In an industry where most companies have comparable offering (just take a look at Gartner's Magic Quadrant), the key differentiating factor will always be the people.
People buy from people and crucially, we tend to buy from people we know, like and trust. More specifically, we buy from those who understand and respond to our needs better than the rest. It's the "authentic human-to-human interaction" which is the difference maker, not the product.
This podcast with guest Mark Gyles (formerly of HPE) looks at how the B2B landscape is changing, notably stating that 47% of B2B decision makers trust employees over a brand’s marketing department AND content shared by brand advocates receives up to x8 more engagement than shares from branded accounts.
Why is this important?
In short, the online presence of your individual employees is much more important than ever before. HPE realised that if they could enable their vast army of subject matter experts, salespeople and consultants to have an authentic online presence, then these individuals could engage their own networks in a way that the branded outlets could never achieve!
The logic behind this is quite straightforward: we will engage with someone we know and trust. There is so much content available online, that we require a gatekeeper - someone we know and trust, and whose opinions and expertise we have faith in.
The benefits of empowering your team???
If B2B organisations can tap into the personalities of their employees and their rich, relevant networks, they will be unlocking increased credibility for the individual as well as the brand, greater brand awareness and an increased 'share of the voice' in the marketplace, never mind bottom line growth.
Why? Statistics showing the IT buyer behavior is changing spurred the decision to launch an employee social media advocacy program at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. An important fact Mark points out is how 47% of B2B decision makers are now trusting employees over a brand’s marketing department. Another factor was how many of Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s employees are influential subject matter experts with the ability to authentically reach audiences that are new to the brand. The modern landscape of today’s social media platforms increases the need for more than branded social networks...