1. Smart Industry and Business Directories are Much More than Name, Number, and Address
By 2020, the U.S. B2B online sales market is expected to reach over $1.0 trillion. In this competitive market, buyers are spending more time searching supplier websites for the best prices and reliable goods and services. The challenge for online suppliers is to provide the lowest prices with the highest quality while being first in front of buyers. The cost of keyword bidding for online advertising can be astronomical which quickly cuts into profits. Smart directories are an effective alternative that can make a difference. They are low-cost, comprehensive channels that allow prospective buyers, suppliers, and marketing professionals to identify and contact businesses that share mutual needs.
Smart directories are searchable platforms that contain valuable information about business capabilities that buyers use when searching for qualified suppliers. The days of registering name, phone number, and address are over. This article discusses how smart directories have evolved into tools used for Market Research, bringing buyers and sellers together.
2. Custom Matching: Search Through Thousands of Businesses in Seconds
Smart directories allow buyers to automatically identify, assess, and pre-qualify potential supplier capabilities without completing manual searches. A good directory service should identify businesses based on specified industry sector, target market, NAICS codes or special designation such as size, number of employees, or gross annual sales. Smart directories provide insight into the number of business types located between different U.S. regions or states, and similar business counts by state or region. Based on search criteria, lists of businesses should be presented in the form of digital business cards, including contact information of decision-makers, email, phone number, address, and website URL. Digital business cards allow easy review of search results which can be exported into a list or CRM. When registering with a smart directory, it’s essential to provide as much information about a business’ capabilities. This saves valuable time allowing buyers to pre-qualify their business and confirm whether next steps make sense. Annual revenue, size of orders they can fulfil, and niche products or services supplied are essential to include.
Being able to pre-qualify capabilities using a smart directory saves time and money for both buyers and suppliers since capability and mutual business interests are confirmed before initial contact is made. Directories such as AllBizOps have the ability for buyers to post Request for Proposals (RFPs) and other qualifying criteria that suppliers can respond to which speeds up the buying process. Websites like Alibaba, are e-commerce platforms providing the capability for suppliers to post products for sale which buyers still need to search for best pricing. Unlike e-commerce platforms, smart directories focus on publishing buyer needs, saving buyers time from having to search through thousands of potential suppliers before making purchases.
3. Promote Your Business Online
Registering with a smart directory is an excellent way to promote a business online without having to spend substantial time and money on paid advertisements or SEO experts. This is a great way to get noticed online and gain the trust of internet search engines. Good directories have established internet traffic and provide businesses with greater exposure to potential customers and markets that are otherwise difficult to target. Obtaining website backlinks from directories may improve a business SEO ranking and Domain Authority. Since Google is constantly changing it’s ranking algorithm, make sure to check it’s policies before taking on too many directory backlinks.
4. Online Market Research
Market analysis may seem complex, but it’s necessary if you want to lead a business in the direction of success. Within an industry is a target market, which is a group of potential customers that a product or service appeals. Market competition is alternative products that are available to buyers within a market. A market analysis describes each of these factors, as well as the way a business positions itself to benefit from market opportunities. With advances in technology, Smart Directories are now used as Online market research tools which provide most information needed to complete market analysis. Smart Industry Directories, discussed in the AllBizOps Blog, confirm strategic target markets, income potential, competitor position, and bargaining power of buyers and suppliers. Smart directories now provide Business Intelligence that can be customized to target markets, allowing businesses to complete market analysis to confirm profitability and commercial feasibility of their goods and services. Directories automatically identify potential customers, how much they spend, size of the company, geographic location, and competitor position. Using smart directories has much potential, is low risk, and inexpensive. It’s important to complete thorough market research before investing in advertising. Think of all the money spent today on online advertising! Most advertisers pay thousands of dollars monthly and get it wrong.
5. Real Time Business Opportunities and Sales Lead Generation
Using smart directories allows businesses to learn about customers while completing market research. This is not by accident. Directories are now designed to account for workflow needed to complete market research and provide value through every step of the market analysis process. When an analysis is complete, a business should know all about ideal target markets, understand competitors, demographics, promote their business online, and create a business listing that buyers can use to see if a business qualifies as a potential supplier. Smart directories should provide lists of potential buyers that can be contacted as “Hot Leads” that keep the sales pipeline full of prospects. Directories also allow buyers to post RFPs, RFIs, and RFQs along with qualifying criteria designed to bring buyers and sellers together in real or near time. Sales cycles are shrinking and the drive to close deals quickly, at low costs, are being addressed by smart directories.
Technology has paved the way for traditional business directories to become smarter, helping businesses connect as a low-cost alternative to digital and Social Media marketing/advertising. Excessive costs, risks, and unknowns for businesses using digital marketing are motivating technology companies and competitors to come up with better alternatives. The demand of buyers that conduct business online is creating the opportunity for smart directories to fill the gaps created by the exponential growth of B2B online sales. Directories are an old concept and evolving into new technology platforms that will address these gaps and much more.