Five Surefire Strategies to Help You Land More Business

 

Today’s networked economy never sleeps. And to make the most of it, your company can’t either. Ariba Discovery gives you a valuable leg up in this brave new world by acting as an “always-on” marketing campaign—conveying a clear message about your business that reaches potential buyers round the clock. The question is, does it say what your prospects and customers want to hear? The following five strategies can help you ensure that the answer is yes. By putting them into practice, you can turn more leads into relationships and win a greater percentage of new business.

 

Strategy #1: Deliver what buyers really want.

Extensive input from Ariba Discovery buyers shows that the following elements matter most when comparing sellers online:

 

  1. A fully completed profile. Ariba Discovery introduces your business to thousands of companies ready to buy what you sell, and your profile is one of the first things they see. Failing to complete your profile is like going on a date half dressed—you might get a reaction, but it probably won’t be the one you’re looking for. Take the time to provide all the information requested—paying special attention to your company headline and description as well as your commodities, industries, and the geographic territories you serve—so your completion score reaches 100 percent. This not only puts your best foot forward to potential customers, it also helps increase the relevance and quality of the matches you get. Follow the tips in this brief YouTube video to make sure your profile is top-notch.
  2. Your Dun & Bradstreet credit and risk scores.* Risk management is a key component of the vetting process when buyers seek new sellers. By providing the information they require up front, you save buyers time and strengthen your credibility, increasing the likelihood that you’ll be
    shortlisted for potential projects.
  3. References from other customers. Buying organizations are eager to learn about your business track record, and no one tells the story better than your happy customers. You can easily request references right within Ariba Discovery by going to the References tab under My Discovery (these step-by-step instructions will walk you through the process). The recommendations you receive will appear on your profile page, where prospective customers can review them to tip the scales in your favor. Be sure to keep your references current,
    since the “last updated” information is visible there as well.
  4. Green initiatives and diversity certifications. The growing emphasis on sustainability and diversity has sharply increased demand for sellers with green initiatives and diversity certifications, a trend that will only continue to grow. If you’re a woman-, veteran-, or minority-owned business or have SDB or ISO certification, include that information in your Ariba Discovery profile and upload any certificates that you have.* Doing so can give you a decided advantage over competitors who lack these credentials.

 

Strategy #2: Proactively manage new Ariba Discovery business opportunities. You’ll receive an email when a buyer posting is matched to your company’s capabilities. Follow up quickly by reviewing posting details and taking the steps outlined in Strategy #3. You can also check out new postings at any time by clicking the Leads tab within Ariba Discovery.

 

Strategy #3: Respond carefully and accurately to postings. The way you respond to postings gives buyers a clear indication of what you’ll be like to do business with, so treat each opportunity with the thoroughness and precision you’d use at any initial prospect meeting. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind:

 

  1. Don’t judge the book by its cover. Many Global 2000 companies use aliases on Ariba Discovery to protect project and business onfidentiality. Providing a well-considered, high-quality response to every posting may open bigger doors than you think.
  2. Review every aspect of the posting to make sure you understand the project scope and can provide exactly what the buyer is requesting.
  3. Supply all information the buyer asks for with as much detail as possible. Include links and attachments to help demonstrate your abilities to meet the stated requirements. Submit a bid amount only if requested to do so, since buyers may want to simply prequalify new sellers rather than receiving bids at this time.
  4. Make your company stand out. Be sure to describe patents, areas of expertise, unique delivery/manufacturing processes, value-added services, guarantees/warrantees, and similar qualifications that set you apart from competitors. Structure your response to create the best impact by including “need to know” information in the response field (where space is limited) and using the attachment feature to provide any “nice to know” reference materials.
  5. Use the question and answer tool at the bottom of the posting to obtain clarification on specific details. Remember that buyers are sensitive to the number and tone of questions they receive, so be concise and courteous with what you ask.

 

By taking these steps, you make the buyer’s job easier, which goes a long way towards helping you capture their business.

 

Strategy #4: View every posting you receive as a win. Sure, your primary focus may be to cement new relationships and land contracts. But each Ariba Discovery posting you get also provides valuable information that can work to your advantage—helping you identify emerging market opportunities and buyers that are actively purchasing in your commodity area, as well as specifics about what they need. Even if you don’t always come out on top, you can use what you learn to hone your response and approach, increasing your chances for future success.

 

Strategy #5: Uplevel your results. Subscribing to the Ariba Discovery Advantage or Advantage Plus package is one of the best ways to convince buyers you’re serious about wanting their business. Through premium profile features, higher display rankings in buyer search results, expert consulting services (at the Advantage Plus level), and other useful resources, these programs make it easier to distinguish your company from competitors. They also significantly boost your visibility among Ariba Discovery buyers—with Advantage subscribers attracting three times more views than those at the Standard level, and Advantage Plus sellers garnering nine times as many. Explore the benefits each level provides and sign up on this subscription overview page.

 

*Available to Advantage and Advantage Plus Discovery subscribers.

 

This article is part of the current issue of Ariba Supply Lines. Ariba Supply Lines is a quarterly newsletter that provides valuable tips, best practices, and the latest thinking to take your online business relationships with your buying customers to the next level.

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