Bridging the gap between buyers and suppliers is a crucial step in doing B2B business. Finding a vendor online with the right capabilities, capacity, and quality performance for the job is no easy task and takes more than a few clicks through one’s search results engines.
Be++ featured digital entrepreneur Sharon Melamed, who founded Matchboard, a business matching platform that helps buyers match with the right suppliers. We talked about finding the perfect match for your business, generating leads, and how digital transformation continues to mold today’s B2B transactions.
Eight years ago, Sharon saw the tedious process that business buyers often underwent in order to find the right supplier for their business. Just like any digital entrepreneur today, Sharon wanted to provide a solution and so she founded Matchboard in 2012 with the vision to help companies find their perfect match suppliers.
Matchboard, as Sharon puts into words, is the business equivalent of an online dating site. Instead of putting in keywords, companies can put in filters to help them narrow down their search results for the right supplier. You can put in filters like budget, service, location, industry experience, and many more in order to find the right supplier who meets your criteria.
What makes Matchboard unique from its competitors is its unique business model. Matchboard lets the supplier and buyer deal with each other directly and only charges a fee once a supplier has successfully won a new business. Unlike other business matching platforms that charge per lead, Matchboard follows a “pay-per-success” model, a business model that is based on radical trust.
Many business experts discouraged Sharon from this idea at first, but Sharon was happy to prove them wrong. Sharon followed her gut feeling and launched two business models — the pay per lead fee model and the pay per success model. The pay per success fee model won in the end and the pay per lead fee model was phased out within six months of its launch.
Sharon was aware that this new business model was risky, but she was confident with it. With 15 years of experience in working for a Japanese company, Sharon adopted the Japanese approach in doing business, which is building relationships and trust with your clients over the long-term.
When dealing with a lean budget for lead generation, you have to think outside the box.
Aside from SEO, one way to organically generate leads is by tapping the media through press releases. Contact big publications, pitch your story, and make sure that it’s newsworthy. Get straight to the point to get your message across.
LinkedIn is another platform that you can use for free if you want to build awareness for your brand. Sharon states that LinkedIn even accounts for about 10% of the leads that they generated. Building your brand on LinkedIn takes a lot of time and effort but it’s a good investment once you have put the hard work in.
At the end of the day, it all boils down to staying on top of the mind of your customers. It can be as simple as putting up a weekly newsletter and encouraging your current roster of clients to subscribe to it. Sharon acknowledges that your clients may love you, but with how fast and competitive the industry is, they may also tend to forget about you. The most important thing is to make sure to keep your clients engaged all the time. More often than not, upselling to your current clients is far more easier than trying to attract new customers.
Building relationships and trust with your clients over the long-term is no easy task either but in this day and age, it’s something that would mutually be beneficial for you and your client in the long run. In the midst of the pandemic, it’s important to regularly check in with your people and your clients more than ever. Know how they’re doing during these uncertain times. Ask them if there’s any way you can help and how you can assist them better. You might be surprised at how ready clients are to have these conversations.
If there’s one thing the pandemic has taught us, it’s how to be human more than anything else. Be proactive in being helpful. Aside from getting the right supplier that meets your business requirements, finding the perfect match for your business also requires fostering good business relationships.
Abhii Dabas is an active member of the tech community, and through his companies (including Webpuppies), he conducts outreach programs across different universities with a focus on entrepreneurship. Over the past months, he has already trained over 1,000 university students to help them prepare to join the workforce.
Sharon Melamed is the founder and managing director of Matchboard, a business matchmaking platform that simplifies and speeds up the way companies find suppliers online. Sharon is currently based in Sydney, Australia. Sharon has lived in five continents, speaks five languages, and is an accredited translator of both Japanese and German. With over 25 years of experience in sales, service, and global outsourcing, Sharon is changing the way that companies conduct B2B business by creating an innovative business matchmaking model.