In yesterday’s post I spoke about the pain (fear of) and pleasure (gain of) and how you can use it to get your message to stick with a prospect.
I have written multiple times earlier on the idea of a Single Target Market and how you can niche a segment further based on usage. This comes in useful when you want to build your messaging.
As an example you niched your B2B market by industry, then you further niched it by revenue. Now if you niche it further based on whether you are targeting prospects who intend to buy your kind of product or service for the first time or are you targeting prospects for whom this is a replacement. Another could be a backup to the main product for insurance purposes.
Once you have chosen the usage, you can now get into the shoes of the prospect and think what could go on in their mind. If its a first time buyer – you could help that company with messaging entered around evaluating your kind of offering from an unbiased angle. On the other hand if its a replacement market that you are targeting, then you could talk of how the technology has changed and how by replacing the old technology they could get more benefits.
Based on the usage criteria, the team of people to whom you will send the message, will also change. For the replacement market in the industry, you may need to talk to the operations or maintenance folks, while if its for the first time usage you may need to talk to the project folks. Each of these folks has a different “view of life” and hence the problems that you address and the education that you have to do is different.
You need to know your end game and then work backwards such that you have a delighted customer. Its only when you delight a customer can you hope to get referrals and move further to dominate that market.
Till next time then.
In the last two posts I had written about building trust and reducing fear in the B2B marketplace.
One of the best ways to build trust is to educate the customer. But you can’t educate the customer if you cannot think like them and understand the conversation going on in their mind (Robbert Collier said that). Only if you can understand the questions they could have, when wanting to buy something for which you have a product / service , will you be able to educate them.
In B2B scenarios typically cycle times are quite large, especially for things which are part of a plan. There are some things which are needed because of some emergency and get done quickly. Otherwise the work on a B2B project could start about 3-6 months before they actually place an order.
Depending on the size of the companies you are targeting, the level of the person who would be looking for the information will change. Also in very large organisations, they may actually employ specialised consultants for helping them on certain decisions in choosing vendors.
The other challenge is that until you have some amazing new Hitech gizmo, chances are that they may already have a vendor providing those product or services . If that be the case, then the kind of education that you will need to provide also changes.
Today information is available freely to everyone. Large companies employ hundreds of employees, some of whom can be tasked to do the research and fetch the information. What is needed by the leaders is actionable guidance. This makes the task of educating a B2B customer tougher.
If you provide products or services that are widely available and the customer already has an incumbent, then your education should be directed more towards educating for creating dissonance. Typically all the issues that you have seen customers face before they started using you.
Till next time then.
In my earlier post on this topic I spoke of the challenge for a new vendor to enter into an organisation. But there’s a positive side of this story. Once you enter the organisation and do a good job and the customer starts trusting you, then you will stay in that organisation for a very long time. Decisions in organisations are rarely impulsive, therefore they will always prefer to go with the vendor who is an incumbent and whom they trust.
So how do you build trust & reduce the fear-
- Ideal situation is when you have enough other customers vouching for your product or service. If they are from the same industry as the prospect you are targeting, even better.
- Provide continuous education on what’s new and what they could be missing – there are three things in this sentence. First is “continuous” – you have to be reaching your prospects regularly and creating an impression in their minds, so that when the time comes and the incumbent is not in a position to provide them the service, they reach out to you. The Second item in the sentence is – “What’s new” – keep talking about the new technologies, new case studies etc. so that the customer understands that you are doing a lot of work and others are trusting you. And the last item is on “What they could be missing” – with their existing supplier – this is to create a wedge, start a cycle of dissonance with the incumbent. This could be a simple thing like talking about how at each of your other customers’ premises you provide a dedicated project manager to ensure smooth operations. Now if the incumbent is not providing this facility, then the customer will start getting a feeling of missing on a service.
- Always be upfront in what you can do very well and what you can’t do. When you first get a chance – it could be a trial or a Proof of Concept, never do anything in this phase which is not your best item. Only when the prospect gets convinced at this stage, will they decide to move forward with you.
Out of the three points above, with marketing you can systematise the second point and ensure that there is constant education happening for the prospects. This background activity will slowly result in your name becoming more familiar. With familiarity, some amount of trust starts developing. As the trust starts getting built, they may start inviting you to discuss on things which they are coming up with to see if they can accommodate you.
Till next time then……
The appreciation of the difference in the words Compelling & Convincing, and its implications in marketing was made possible due to Dean Jackson. I would highly recommend his podcasts Morecheeselesswhiskers.com and his podcast with Joe Polish, Ilovemarketing.com.
Whenever you place an argument in front of a person, even with all the data in the world and show them a conclusion, they will be resistive to it. If the conclusion is not drawn by the person herself, she will always try to find the “catch”. What is it that she’s missing.
On the other hand if you educate a person and logically lead them on a path, then the conclusion that they draw is their own and then they are compelled to look at you.
Look at Apple. They have well designed products no doubt. But look at the closed hierarchy of systems they have created. Every few months they have some global launch in which they showcase how the integration between their products and the newer technologies they are launching will make your life even more comfortable.
Till about 4 -5 years back we didn’t have a single Apple device, we now have 8. And my family members wait when a new item is getting launched. Apple does not try to convince them to buy, but they have got so strongly hooked into the Apple ecosystem, they will give you all the reasons why you should not buy anything else.
A person who is compelled to take action will be your customer for a long time because she has taken the decision based on the education you have given her.
So instead of trying to convince people to your point of view, give them the tools by educating them and compel them to take an informed decision.
Till next time then.