These four statements get thrown around surprisingly often in the world of business. We decided to address them once and for all. If we are truly looking for growth, could we finally let go of these myths?
“Corporate communications should always be fact-based, as decisions are made based on facts.”
In the B2B sales situation the client is an expert, which means that you must be able to deliver the facts whenever needed. Desire-based purchase decisions are more typical in the world of consumer goods.
But still… A business decision is always made by a human being. Humans gravitate towards a good story and are prone to make decisions based on emotions. If your client is not excited by anything else, at least the notion of someone offering a solution that makes their working life easier will most certainly peak their interest. So as it turns out, business to business marketing is in fact human to human communications after all.
The decision-maker is often not concerned with the bits, millimetres or kilowatts that make one solution technically superior to another. The raw facts themselves evoke no feelings. More often than not a product that is specified as “good enough” will be more than enough. So, when one product already meets the client’s needs sufficiently, technical superiority of another will not automatically win them over. Engineer-driven communications alone will never secure victory. You must be able to evoke feelings and build an emotional connection!
“A professional B2B buyer can’t be fooled through marketing.”
That is absolutely true. Marketing is not about fooling people or disguising rubbish in fancy packaging. The first time you fool someone, will also be your last – A long-term business relationship, which is what B2B is all about, can’t be built on distrust or dishonesty.
Instead, marketing influences (or doesn’t influence) a B2B decision-maker just as it would anyone else. Solid content presented in a creative way is the key. B2B marketing requires just as much creativity as consumer advertising, if not more. Just because we are communicating knowhow and expertize rather than a new shade of lipstick or new flavor of ice cream, does not give us the right to be boring. Quite the opposite!
Finnish mining equipment and AC drives for example hide a great deal of ingenuity and creativity within. Let’s tell the whole world about them by giving them the marketing they deserve!
“Growth isn’t a result of marketing… It’s a result of sales.”
Marketing is a motor for generating growth. Those people who view marketing as an investment have the undeniable opportunity to grow their business. The lack of active marketing is always an obstacle for growth.
Brand recognition and perception are the first stepping stones for the footwork of your sales force. Without an engaging brand the Finnish company’s path to international sales success is a long and hard one. If you are an unknown, getting a seat at the table where purchase decisions are made is virtually impossible. You know the scenario: A salesman suggests a meeting, but the company is unfamiliar. You’re extremely busy and you duck and jive to get out of it. You might even google the company, but you’ll soon forget about it. It is a whole different story when you are approached by a company that you are already familiar with or interested in.
This is a team effort: Sales can’t hit the bull’s eye without the ammo of competitive sales arguments that have been delivered to the target audience… in a compelling and interesting way. That is the role of marketing.
“A great product will sell itself, especially in the digital age.”
No it won’t. No one will even know about it unless you tell them. A company that does not make itself seen and heard will never be found… regardless of the googling taking place when a purchase decision is being made. A B2B buyer does exactly that – They google and browse, or they ask their immediate network for reference. So ask yourself, how much of the playing field are you willing to concede to your competitors?
Digitalization, the internet and marketing automation for example are all tools that will allow you to discover and follow the trail of crumbs that in the end leads to a sale. Establishing contact is important. Marketing can get you that first date, but it is up to you to carry out the courtship and build the relationship. The greater the investment, the more likely you are to buy it from a person or company that you like and trust.
A product alone doesn’t sell. Marketing and advertising alone don’t sell. Not even a good sales person can do it alone. In the end you present your friend with a great product. They choose to buy it from you, because they know that you are offering exactly what it is that they need to help them in their day-to-day working life. •