Become the resource that ensures your buyers’ survival.
When you make the problem tangible, you make your solution valuable.
Here’s what I’ve learned after 15 years of creating messaging for B2B companies.
Executive buyers want a solution. But here’s the problem: Buyers aren’t ready to change what they’re doing now. They might say they are, but they aren’t. That’s why buyers’ sales objections, if they give you any, don’t feel as if they can hold water.
They’re not ready to change what they’re doing now because they don’t understand the problem they’re experiencing well enough to forfeit the safety of doing business as usual—of staying in safe world of their own status quo—to risk going with an untrusted source and solution.
So the status quo, i.e., business as usual, the way we always do things—has more value than the risk required to do something different that would actually solve a problem.
That’s why up to 20% to 60% of everything you put in your pipeline as a potential sale, ends up in ‘no decision’: (Statistic from Sales Benchmark Index)
Your buyers need to believe that they need to change before they will consider any solution. Translation: Even though you were speaking to the right person high enough in the organization and verified they have budget, authority, a verified need and the urgent desire to move forward, your potential buyer may still ghost you as you bring them through the pipe.
That’s maddening—for you and your sales team.
The key to making your value tangible lives in the desire your buyers have to find critical answers to problems that affect their survival. That’s what has the power to make the status quo less valuable, and a solution more valuable.
What will motivate your buyers to change?
Your marketing. Your sales messaging.
Not marketing focused on what you do and what you deliver, but marketing focused on educating executive buyers about the problems they don’t know how to solve or don’t even know they have.
Your buyers turn to outside sources that won’t try to sell them a solution, to find out what change risks are essential—when really, the best source of information is you, because you speak to dozens of executives in their position a year and know what others do who live in their shoes.
On a coffee table across the room in a prospect’s office is The Harvard Business Review. It sits waiting to give them advice. All kinds of industry report subscriptions are paid for by your buyers. They dive into LinkedIn’s deep publishing waters to find pearls of thought that might be polished into actionable steps for success. And they meet with advisers. They read industry news.
This isn’t recreational reading.
This is a search for answers that will shape their career, perhaps save their career.
Your knowledge about their problems is an invaluable source of information for buyers.
They’re desperate to find substantive answers that empower them to stay relevant, that will inform them about the changes that are absolutely necessary, so they can balance the status quo with the right type of needed change for success that has the least amount of risk.
They seek out Forrester Research, Serious Decisions, Sales Benchmark Index, Gallup—these organizations play a role in their quest.
But brand name research groups often confirm what you may already know.
And what about using–deploying—the power of what you already know?
What you know—that is the key to messaging your value and making that value tangible—through your ability to educate buyers on the fundamental reasons why they need to change.
Here are a couple of super quick examples for you to review:
Education to inspire change story #1:
For an online adult learning nursing school, adult students needed an education on how to become a student–before they could gain a formal nursing education.
Here’s how we made their marketing more profitable:
—Educating nurses about the true value of what they do and how it is vital to collaborate with others online to formalize their knowledge and empower them to open doors to higher levels of career responsibility.
—Articles to educate prospective nurses about what other higher degreed nurses had done with their education, what doors had opened in their careers as a result of their desire to change.
It was a case of addressing their fears of such a huge change, then educating these professional nurses to show them that it was possible to be an adult student:
—how to write an academic paper.
—how to plan a study area.
—how to balance work, school and delegate family responsibilities.
These strategic articles created a 37% increase in readership and a 7% increase in enrollments in 6 months.
These articles focused inspiring change based on the real objection: “I’m afraid to go back to school as an adult, because I am afraid to fail, so show me how to not fail.”
“Educate me on how to not fail, educate me on how to be a student,” said the unconscious voice of adult nurses, obscured by sales objections such as, “Well, I’m not sure,” or, “I don’t think I’m quite ready,” or, “I’ll take a look at this for next year.”
Education to inspire change story #2:
A SaaS for real estate professionals to help them discover a more accurate spread analysis was facing a sales objection from buyers: we’re technophobes and this level of change from analog to digital is too intimidating.
But marketing transformed into education demonstrated how to pull off the kind of real estate deal that best fit a popular industry career goal–and that’s what made the technical objection totally obsolete.
Educating a real estate professional interested in neighborhood redevelopment about what it takes to be successful from real professionals who’ve made it in the field, is what made the technical challenges of adopting a new technology par for the course.
Accepting the technical challenge because there was education about a bigger reward, is what drove more subscriptions for this SaaS.
Consider these points as a beginning for building trust with new buyers:
•You’ve spoken to countless leaders in your field–your buyers want to know what other executives are doing to be successful. Show them you know what is powerful in their world. Educate them, with your marketing what choices they have made and why.
•Your education about the problems buyers face is what makes a problem real:
When a problem—as opposed to a solution—is brought out into the light, it becomes tangible—it’s cross-examined and studied. It’s turned inside-out and upside down. . It’s less of a dark source of mystery. People weigh in, and the problem becomes less scary and more of a winnable hurdle, and when that hurdle is finally out of the way, new possibility takes over.
When you make the problem tangible—through education—you make the solution valuable.
Think of your messaging as education, not marketing:
That’s how your solution will leave the realm of abstraction and live as a rooted, connected, and super-glued answer to a leadership challenge or problem that requires the huge leap of making a change.