How Great Writing, Demos, Testimonials, and Business Awards Can Change B2B Buyers
In the uber-connected and ultra-competitive world we live in today, you have to differentiate your product, your company and your people from others looking to knock you off your game.
It is not a matter of simply showing buyers how good your product is, it’s about connecting with your buyer so they can solve a problem, improve performance or have the confidence necessary to open their wallet.
Building that differentiation is difficult, especially when you offer a commodity-based product. Here are three tips to help you connect more deeply with buyers.
Have a Voice.
Humans are social animals. Facebook has proven that almost a billion times over. B2B marketing tends to be dry and full of “corporate” speak so we don’t offend anyone. The reality: Corporate speak bores people into apathy and inaction.
Buyers want to hear about you (your company, your products, your employees) in your own words.
Putting your voice, your personality and your employees out front implies that you treat every potential buyer as an individual. You are in effect using every medium like a one-on-one conversation.
Show the Value. What’s shocking is that in this day and age when most of us spend more time online than we do in front of a TV and with all the new media tools at our disposal—usually for free, we haven’t really changed how we engage B2B buyers.
We write and write and write, seamlessly to no end. We are great at producing sell sheets, offer sheets, whitepapers, and spec sheets telling prospects how our products work, feel and operate.
But showing buyers how products will affect their world is far more effective and deepens the connection between buyers and sellers.
The great news is this can be done any almost any budget. While you need to maintain a professional image, you can produce B2B marketing videos, webinars and video demonstrations for virtually free. And if you think you need an actor, think again. Letting your sales people, product managers, executives and founders be your talent improves authenticity. These people know more about your product than anyone else and are generally the most passionate and honest.
You also don’t need much to get started. I use GoToMeeting ($30 a month) and Join Me (free) for live demonstrations and screen sharing sessions with a good HD webcam, like the Logitech C910 (under $100), to record videos and to show my product off. Simply show your screen for websites and PowerPoint materials and spin up your webcam so that you can show your physical product and connect eye-to-eye with attendees.
And oh yeah, don’t forget to hit record! Offering your prospects a replay is a great online asset and conversion point for your website and almost just as effective as live demonstrations.
Get Recognized. Saying your great and your product will change a prospects world is easy…having someone else validate your claims is the best antidote to an unconnected buyer.
There are three different types of third-party validation that are the most effective:
- customer testimonials including case studies
- external analyst assessments
- awards and recognition.
Getting good customer testimonials is easier than you think and an invaluable resource. They show buyers that other people are willing to risk their own brand by standing up for yours. And recording your testimonials (audio or video) is a great way to enhance that connection online. All you have to do is ask. What’s the worst a customer can say? No?
Make asking for testimonials part of your new customer process and account management strategy for existing customers. When it becomes part of your regular routine, you’ll have a testimonial for every type of customer before you know it.
For audio testimonials, I use Google Voice (free) to call and record conversations with customers. If you need to do some audio editing, Audacity (free) is a great open source tool and pretty intuitive. If at all possible, get customers on video! Most cameras and phones have video, so point, shoot and blast it up to You Tube.
Being recognized by industry analysts takes more lead-time depending on your business. Work to establish regular discussions with the people that cover your trade. Large buyers, investors and reporters use analyst reports for expertise and background.
Getting on an analysts calendar is usually easier than getting a report’s. Analysts are paid for quarterly, annual and custom reports so while they don’t publish as often as reports, their validation of your product usually holds more weight.
Finally, awards are a great tool to help buyers feel good about your product and company. Lets face it, as consumers we prefer to buy the best product from the best company…not the team that finished second or didn’t even place.
To win awards you have to compete, and by compete, I mean compete. There are plenty of programs and publications that simply take money for awards and reward every nomination. Stay away from these companies, your buyers will see right through these schemes as they scratch beneath the surface.
The BIG Awards and The Stevies are both juried competitions that reward companies for their nominations. Real business people judge nominations, and while there are plenty of categories and industries represented, the results are unbiased and will be held to a higher standard by your prospects.