B2B Buyers today are more connected and informed than ever before. They have more choices and have higher expectations of value. They decide how to research, engage, interact, and transact with suppliers. Sales organizations need to adapt to these changing customer behaviors.
In a world of rapidly evolving buyer expectations and behaviors, B2B sales and marketing leaders need to create a customer-centric sales strategy. I know what you are thinking, “sales is already customer-centric!!!” Well, that’s not always true…. Here’s a simple test…..and be honest…….
Does your sales team communicate your customer value in context to each buyer persona, or stakeholder involved in the buying process?
If so, then congratulations to you. In my experience, this doesn’t happen very often. As an ex-CIO I saw way too many sales professionals blast through their “one-size fits all” value proposition slides and completely miss the opportunity to engage with me on the problems that I cared about. Sorry guys, I don’t care about your product features and functions. What I care about is my business.
The solution I’ll recommend is really pretty simple. Your sales professionals should know your customers and your buyers as well as they know your offerings.
Here’s how you can get started down that path right away:
STEP 1: Identify the Buyer Personas: Sales and Marketing need to come together to do this. Look at your value chain and identify the decision-maker, economic buyer, decision influencers, and the end user of your offerings. If you sell through distribution or integrators, don’t stop there! Make sure you include the end-use customer as well for demand creation in the channel. Articulate your customer value specific to each buyer persona.
STEP 2: Be Specific: Buyer personas need to be specific to a customer segment. Here’s why: Title is not indicative of behavior. For example, not all CIO’s are alike. A CIO of a Fortune 100 manufacturing company is going to have a different set of challenges, priorities, and buying behaviors than the CIO of a Mid-Market high tech company.
STEP 3: Communicate the Customer Value: Each buyer will have a unique perspective on the problems and pain that they are looking to solve for. If you’re selling backup generators to a Regulated Manufacturing facility, the Plant Manager will want to talk about price to value and how you can keep his operation producing revenue even in a power outage. But the Maintenance Manager will want to talk about preventative maintenance, uptime performance, and service.
Make sure your sales team is able to communicate your customer value in context to each persona / stakeholder involved in the buying process. Connect your value with their pain.
STEP 4: Iterate: I can almost guarantee that your buyer personas will not be right on your first attempt. Sales and Marketing needs to work together to continuously learn about customer and buyer behavior and update your personas as you go. Each iteration will help your sales team improve effectiveness and your marketing team generate more qualified leads.
Connect to your customers in a whole new way and provide your teams the tools that they need to achieve customer success across all of your sales channels.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments.
About the author: Colm Lennon is the Founder of Haka Products.