This overview article is written with B2B companies in mind, for those who are in business services and professional services sectors who have high value services, or some level of complexity such as traditional technology companies or business services like lawyers and accounting firms.
If I am talking to a marketing professional they are generally already aware of the importance of digital presence and marketing strategies to drive more brand awareness. For a business owner or director or partner, the way you need to market your value and specific services should be focused first on your prospective client who is looking to solve a particular challenge and how to help them.
Commonly many websites have a standard menu and content flow along the lines of:
- About us:
- What we can do:
- Our capabilities:
- Why us:
This is what we call a brand or product centric approach which proves very challenging to differentiate your digital identity and presence from your competitors to attract interest and relevance from prospective clients.
Your competitors are also sounding and writing the same way within their website and content, so how can you present, be relevant and differentiate your services?
Times have changed with how buyers choose to buy and deal with suppliers. A brand and product centric approach that lacks the implementation of inbound marketing and the buyer’s journey may not be working for you as well as a sales approach and you’ll find it tougher to develop new business opportunities in a competitive, price-driven market.
If you want to drive a competitive advantage or find a way to differentiate, just take a look at your competitors and how they may be approaching their digital marketing with a customer problem centric approach.
Here is one example of a website content page which focuses on the customer first and their challenges:
There is a clear distinction in the flow of your webpage content to focus on your prospective client and their challenges, and to be overall customer centric.
Why the buyer’s journey is so important
It is evident that buyers are much more informed and smarter when they are progressing through the sales cycle and have already completed their research before wanting to engage in a sales conversation.
If you think about the car buying experience and the use of the internet to research and collect all the data you need first before picking up the phone to talk to, or emailing, a sales person to negotiate the best price.
Before you buy a car you may well already know what model and type of car you want, what features and specifications you want, your budget range and the ideal price you would like to pay. All you need to do before you speak to a sales representative at a dealership is to know if it is in stock and can you potentially negotiate the right deal. Only then you will reach out to your preferred dealership when you are ready to buy.
If you look at the Tesla model, they don’t have any traditional dealerships or showrooms as you can do all your research online and virtual tours to be able to make an informed decision whether or not to buy.
Hence the role of the marketing function and sales function has shifted significantly in the way you interact with your prospective buyer.
Traditional approach –
Brand and product centric approach
Many people are aware they need to market their business online and have a digital presence with an ‘About Us’ focus on themselves with self praise and noting award wins and recognitions. Also when you look at their website, many still take a ‘Features and Benefits’ approach with their branding or product to try to attract and eventually sell to their prospect with a demo, and aggressively following up when the sales person is actually intruding on their prospect.
This is what we describe as a brand centric or product centric approach.
All about the customer –
Problem and solution centric approach
With a progressive approach, it should be about the prospective customers’ solution to their problems and how you can add value and help – being customer centric.
This is a fundamental shift towards how you can serve your customer not what you can gain from them. The same applies to referring or being helpful to someone you can’t help but recognising that someone in your network could help solve their problem or address their challenge.
What end problem is the buyer trying to solve with your product/services?
If you can reflect this in your sales efforts and even start in the way you market your business ability to help solve the kinds of problems your prospective clients are challenged with, then you will resonate with your target audience, whether that be a CIO/CTO/CFO or another key stakeholder.
It could be a technical, operational or financial problem you can solve. Once you identify it, then only you can progress to build the relationship in person and or online to provide them with possible solutions.
6 tips for customer centric marketing and sales
- Identify the problem or challenge first that your ideal client is looking to solve.
- Ensure you provide your digital content around the specific challenge and solution which might help the prospective client.
- If you think you can help them solve this problem or challenge, you must be able to offer or add value first with the right information or thought leadership in your field of expertise.
- Once you have built an online or offline rapport and earned the right for them to trust or see value in what you offer, then you can talk about solutions to their problem.
- Your solution to their problem can be shared with them if it can provide value, whether it be a product or service to deliver they outcome they are seeking.
- The best outcome is when they come back to you for your advice, and the best way of acknowledgment is through a referral.
In case you missed our earlier insights video tip series discussing why you need to shift from a product centric approach to a customer centric approach, here are the links to view them:
For further information on how you can increase your client engagement from your digital presence and website, we can review this for you and share our recommendations as part of our complementary digital readiness assessment.
Contact us at Twitter@alchemise_cons, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone us +61(3) 9225 5022