With B2B customers, as I have mentioned earlier in my earlier posts, its difficult to get instantaneous decisions because of various reasons. These could vary from inertia to customers having to do cross functional team decisions, budgets and the works.
In most cases until the dissonance with the existing supplier is so large and repeated that the customer can no longer bear it, they don’t change. However in a bundle of 1000 prospects, the Dean Jackson “inevitability principle” eventually kicks in and some incumbents falter and that’s when you get a chance to stake your claim.
Now you need to be in front of the customer to stake your claim. In addition you should, on a consistent basis keep highlighting the possible challenges the customer could be facing.
For this you need to know your competition well. Competition could be from a company or an alternative technology. You need to understand the places competition is weak and then work your messaging to highlight the challenges the customer could be facing because of the those issues. These messages need to be about “rubbing salt over their wound” so that the pain gets even more highlighted.
Its not always possible to know all the challenges until you ask the customer and then hypothesize for others – since you have already focused on a narrow segment of the market. So if you get in front of a customer on the phone or in person or via web you need to check if they value the benefits that you offer versus what the incumbent does not have. You will then realize for yourself if those benefits matter to a decent set of your audience.
Once you have done that then the the key is to be persistent because we don’t know when the customer will decide to change. Also since customers do more than 60% of their research in the sales cycle even before they call the vendors, if you are not in front of them when they are doing the research, you won’t even get considered.
Till next time then.