The biggest currency is giving value.
That’s how you get customers who want to buy from you. A fact backed by science and controversial marketing.
You want to sell in a way that increases the value of your brand while at the same time resulting in high customer satisfaction. Your profit will be your reputation. Your reputation becomes your trust. Your trust will be the money in your bank account.
While there are several ways to get customers who want to buy from you, I am about to mention absolute pillars when it comes to sales and marketing.
But there is a repetitive problem I see over and over again.
Managers at companies, large and small, want to do well. They make decisions, hire consultants, implement a new system and work on a strategy. All this to help them achieve the desired result.
But too often they do not get the desired result.
There is short-term thinking to a long-term desire.
The problem is (regardless of goal) that the managers of these companies are drawn to the faster and cheaper alternative instead of the better long-term solution. They never have the time or money to do what is right the first time, but they always have the time and money to do it again – over and over again.
You see, although we have access to a flood of information and opportunities thanks to the Internet, many companies struggle to adhere to proven and fundamental principles behind sales and marketing.
They jump from one strategy and tactic to the next. They get frustrated when things don’t produce results and give up the idea.
The long term game.
People, institutes and companies we admire play the long-term game.
Think long term. Stick to proven and fundamental principles. Master what you are about to learn and become a provider of value.
Qualify new customers
It is easier to get customers if you know what type of customer you are looking for. Without a clear picture of your ideal customer profile, you do not know where to start looking.
Limit your message and avoid making broad target audience statements as we help every man and every woman. There are few products that speak to large target groups. Being too broad in your statement will prevent you from developing sustainable and targeted strategies to attract customers.
You may think that this is not effective, but far from it. Remember to put labels on your customers.
Does that sound like a bad tip? Not really.
According to one study, researchers wanted to see if labeling had any impact on people’s turnout in voting.
After people were asked about their usual voting patterns, the researchers told half of the participants that they were much more likely to vote because they were judged to be more politically active.
Which was not true since these people had been selected at random.
Although the selection was random, it was concluded that the results could be manipulated with minor changes in how the questions were formulated.
When exchanging a verb such as: to vote; to a noun: you are an active voter, increased participation.
This research shows that people’s desire to shape and live up to identities can be used to motivate behavior.
That is, people like to be labeled and are more likely to be involved when they feel they are included in a group.
How can you use this?
Our brain strives to maintain a sense of being consistent so much that when we are told that we are part of a group it makes us more receptive to the group’s message.
But of course, as long as it is a message we want to live up to. As in the study, for example: “you are an active voter”.
That’s why gold and platinum status work so well in loyalty programs. People who are labeled “you are exclusive” are leaning towards being more loyal and spending more than “regular” customers.
If you are clear about who you help, you can help them better.
Niche yourself. Make a statement for who you help and how. It may feel counter-intuitive at first not to include everyone, but the fact is that you don’t want to reach everyone.
Have a crystal clear picture of who you want to reach and focus on their dreams and wishes.
Focus your attention on them and don’t be afraid to put labels on your customers. People tend to make decisions to feel that they belong to an “exclusive” crowd.
Your best customers are your ideal customer profile. Your target audience. But the question remains. What roles do you want and need to achieve with your customer profile?
Who influences the purchase decision?
Your buyer personas
Understand who you are, understand who they are.
Your customers want to interact with your brand in a personal and relationship-based way. They want to feel that there is a mutual understanding between you and them. Business is done between people. Not business.
Understand the roles of your target audience that you need to get in touch with.
Is it the CEO? Probably if you are targeting smaller companies. But is it really the CEO you get in touch with early in the process or is it an older senior? Can it be the project manager, the IT manager or the sales manager?
Or it is completely wrong.
According to Google, half of all B2B buyers are from the Millennial generation.
As you can see, it is worth understanding which ones you need to reach out to and nothing you can guess. You can start like that, but sooner or later you have to get outside the building and validate if it is really right.
In B2B business, many different roles from the management team are involved. A mix of personalities that you have to convince, but usually there are at least one to two primary roles that have the biggest impact on the buying decision.
Most likely, they are the ones who start and lead the buying press.
To understand who these people are, you need to define your avatar, in other words, your buyer persona.
What is buyer personas?
Buyer personas are about defining who the people in your customer profile are: what they are trying to achieve, what goals are driving their behaviors, how they think, how they buy and why they make buying decisions.
Those who take their personas seriously are the ones who succeed best with their marketing and sales.
Simply because they show empathy for their customers. They try to understand their perspective and how their product can solve their problems, painlessly.
When it comes to your personas.
The more you know about them, the better you can earn them. The more you know about their pain points, the easier it will be for you to relieve them. The more you know about their goals, the more resources you can give them to help them get there.
There are many methods you can use to create your personas, but one of the most successful ways is to interview your existing customers.
After all, there is a good reason why your customers are just your customers.
Let their insights guide you.
Position yourself as the answer
Give potential customers who come into contact with your company a good reason to try your products.
Give value and establish yourself as someone with a deep understanding of the problems they are trying to solve.
This can take shape by creating content through articles, webinars, guest blogs and physically networking in the same context as your customers.
Many people make the mistake of attending events and seminars for their own industry. It may be good, but that’s not where your customers hang. Once you have a look at your customer profile and have an understanding of your buyer personas, you can move in the same circles as they do.
From all this you start to attract “followers”.
And if you have a structured sales funnel that takes into account the purchase price, you will start converting your followers into paying customers.
How is this going?
The problem is that most people do not take into account where their customers are in their buying journey. If a customer just read an article on your site and signed up for your newsletter, an aggressive sales call is unjustified.
Instead, you should continue to provide valuable content so that your potential customer feels they receive benefits from your brand, and then they will be more likely to come to you when it’s time to buy.
Inbound marketing: Give before you take
Here you get something really thought-provoking:
You can do more business with fewer sellers.
One way to do that is with inbound marketing.
Old traditional methods of reaching customers become less and less effective. I talk about making cold calls, buying mailing lists and advertising in news magazines.
People (and you probably recognize yourself) turn to Google and social media as they search for answers. They want to get a better understanding of the products they want to buy and on their terms. This means that the purchase price begins long before a seller is contacted.
Does your company emerge as an alternative when 89% of B2B buyers use the internet to do research?
With inbound marketing, you take advantage of this change in the way customers buy by getting them to find you online. You do this with a mix of user-friendly website, search engine optimization, content tailored for your personas and by using social media.
HubSpot, a SaaS company releases a report every year called State of Inbound.
The report shows that a majority will increase how much they spend on inbound marketing. So it is likely that if you do not use inbound marketing you will compete against those who do.
Contrary to what some believe, inbound is not about the tools you use.
It’s about using the tools. HubSpot is a competent marketing automation system and they are world leaders in doing many good things, but it is not unique.
There are several marketing automation systems that can do the job.
Something simplified now, but an all-in-one system like HubSpot helps keep everything under one roof, it helps your marketing become more customer-centric and sales more personal.
inLink is a HubSpot partner and only works with it.
Most people imagine that the system is the key to success, when it is only a possibility. What is important is the marketing strategy and that your entire organization (especially management and sales team) is involved and involved.
Then the system can help.
B2B sales: Who really makes the buying decision?
The problem is that everyone wants to sell within 72 hours, but studies show that people who request information from your company today will not buy in several months.
The reasons are many.
Among other things, there are many products and strategies that can solve the same problem. In fact, customers struggle with making qualified purchasing decisions and with so many choices and with access to all the world’s information, paralysis by analysis is easily created.
In a study from reputable CEB (presented in the Harvard Business Review), it was found that an average of 6.8 decision-makers are involved in a B2B buying process.
With so many decision-makers and in combination with an abundance of information and alternatives, the buying process takes longer than necessary.
Make it easier to buy through good teaching and communication. Use your company blog as part of your B2B marketing strategy.
And more information is not the right answer – the right information at the right stage that your customer is in is.
In industry terms, we call it lead nurturing.
What is lead nurturing?
Lead nurturing is basically about developing relationships with potential customers and identifying significant challenges and understanding the needs of each step of their buying journey.
This can take many forms and to some extent it depends of course on your product and sales process. But all customers go through different stages before making a purchase decision.
Simply explained, like this:
Awareness: when the customer is aware of their problem and starts their research (89% do it online) for a solution.
Consideration: when the customer has found several alternatives to their problem and reduces it to just a few companies. At this stage, 70% of the purchase price is complete before sales are contacted.
Decision: when the customer is ready to choose a company and decided on a solution.
To simplify purchasing, you need to know exactly where your customers are in their buying journey. With this insight, you can meet your potential customers in a relevant way and come up with what it takes to take them further in the buying press.
The trick is to create a couple of different offers for different stages of the purchase.
These customers should be able to download in exchange for their contact details. This way, you turn unknown visitors into leads, while at the same time getting answers about what interests them and where they are mentally right now.
Does that sound like a lot of work? It is. But effective in mapping the buying press, identifying challenges and educating your potential customers.
Offers in the form of, for example, ebooks, industry reports, and guides are the entry to your sales funnel and help deliver value through the purchase price.
The most important thing to keep in mind is to tailor your offers to your customer profile and personas.
The better your offer, the easier it is for you to help the customer in their buying journey.
The best supplier not only helps customers consider what to buy, but also how.
Define your ideal customer profile and create personas to help your employees understand potential customers even before they meet them. It helps to build good relationships from the beginning.
The buying process can take many forms, but the companies that understand it can identify customer challenges at every step of their buying journey and help the customer move forward so that it leads to sales.
Those who succeed best are those who engage the entire organization in the marketing strategy. As a result, the entire company stands behind one and the same consistent message: “we help people like you”.
It guides, simplifies and drives sales – and increases customer loyalty.