Get Quoted at the Buyer’s Table
Your strongest voice in the sales process is not your CEO, your SDR, or even a referral. It’s a decision-maker at your prospect’s company who you’ve transformed into an advocate.
Is your entire marketing effort powerful and thorough enough to get someone to not only know your company’s name but to be your cheerleader in internal discussions?
In this article, we outline four essential gifts you must give to those who interact with your marketing efforts including your website, webinars, podcasts, trade show booths, and videos.
These four gifts don’t guarantee someone will quote you during purchase discussions and decisions, but without them, you’re surely just another name in the crowd.
A Lesson to Apply
You want to sell your expertise, certainly not give it away. But in your zeal to protect your core moneymaker, you’re missing opportunities to leverage your wisdom. In actuality, your expertise is your greatest gift.
In the process of creating your solution, installing it, onboarding teams, and service companies who’ve purchased, you’ve learned a ton about the core problem you solve.
Your best prospects wrestle with that problem. That’s why they turned to Google to ask their questions.
Don’t allow these searchers to go elsewhere. Work on content that excites visitors and puts your name at the tip of their tongue when it’s time to make a purchasing decision. Here are a handful of ideas for blog posts, podcast episodes, and videos. Or you could combine more than one to create a webinar script.
- Five lessons we’ve learned from helping X,XXX companies solve “the problem”
- The hidden monster in your system you must address before you try to solve “the problem”
- Do you face [adjacent issue to “the problem”]? Our top customers did. Here’s how they solved it.
- What our solution doesn’t do for your company (i.e., Our solution doesn’t cause chaos, our solution doesn’t add overtime to your payroll, etc.)
- Fifteen complaints your team is keeping silent about “the problem” (e.g., things you’ve heard from your customers after installation that they were afraid to mention before onboarding)
- Three decisions to make now before our industry moves [in this direction]
When you address these concepts, you are changing the way your web visitors act, expanding their knowledge about healthcare, and reminding them there is a better way.
The concept is as simple—and complex. One of my mentors was fond of saying, “Give them a bit of the cookie so they’ll come to you for the whole thing.” I firmly believe that you will sell more cookies if you give away a few bites.
Don’t be afraid to share your hard-fought wisdom. By doing so, you will attract others and build their trust.
A Story to Tell
Your case studies are not reports of past success. They are the epic tales of how your customers slew the dragon known as “the problem.” Your solution was their sword.
Are you telling the right stories? Are you empowering your prospects to repeat them?
- 88% of consumers trust online ratings and reviews.
- 52% of B2B buyers cited case studies as a key factor in their decision to buy
- Up to 50% of healthcare consumers reported that word-of-mouth was a top factor
Case studies are your most powerful reviews. Case studies are a formalized version of word-of-mouth.
How well are you leveraging case studies in your process?
Annette Simmons has worked with NASA, Microsoft, and others to help them tell better stories. She is convinced that whoever tells the best story wins the business. She writes in her book, The Story Factor:
Other methods of influence—persuasion, bribery, or charismatic appeals—are push strategies. Story is a pull strategy. If your story is good enough, people—of their own free will—come to the conclusion they can trust you and the message you bring.
Simmons believes that business communication often puts way too much information—facts, data, specs, etc.—in the wrong pile, like a bottomless inbox your prospect can’t possibly empty. Stories put your solution in a completely different spot in the brain and psyche.
How do you tell a better story? I am an advocate for the hero’s journey.
- What was wrong with the company when they came to you? What terrible trouble were they in?
- What journey did they take?
- How did they deploy your solution?
- What changed?
- Where are they now?
By answering these five questions about your customers, your prospects will, in short order, grasp how your solution works and the difference it can make in their own companies.
A Statistic to Cite
In just a few characters, we gain a sense of how big, small, important, or odd a concept is.
As marketers, we have become obsessed with numbers, stats, and metrics. Sometimes to our own detriment. Rightly used, numbers can move your business forward. Our clients appreciate the clarity our performance analytics process brings to their marketing strategy.
If you can craft a statistic about how your solution improves your customer’s business or patient’s outcome that sticks in your prospect’s mind, you are bound to be discussed or quoted.
The sticky factor is essential. Companies throw around so many dates, names, stats, and jargon that our brains brush most of them aside. Brothers Chip and Dan Heath in their book Made to Stick discuss many different ways to be remembered. My favorite is “concreteness,” the process of comparing your statistics to items, places, or icons your audience knows well. For instance, the average number of people who listen to our boutique podcast weekly would fill up the average Starbucks… three times over. If I did my job correctly, you’re imagining the last time you were in a Starbucks and looking around in your memory… then multiplying by three.
We’ve recently examined the performance of three of our customers and compared their 2020 and 2021 data. The results are impressive. Each client is from a different segment of HealthTech and thus has a different customer base. Nevertheless, the growth is noteworthy.
One client is in a crowded vertical within HealthTech. They’ve committed some of their marketing strategy and budget to paid media. And it’s paid off.
In 2020, their leads from paid could’ve filled the Four Seasons Hotel New York. In 2021, they nearly tripled their paid leads. They could’ve filled Freedom Tower.
While that stat is impressive, this client has seen great growth in other areas as well:
- 68% growth in marketing qualified leads from all sources
- 83% growth in form conversions
- 101% growth in sessions from organic traffic
What statistic do you want your prospects to remember most? How can you make it stick in their minds?
A Vision to Cast
In our popular article “ Five Must-Ask Questions to Discover Your B2B Prospect’s Pain Points,” I discuss one of the most transformative concepts I learned about marketing.
In order for me to effectively influence another, I must fully understand:
- What my prospects think, feel, do, and believe right now
- What they will think, feel, do, and believe after they experience my product
In my experience, a small percentage of brands understand the first part. They wrestle with their prospects’ intent and approach them with great empathy and a desire to serve.
A still smaller group moves to the second stage. In their content mix, they have written and produced resources that address the coming future for companies that work with them.
The most successful companies have created a path that prospects follow through both steps, achieve goals, and become raving fans.
Do your prospects know where you can take them if they will use your solution? Have you painted the future with such bright colors they can close their eyes and see it? If not, you have some work to do.
I’m not telling you to pump up your prospects the way cheesy ads for weight loss and “get rich quick” schemes do. They’ve soured us to phrases like “imagine yourself…” and “What would change if…” Nevertheless, if you comprehend what your customers changed when working with you, you can cast a vision for your prospects that shows them what is possible. You can discuss what they will think, feel, do, and believe about “the problem” and their own companies.
The Buyer’s Table Just Got More Complicated
The larger the buyer’s table grows and the longer your sales process becomes, the more you need an advocate for your company on the inside. If you have a voice discussing how you’ve helped, telling stories, sharing stats, and casting vision, you’ll have a greater chance of making it to the deal stage.
If that weren’t difficult enough, Forrester recently uncovered a new group of influencers— the early deciders. As the buying table gets younger, more digitally savvy, and concerned about the user experience, this number will only grow.
Nearly 25% of all B2B buyers answered the following statement with a resounding yes:
“I often know what I intend to purchase before I begin exploring solutions/services from providers.”
You can’t afford to not serve ¼ of the buying audience. If you are giving your marketing audiences all four gifts, you will influence this group of early deciders as well as build advocates for your solution.
Recently, a listener to our podcast reached out through an online form to schedule a meeting with us. Prior to our meeting, the prospect had talked internally about lessons he had learned through our podcasts and blogs. Our agency made it to the shortlist of companies they are considering to help them with their marketing.
For this prospect, he felt we had provided help and cast a vision for what their company could be like in the future. He became an advocate. And we got the meeting.
Go and do likewise.