Reaching corporate decision makers can be tough.
B2B marketers have a whole arsenal of strategies and tactics to our disposal: buyer persona’s, content, SEA, SEO, event marketing, advertising and social. You name it.
You give yourself 100%, developing the most fantastic message you ever made.
This is it. Now you nailed it. This got to work. It’s perfect. You press the start button of your campaign. And nothing happens. Or hardly anything happens. 2% conversion. 4% conversion. Anybody want more?
And that’s what happens over and over again.
Corporate decision makers are…
… stressed-out, overwhelmed with everything they need to do. They have ever-increasing objectives, which seem increasingly difficult to achieve, which can cost their job if not reached.
They don’t wanna expose their position by taking big risks. They don’t want to make mistakes. They are drowning in information. They get on average 150 e-mails per day. Decision makers, on average, have 59 hours of work on their desk at any time.
And above all, they are immune to marketing.
Corporate decisions makers don’t want…
They’ve seen it all. Slick sales people passing by the gatekeepers. Slick stories from strangers. At the end of the telephone conversation, all these strangers want, is the money in your pockets.
You only have 1 chance to get through to them. Moments of interaction with corporate decisions makers are short and rare. If your content and your timing is off, they won’t even give you that moment.
- Waste their time
- Expect them to tell you about their business
- Give them a product bump
- Expect them to infer the value
What Corporate decisions makers want
They are risk averse. They have too much information.
But what they definitely want is:
- Help me achieve my goals
- Give me ideas on how to make a quantifiable difference
- Show me how others are achieving results
- Show me the big picture
“Decision makers believe they know the destination, but they have a problem getting there”
Making Stuff Up
Usually what happens when marketers are developing content for buyers is the following: marketers and sales get together. They start thinking about how to link business issues of customers with your product offering. Then they try to imagine what customers think.
Oh, yes, then there is the mandatory review round with the VP or CEO. They don’t agree, or feels something is missing. They know less than the product manager or business development manager. But they have a stronger opinion. Or they are higher up the food chain.
The whole thing is changed, and endlessly reviewed. As a result, the whole thing is watered down to generalities. Which waste the time of corporate decision makers.
(If you recognize this situation, let me know in the comment box below, so you can comfort me a bit that I’m not alone with this thought ;-))
Giving what they want
So they want you to help them to achieve their goals. Then help them.
They want ideas how to make a quantifiable difference. Then give them ideas.
They want to know how others have achieved results. Then show them.
They want to understand the bigger picture. Then explain them.
Our job as B2B marketer is isn’t difficult. Would you agree?
Tom De Baere
“In many businesses (especially in B2B), the marketing department is an order-taking, tactical function that runs on the hamster-wheel of demand generation, trying to keep up with “client” orders for new collateral, press releases, case studies and, at times, marketing-qualified leads (MQLs).”
This is a quote from Robert Rose. You can find the quote on many blogs on the Internet.
It’s quoted this often because many marketers recognize the situation. Somehow they end up in a spin of trying to solve problems all day, and deliver on the internal demands. They are hard working, and provide a lot of output.
But it’s never enough. Read more
Successful organizations take on a content strategy as a centrepiece of their activities. It’s not an add-on. It’s strategic. Getting buy-in from the organization can be difficult, but doable. More difficult is getting people motivated to build that strategic content.
How do you get an organization to take on content as a strategic part of the business? Here are 5 key tactics that help building a culture of content.
How do you create a culture of content creation and education, internally and externally?
1. Find out what your colleagues care about?
When people do their job well, they get praised. Or get a raise. Or get promoted.
That’s what drives people.
A great way to make content creation a company wide activity is to embed it into what they care about.
- Service engineers care about solving a customers’ problem
- Project managers care about delivering a project on time, within budget, above customer expectations
- Training managers care about good feedback from trainees
- Customer support care about how they excelled in helping customers
Find out what makes these people ‘tick’, and let them write it down. Let them know that you expect this from them. Help them in “airing” their personal success stories, insights and helpful stories. And if they do, praise them in public. Read more
So many solutions are available to B2B companies today.
Increasingly products are being industrialized to be cheaper to produce, and cheaper to sell. In B2B, and in high value goods, pricing is less important. Value is more important. But value is increasingly brought by more and more competitors. Competitors with cheaper prices. And in the end price pressure comes back.
That’s got to end one day. One day your value doesn’t cut it anymore.
Where do you differentiate when market values and prices are converging? When your market is becoming a “red ocean” again?
B2B companies don’t buy your products. They buy your vision.
Recently I had to choose a new website builder. After a short RFI procedure, three companies where selected. Pricing was ranging from low to mid to high.
Which company did I buy from?
- Not the company with the best product.
- Not the company with the best account manager.
- Not the company with the best price.
I bought from the company that had a vision that aligned with my vision.
Or, their vision aligned with my vision.
How do you align your vision with the needs of your customers?
This might sound like a sales technique.
It’s not a sales technique.
- Deloitte wants to excel in everything they do.
- IBM wants to lead in IT technology that brings value to their customers
- Cisco’s vision is to change the way people work, live, play and learn
- Philips made simplicity part of their vision.
- Apple made design and usability their vision.
- Amazon made ease to buy and choice their vision.
These are the visions of these B2B and B2C companies.