Do your customers believe you?
Why B2B customers aren’t buying your sales pitch – and what to do about it
In days gone by, company salespeople would typically be involved in a B2B prospect from beginning to end. They were the main source of information about the company and its products. Salespeople also knew where the prospective buyer was in the process at any time – and were able to directly influence the progress of each deal. Marketing materials, the corporate website and trade show stands made up the rest of the B2B buyer’s information sources.
But things have changed. Today’s B2B buyer may not be to be in touch with company sales representatives at all prior to the actual purchase – and even then, everything may happen within the company’s online environment instead of via personal contact. So prospects can find your offering, learn about it, see what others think of it, maybe even trial it and buy it, all without a salesperson.
This new breed of B2B buyers gets their information from a wide variety of sources, including independent reviews, peer recommendations and content or community sites specific to their industry. Your carefully prepared marketing messages and materials might not even come into consideration.
New marketing strategies for savvy audiences
As your buyer is fast becoming more independent, discerning and savvy, you have to step up your marketing game. Imagine engaging him or her from the early, pre-sales cycle through to supporting post-sales satisfaction and repeat buying at the other end of the chain. In order to do that – to fully address the needs of today’s B2B buyer – a new type of end-to-end marketing approach is required.
At Eye for Image, we have helped many B2B companies develop and implement their marketing strategies in a market that continues to change at break-neck speed. Reflecting on this and after considerable research and input from clients and partners, we have developed a strategy that helps businesses to better engage and influence all of their corporate audiences.
Three Voices™ strategy gives businesses a new, more effective way to engage and influence all of their corporate audiences. The model rests on three distinct concepts that are vital for B2B marketers and communicators to grasp: Voice of Company; Voice of Industry; and Voice of Customer.
Introducing Three Voices™ strategy
Essentially, Voice of Company is an umbrella term for messages and materials created by an organization to describe its business to stakeholders and prospective customers. From brochures to websites, it’s your official corporate mouthpiece.
But every company exists within the influence of an industry. Instead of directly pushing its own offerings, Voice of Industry is how a company enhances its brand by discussing industry-level matters. A recent example is A.P. Moller-Maersk’s “Let’s change the way we think about shipping” site, which encourages the container shipping industry to effect changes for a more viable future.
Finally we have Voice of Customer. This describes the peer-to-peer conversations going on between B2B buyers, who are discussing and giving feedback on your solutions and products, well before the manufacturer is consulted. This is where all the action is, and where companies need to actively listen and respond if they are to match their marketing efforts to the new realities of B2B buying processes.
Of course, there’s a lot to say on this subject – much more than we can cover in WordSpin. Soon we will be releasing a book, The Death of Propaganda – B2B buyer behavior has changed. Now it’s your turn. Here we cover the Three Voices™ strategy in detail, and explain how to successfully engage with every level of your target audience and position your company as an influencer in your industry.
To pre-order The Death of Propaganda or to find out more, please feel free to contact us. We’ll be happy to discuss your company’s needs and how you may benefit from Three Voices™ strategy.