Focusing on Value Over Features in B2B Sales

To a large extent, the sales and marketing world can be divided along two broad lines: business-to-business (B2B) versus business-to-consumer (B2C) and products versus services. Sales strategies for B2C services will differ from B2B services, which differ from B2B products, etc. There are best practices and pitfalls for each quadrant of possible scenarios created by this way of looking at sales and marketing.

Recently, Marc Wayshak wrote an article for Entrepreneur titled, “6 Fatal B2B Sales Mistakes You Must Avoid.” While the entire article is worth a read, one of Wayshak’s six fatal mistakes, in particular, caught our attention as very insightful both in terms of the frequency of the mistake and fatality of it: “Highlighting your product’s features and benefits.” This is a crucial mistake made frequently in B2B product sales.

At first glance, you might think, “wait a minute; why wouldn’t I want to highlight my product’s features and benefits?” The answer is simple: customers don’t care about how creative your product development group is or how much work you’ve put into a product unless it’s relevant to them. When demonstrating or promoting a product, you’re not at a science fair; you’re engaged in a sales pitch. “Prospects today only care about the results and outcomes you can create in their world,” says Wayshak. “More specifically, they want to know how you can solve their key challenges and deepest frustrations.”

Your organization may have produced a marvel of modern engineering or the sleekest design to hit the market. But when you’re selling to a customer, particularly another business, they want to know what your product will do for them, not what you like about your product.

When preparing to pitch or demo a product to a customer, consider this basic three-step process:

  • Get to know your customer. Know their business. What are the key hurdles and opportunities in their industry?
  • Gain as much insight as possible into your customer’s business process. What do they struggle with? What frustrates their employees? What could reduce their costs or increase their revenue?
  • Highlight how your product can help, not what you think is cool about your product. Your pitches and demos should be tailored to highlight what benefits your product can provide to your prospect. How can it save them money? How can it boost their revenue?

Product development teams and the owners of product development companies understandably get attached to the fruits of their labor. They are proud of the products they’ve created – how they improve on the offerings of competitors, how they integrate ingenious innovations, etc. But your B2B customers want to have their problems solved and their opportunities unlocked. That needs to the focus of your B2B product sales strategy.

 

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About Us

Strategic Communications, LLC, works with B2B clients to help them achieve their goals through effective content marketing and management with both internal and external audiences. We are adept at evaluating and analyzing communication efforts and working with clients to plan, create and publish high-quality, unique content, through both on- and offline media to achieve desired results. Our background in business journalism, marketing, PR/media relations and online communications makes us well-positioned to serve the needs of 21st-century marketers.

We serve clients who are looking for help creating content for a wide array of channels—from social media posts to full-length manuscripts, and everything in between. We focus primarily on service-related B2B topics and work with a number of independent consultants interested in building their thought leadership through online channels. For ongoing content management, our first step is to fully understand your goals, objectives and competitive landscape.

Then we’ll conduct a thorough analysis and assessment of your digital presence, compared to competitors, and recommend a communication strategy to achieve your goals. But, we also regularly take on individual projects – white papers, blog posts, contributed articles, etc. If you’re interested in learning more, let us know!

(Strategic Communications is certified as a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise through the Wisconsin Department of Administration.)

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