Do you know what business you’re in? I’m not asking if you sell accounting software, packaging equipment or IT consulting. Instead, I want you to think about what you sell from your customer’s point of view.
Your customers have a business problem – one that’s preventing them from maximizing revenues. So you need to see that, at the most basic level, what your business is really about is providing a solution. Remember, you can have the most amazing product, but without customers, you wouldn’t be in business.
B2B buying decisions often involve a complex sales cycle. When you deal with multiple stakeholders, major budgetary considerations or a business critical issue, consideration of your solution goes beyond features or benefits. For customers, value is perceived through the consequences of your solution. You need to understand how your product or service changes their business for the better.
We’re all familiar with the basic definition of content marketing. As marketers, we aim to deliver the valuable, meaningful and engaging content the audience seeks. Our goal is to help customers make a buying decision.
To make that happen, you must realize your prospective customer has to decide which solution is the best fit for their problem. If each solution provider says essentially the same thing, how does a prospect make a choice? You want to avoid a situation where the decision revolves around price.
Companies want to do business with someone who fully grasps the issues critical to their business. Consider what goes through your mind if you ran into a friend who only talked about themselves – where they went on vacation, the new car they bought, how their kid scored a home run in little league. I expect you’d get very bored, very fast. That’s why you need to think about your customer’s challenge and the factors that could go into their buying decision.
How you approach your marketing message and content plan should shift to an “outside in” perspective. Going back to the products or services mentioned at the top of this post, consider what problem they might need to address from the customer’s perspective.
Is the buyer of your accounting software a small engineering firm? Have you thought about how cash flow is an issue and they need a billing system that alerts them to slow paying clients so they can rely less on expensive credit lines?
Are you selling packaging equipment to manufacturers of ethnic foods? Do you know if they need to meet unusual requirements for overseas markets so they can expand their business?
Are you building ERP systems for a trading firm? Do you understand how business critical it is for them to increase the redundancy of their back-office systems so they’re protected from a service outage?
Notice how features and benefits aren’t even mentioned. Because the product or service isn’t what turns a lead into a customer — it’s a solution to their problem that people care about.
It can be hard to start thinking about what the customer wants, not what you want to sell. To apply a problem-solving principle to your marketing and content, you need to:
Focus on things that matter most to your customer
Demonstrate value to your customers business
Communicate it in a way that conveys a strong understanding of their business priorities
To move a prospect from awareness to purchase and beyond through the sales funnel, you’ll need to switch from “me-based” to “you-based” language. One way to turn your messaging around is by pretending to be your customer. Put on their ears and listen to your answers to these questions. How does the solution:
eliminate my problem?
affect my company? (How does eliminating the problem help me make more money or save money?)
add value to my business? (How does this help me be more productive, gain market share, etc?)
Do these questions sound familiar? They should. They’re just expanded versions of “What’s in it for me (WIFM)?” If you can’t clearly state what you can do for your customers, you won’t connect. So, challenge your content by thinking like your customer, and asking “why should I care?” You’ll create content that speaks to your audience.
What do you think about describing your company’s value from a customer’s point of view? Go to the comment section below and weigh in.