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Turning love into commitment: The hardest job in B2B marketing

Jamie Anderson, President EMEA, Digital Experience, Marketo

 Submitted by: Marketo, an Adobe company (https://uk.marketo.com), Post published: 5th August 2019

Ask a B2B marketer what parts of their job have got harder in the last five years and chances are one of their answers will be related to converting leads into customers. Convincing people to buy is becoming the toughest part of B2B marketing. Only three percent of the market is actively buying, which means marketers are already facing an ever shrinking buyer pool when trying to make a sale.

The reasons behind this are varied and long, and in a sense they don’t matter. What matters is what buyers want and how marketers can go about giving it to them to create leads, and ultimately, customers.

Why should customers commit to a brand?

As part of our own research, we recently discovered that 58 percent of marketers said it was more challenging this year than last to convert leads, and the parts they struggle with the most are guaranteeing effectiveness and demonstrating that the investment is worth it. In an increasingly crowded market, and when so much of what’s on offer is viewed as a commodity, why should a customer commit to a particular brand or a product?

The buyers we talked to for our research said if they can see the product is right for their needs and it’s supported by real guarantees of effectiveness, it will make its way onto their shortlist. At this point in the buying journey, it’s all about tangible benefits. Leading with anything else as a selling point in the initial courting period is a distraction and won’t resonate with the prospect. The person you’re selling to isn’t interested about the fancy extras if it’s not immediately obvious how you’ll solve their main pain-points.

Back-to-basics

This is the kind of back-to-basics principles that can get lost in modern marketing: show the customer how your offer meets their needs and you’re closer to making a sale. In other words, show them your value by showing how your product or brand will solve the issues that they are currently having.

Value is an overused and much-abused word in marketing. It’s also hugely subjective and to chase down one definition that fits all of marketing’s activities can’t be done. But here it’s helpfully specific.

If you’re one of the 58 percent struggling with the challenge that is conversion in B2B, show customers the value of your product. It sounds obvious, but if that many professionals are finding it tough then it’s clearly causing problems. The complexities and size of B2B markets mean marketers have to be much more specific about what they’re offering, and the subjective nature of value makes it tough to create campaigns that appeal to the right people.

Know your product

But understanding the value of your products and services is fundamental to doing a good job. A good test for marketers is to pick one thing that you sell and make a five-point list of the value it has to your customers. If you can’t get to five, I’d suggest calling a customer and asking them. If you can’t think of anyone to call, I’d suggest getting to know your customers better.

All customers want value, and when they see it, they’re more likely to engage with a brand. At a time where personalisation is the word of the day, it can seem tough to create a campaign that will convert en masse, when prospect needs are both diverse and specific. That’s why championing the benefits of your product and the worth it provides is an excellent first step for capturing the attention of buyers. When they engage, they have experiences based on that value. It is experiences that make people come back for more, and lay the groundwork for a longstanding relationship.

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