If you operate within the B2B sector, it’s rather easy to inadvertently isolate yourself from other markets.
And, whilst businesses operating within the B2C space may not appear to be directly comparable with the way you run your organisation, it often pays to take a look at what others are doing in order to gain inspiration for running a tight ship and profitable enterprise.
That got me thinking – what if we were to pick one B2C sector and see how we can apply its techniques to that of a B2B business?
This led me to Ross Edwards, Managing Director of Travelworld Motorhomes, who was only too happy to offer an insight into how he has shaped his operation to deal with the rapidly changing face of the leisure industry.
Q: What are the biggest challenges facing the leisure industry currently and how are you tackling them?
Ross: “Customer satisfaction is essential, especially for customer retention. However, this can be challenging, as customers judge us against the motor trade industry and unfortunately the leisure industry is nowhere near as sophisticated.”
B2B lesson: The customer remains king, no matter the industry within which you operate, but you need to differentiate yourself and build a brand that isn’t afraid to be different in order to continually grow its customer base.
Q: How do you take advantage of social media and new technology in the leisure industry?
Ross: “As a dealership we have a large monthly budget for SEO (search engine optimisation) and PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns. We also have around five or six different social media platform campaigns, because social media provides instant connectivity which is very useful for launches and announcements. Forums are very popular in our industry as well, and we support them as best we can.”
B2B lesson: Businesses can now get closer to their customers than ever before, thanks to countless communication and social media platforms. When combined with healthy SEO and PPC budgets, you can devise a marketing strategy that is fit for the digital age.
Q: What’s the most important sales technique you rely on every day in the leisure industry?
Ross: “In our case it’s probably knowing our brand and products better than any of our competitors. We do this by specialising in and focusing our attention on fewer products.”
B2B lesson: Spreading yourself too thinly by offering countless products and services will result in a cumbersome operation that fails to capitalise significantly on any one area. By fine tuning your areas of speciality and ensuring top-notch in-house knowledge of products, you’ll create a far more focused, successful business.
Q: What’s the biggest mistake leisure industry start-ups make?
Ross: “In our side of the industry I would suggest it would be the heavy reliance on cash flow.”
B2B lesson: Business basics will never change, and if you take your eyes off cashflow, your lovingly-crafted enterprise could quickly take a turn for the worse. Profitability and cashflow should therefore be constantly scrutinised.
Businesses operating in the leisure industry encounter regular challenges, but those that share Ross’ drive remain ahead of the game, because they’re willing to adapt to changing market conditions and a more tech-literate customer base.
I hope the lessons above will inspire any B2B business owner battling against similar market challenges.
Mark Ellis is a freelance writer who specialises in copywriting, blogging and content marketing for businesses of all sizes. Mark’s considerable experience at director level and deep interest in personal and business success means he’s ready to comment on anything from freelance writing to workplace dynamics, technology and personal improvement.