Networking is the Number One driver of sales in regards to successful marketing strategies, with advertising and website e-commerce the next most effective tools, a survey reveals.
It seems that developing and cultivating relationships with the right people is regarded as the key driver of sales when marketing a business, according to a new report published by catalogue marketing specialist Catalogues 4 Business (C4B).
The report questioned more than 300 UK organisations as part of research into corporate marketing strategies. Respondents to the study were drawn from a diverse mix of businesses, both B2B and B2C, which spanned multiple industry sectors.
Of the companies that participated, 24% considered networking to be the key marketing asset that delivered the most sales. This was followed by advertising (19%), using an e-commerce website (17%), having a field sales force (16%) and social media (14%).
Ian Simpson, managing director of C4B said: “Networking has been a business staple since selling began. 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.”
The report also revealed that despite being the key driver of sales for those businesses that actively used it as a marketing instrument, only 39% of companies claimed to do so – although it was still the most widely used form of marketing. The second most popular form of marketing was via email (34%), followed by advertising (33%) and a website without ecommerce, joint with social media (both 31%).
Three of the top sales drivers – networking, advertising and social media – were amongst the top five most commonly used methods. However, when it came to the success of results, email marketing and a non-ecommerce website were at ninth and tenth respectively in terms of popularity, with a field sales force at eleventh. An ecommerce website, despite being the third most effective form of marketing sales generation, was thirteenth in the popularity stakes, with only one in five businesses (20%) adopting it as a tool.
Simpson added: “What was particularly interesting for us as catalogue marketers was the fact that despite only being the twelfth most popular form of marketing, catalogues were actually joint sixth with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) when it came to looking at sales delivery. 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.”