Complex sales need the right approach:
Today’s businesses face two strong headwinds
· a world wide competition, enabled by free market policies,
· a Customer in command, enabled by the collapse of information barriers
Customers can choose the best fitting solution and ask to be delivered front door the same day from the other side of the globe, without that any import or regulation barrier can stop it.
They can be informed anywhere - anytime about the benefit competing solutions can offer, right at their fingertips, through latest smartphone technologies. They do not even need to reach specific location to see how it works; drones can do it.
This is changing the way marketing is done
· Content Marketing has become the way to capture Google Searches attention, before than capture Customer’s attention
· Social Engagement has substitute the Customer Satisfaction practices aimed at Customers loyalty and assure the retention of their re-purchase value.
· Interruption Marketing, the commercials we were used to air, have been substituted by more subtle Inbound Marketing algorithms popping on screens
· The effort in building memorable Brands have been substituted by behavioral studies aimed at influencing the “Click” without even thinking, on a button.
How this has impacted the B2B Marketing?
These swift changes have added to an already not very clear “B2B marketing job” into industrial organizations, with conflicts, diminishment and waste of resources.
· Most of the marketing instruments are borrowed by Consumer Marketing, that uses communication to target Millions and harvest lower single digits, instead than target hundreds and aim to strike them all.
· The programmatic “outsourcing” nature of the solution, privileges the Customer - Sales Representative relations, at the expenses of marketing’s role: the Account Manager “knows” the upcoming orders before marketing.
· The past bad habit to a “constant growth” scenario, has allowed the Leadership to neglect the exercise of building strategic plans capable to influence the future leads generation, with consequences that are now clear.
On top of this, new marketing models have jeopardized Marketing Operations.
The quest for competing innovation has forced to add new frameworks
The Crisis has given a dramatic wake up call to all the ones who were relying on natural demand growth. Financial deregulation, Technology disruption have added further complexity to the management of market understanding, while the lack of spontaneous demand forces the Companies to introduce innovation in the hope to conquer share. One can not avoid to understand these innovation models anymore:
· How competing innovation can disrupt entire industries
· How to be Lean in startup-ing new business models
· How to maximize solution’s value with proper use of the Internet of Things
Sincerely, the industrial marketer job has become a quite tough one.
Fixing some definition can help get off with the right foot
Clearing the path to manage Complex Sales Marketing, requires to start from a better understanding of the buying process of industrial organizations.
Into industrial organizations, Sourcing is a job.
This is a fundamental difference with the Consumer Client:
· a B2B Client must buy, a Consumer Client needs to be motivated;
· a Buyer must solve an existing problem, a Consumer is driven by emotions;
· a Buyer needs help to take informed decisions, Consumers want to dream;
· a Buyer is a targeted and educated audience, Consumers is mass selling.
Into industrial organizations, Buyer and User are almost always separate personas.
Understanding the buying process means to find who is in charge of:
· The Decision process, from who trigged the need to the final user
· The Evaluation process and the mechanisms that select the solution
· The Purchasing process and how perceived risks can be addressed
· The Loyalty process, and how it impacts on re-purchase and referral
Rejecting the B2B / B2C categories is the beginning of new marketing
The distinction among B2B and B2C is meaningless. A much more effective categorization can be based on other criteria: the impact of the purchasing action on the life of the buyer.
The longer the buyer will live with the consequences of the purchasing action, the more considerate will be the buying process. Marketing operations should be tailored to address, influence and simplify this process.
The real distinction therefore is among:
· Impulse purchase: whrere targeting the consumer is about building memorable brand awareness and assure a seamless purchasing experience
· Low considerate sales: still in the realm of consumer experience, it’s about offering content as part of the experience, possibly reviewed by social network peers.
· Complex Sales: here the buyer is distinct by the user. The buyer will live the consequences of the decision made in the years to come, if not in the full life.
For complex sales has no meaning to describe the “day in the life” of the buyer. Complex sales happens when and if trigged, often by un-expected events. That “day”, the day when something happened that moved the buyer, it’s almost unique.
The distinction therefore is among:
· “Day Changing” purchasing decisions
· “Life Changing” purchasing decisions.
In the first case marketers should follow Content Marketing, in the second case:
Nevertheless, many industrial marketing organizations continue to apply marketing models more apt to help other kind of sales:
· The ones who can afford: rely on heavy spending, in an effort to build trust.
· The ones that can not afford it: spend only in building Account Relationships, leaving to the customers all the burden of educating themselves.
The result of these practices is often a massive investment into social networking platforms, that bring unsatisfactory results, or an unnecessary concentration of human resources on the User, that “squeezes the lemon” out of the existing customers base, without being able to expand it.
Very few take the effort to understand the whole buying process, and strategically influence the way buyer personas take the purchase decision.
Those that are not leveraging persuasive marketing, often show that:
· The Distinction among Complex Sales and Consumer Sales is not clear
· The target buyer’s Decision Process is not clearly mapped, and often only in the second half: the one where interactions are driven by Sales organization
· The marketing goal is to support Sales in delivering the Customer Experience, instead to drive leads strategically influencing prospects away from competition.
· Marketing is a top down activity, based on guess work and gut feeling.
Those instead, that have pursued Persuasive Marketing, have gone through a journey that made them look for:
· The ability to think strategically, taking into the influencing game all the actors: Buyer, Competitors and Influencers.
· The ability to understand the underlying assumptions governing their specific Market Arena, and identify the triggers of the buying process.
· The ability to interface the buyers and ask directly about their steps in taking decisions, without the need to rely in massive amount of data (that often are not there), as impulse marketing wrongly suggests.
· The ability to bring heavy judgment and sound experience into the game, to bring up low level signals and build on them influencing activities.
Embracing Persuasive Marketing is a systematic approach to Lead Generation, that re-assign to Marketing Organizations their role within the Company:
No more as a the handmaid of Sales, but a strong partner of the Commercial Team, capable to drive Customers to Company and prepare the way to serve them better.
To know more about how Business Exploration can help your Marketing Organization adopt Persuasive Marketing,
Contact us at: +44 7491 164 097
Or read more about how our “8 days” coaching methodology works here.