Marketing teams in the B2B world spend thousands of hours carefully crafting marketing materials aimed at communicating the value proposition of their products and services. We’ve all seen the fancy PDFs filled with product specs, wordsmith messages, and impressive visuals designed to capture the essence of the solution being pitched. Marketers responsible for putting together these materials also go through great efforts training sales teams on how to access and leverage marketing collateral with customers. Unfortunately, throughout my 12 years as a marketing and sales consultant, I have never heard sales teams talk about how their fancy marketing fluff increased their effectiveness during the sales process.
The reality is that in B2B markets, purchases are essentially economic transactions, where buyers are trying to make rational tradeoffs on how to best allocate their limited resources. In this context, marketing collateral often fails to answer the most compelling questions from customers. “How is your solution better than your competitors and by how much will your solution impact my bottom line?”
In addition, buying decisions in B2B require consensus among a diverse set of stakeholders with varying needs and motivations. No matter how much effort goes into developing that three-ring-binder of marketing collateral, many unanswered questions will remain from folks that can significantly influence a purchasing decision. It is also really hard for sales teams to keep track and absorb the latest marketing materials produced by the marketing teams month after month.
So what is a B2B marketer to do to support a more effective sales team?
- Enable sales teams to have meaningful interactions with customers to uncover the monetary benefits of their solutions relative to the competition.
- Develop the hypotheses/formulas/logic and lay out a structure for capturing unique customer inputs needed to quantify the key sources of differentiation of the proposed solution.
- Provide a platform that allows sales teams to create customer-specific value propositions simply by asking the right questions that drive a discussion focused on value.
- Make it easy for sales teams to produce powerful value propositions that can be shared with customers to demonstrate the economic benefits delivered by your solution.
- Create an on-going feedback mechanism that allows the organization to capture the unique operational characteristics shared by customers in order to identify better ways to support customer needs over time.
Again, the goal is to give sales teams the ability to answer the two main questions from B2B buyers: “How is your solution better than your competitors and by how much will your solution impact our bottom line?” Do you think that your sales team can close more deals or attain higher margins by creating the type of value propositions that address what customers really care about? You betcha!
Director of Professional Services, LeveragePoint