great gift of the ability to create community because you publish content on a regular basis – think of the way publishers have created community around their brand and their editors – the same holds true for B2B marketers.
Other than selling to your existing customer base which is always the shortest time to cash sale that you can find in any B2B organization – I see not trouble envisioning that your community is the 2nd best place to find and create a sale. Prospects who have been listening to you, watching what you publish and responding to your content are already working their way up the Awareness to Consideration to Purchase cycle. Its just up to you to get them the right offer in order to get them to buy!