It’s not so much what you think you are selling, but what your customers and prospects believe they’re buying. In fact, many b2b companies think they are selling one thing, when in fact, the buyers are actually buying something else.
Product versus solution
When it comes down to it, you don’t sell products and services at all — because your customers and prospects don’t buy products and services. They buy solutions, bundles, fixes and remedies to their business problems and challenges.
For instance, an offset printer may actually purchase a specific grade of cover paper to have in-house for their everyday jobs. But what they really are buying is a paper stock that runs trouble-free through their press, providing consistent results time after time for their bread and butter printing jobs.
More and more, the solutions that b2b buyers buy are really a combination of products and services fused together around things customers and prospects value—a value offer, if you will. And to make things tougher on you as a b2b marketer, you have to take the time to figure out what your customers are actually buying from you so you can create a truly cohesive offering and begin to communicate it out to the marketplace.
You might find out that what they are really buying from you needs to be better packaged and marketed to look more valuable. You might end up having to be more flexible in what you offer to customers – perhaps with a bit of customization for each different customer or groups of similar customers.
Enter the b2b communications plan
Once you have figured out what customers are actually buying from you, you need a communications plan to help sell more. Simply put, the primary role of an integrated communications plan, in this modern day world of b2b buying and selling, is to match what you say and sell (your offer) with what your audience wants to buy and hear about – the answer to their business challenge.
In essence, when what they value becomes what you, as a b2b marketer, are able to offer, sales can’t be far behind. Then it’s all a “little” matter of delivering on that promised value.
We have more to say on this subject in our eBook, Goosing. Click here to download
Photo credit: Flickr Polina Sergeeva