So we tailor our marketing messages. We customize them according to the customer, talking to their wants and needs. (Even if they aren’t quite sure of either or both.) But are we getting the most out of it?
Like an airplane taking off, marketing alone won’t bring deals without that other wing, sales. How we as marketers engage customers with sales in mind is crucial to overall success.
Purchase records are the simplest indicator of buyer interests. But, as many discover, also the most deceptive. So yours show a company has been investing in a certain type of product on and off over the past few years – BUT! Is that really what they’re in the market for?
How would you know they’re not just buying those from you, and everything else they need from everyone else? The sales would. The ones in direct contact with the customer. It’s their job to know. So check in with them.
Sales teams often hate to hear customers saying ‘oh, I never knew all along you deal in this or that’ and marketers ignoring feedback that there’s a sales opportunity for product E, just because that customer is a heavy buyer of product A. Never assume purchase histories are exhaustive. Explore as much as time allows before you craft those eDMs.
Hearing out customers’ issues and concerns is easy but addressing them properly can be tricky, as anybody who’s done B2B sales would know. Marketers face an additional challenge here in, often, not being the ones on the ground.
Those that are can tell you the customer’s wants, needs, or both. Sometimes you get only one side of the story, and then further qualifying will be called for to ensure you’re not marketing remedies for illnesses that don’t exist.
Always keep in mind that it doesn’t matter how wonderful or revolutionary your offering is if it doesn’t solve your customer’s problem. And even if it does, it still doesn’t matter if you don’t make that crystal clear.
We are frequently trained to take the customer’s environment into account in everything, so, sure, variables like industry, staff strength, and budget are useful. To marketers as well as sales. But taking these for granted is another mistake neither should make.
One of the core principles of B2B is that every company is unique. The above are just guidelines. There will be small companies willing to break their banks for pricey solutions, and companies in industries that traditionally utilize a lot of product A considering products B, C and D.
Why? Because these seemingly uncharacteristic investments hold benefits to them that only they can fully grasp. As marketers, we cannot, again, assume.
Applying “templates” to customers is both impersonal and counterproductive. Work with Sales to find out how much (if any) they deviate from their industry’s norm when it comes to purchasing. With this knowledge you can personalize your messaging to touch on the right points rather than simply running with “what companies like them go for”.
Seems like a no-brainer: we don’t preach tech benefits to finance folks, and vice versa. But then what if the people receiving your marketing messages know more than you think they do?
Once again, personal engagement with the customer makes all the difference here; whoever’s handling that would know who among the contact persons is more than a specialist in their field. This isn’t the feudal era; with modern career flexibility, you can never be sure if someone has experience and knowledge in an entirely different function.
This is subtle information, but a must-collect. Knowing how and when to use the best of multiple arguments in your call to action not only makes it more persuasive to the button-pushers, it shows your customers you genuinely care to talk to them as individuals, not appointment holders.
Personas aren’t the trusty rules of thumb they may seem; successful marketing messaging depends on more than simply going by what’s apparent. Do you agree? Chime in below.