The Real Problems with Today’s BtoB Customer Messaging and How to Solve Them
Numerous studies bear out that business-to-business (BtoB) companies lose billions of dollars each year because of ineffective customer messaging. What are the key factors that contribute to this messaging mess? Most companies and their marketing firms:
• Produce only company, market, and product customer messaging
• Do not have a methodology or the skills necessary to create more effective customer messaging
• Do not have an objective set of criteria to evaluate customer messaging effectiveness prior to market testing or launch
As a result, sales and marketing effectiveness is reduced by about 25% and costs U.S. companies over $100 billion every year.
For example, most BtoB messaging, like company messaging, market messaging, product messaging, and even most value propositions, is descriptive. It provides a description of what the company does, the customer served, the products and services offered, the features of each offering, and, if done well, a little bit about the benefits of doing business with that particular company and the benefits of buying its offerings.
What prospective customers want most, for each offering, is a great answer to such key buying questions as:
• “Why should I meet with you?”
• “Why should I change-out my current solution for a new solution?”
• “Why should I buy your solution rather than a competitive alternative?”
What Sales (inside, field, and channel) also want most is to have, and to provide customers with, persuasive answers to these same buying questions.
You can see the gap. Most of the messaging provided to prospective customers and to Sales is descriptive company messaging, market messaging, and product messaging, none of which provides persuasive answers to the key buying questions. What is missing is persuasive sales messaging. It’s the missing messaging category in almost every company’s customer messaging platform.
**Sales messaging is the missing messaging category in almost every company’s customer messaging platform.**
The impact of not providing customers and Sales with persuasive customer sales messaging, or not answering these key buying questions, is enormous. It’s the main reason why most customer messaging is ineffective and can be substantiated
in market research studies like these:
“Over 65% of sales leaders feel they’re losing business because
they don’t have a compelling value proposition.”
Miller Heiman, Sales Best Practice Study, 2006
“80 to 90% of marketing collateral is considered useless by Sales.”
Proceedings of the Customer Message Management Forums,
published by the American Marketing Association, 2002 and 2003
“As much as 40% of a sales rep’s time is spent creating presentations,
customizing messaging, and preparing for pitches.”
CMO Council Study, 2004
As you can see, marketing and sales effectiveness is significantly reduced when Marketing produces only company, market, and product messaging.
The good news is that when Marketing does provide customers and Sales with both descriptive messaging and persuasive sales messaging, great things happen fast. Consider these reports from your peers:
“The competitive sales messaging, with supporting customer videos and presentation, helped us take 15% off
our key competitor’s market share and win an incremental $1M in revenue in just 7 months!
It also reduced field support issues by around 75%.”
Angelo Umali, SAD, Sales and Technical Support Engineer, Agilent Technologies, Inc.
“The impact on the region was immediate. The first time the new sales messaging and strategy was used, we closed
a $100k sale to a F500 company in less than 60 days. Sales in the region increased approximately 35%.”
Barbara Wehrle, Director, Western Region, SilverStream Software, Inc.
These significant improvements in marketing and sales effectiveness consistently occur when Marketing provides persuasive answers to the customer’s key buying questions and enables Sales to do the same.
Here are some of the key departmental improvements that can be expected when more effective customer sales messaging is integrated into your customer messaging platform:
The value to the product development/research and development team is that:
• It increases customer focus, meaning that there is better alignment of new product investment
with the solving of valuable customer problems.
• It results in more competitive products.
• And it results in higher margins.
The impact on the product marketing team when it implements customer sales messaging is that:
• It increases the percentage of deliverables (that is, training, collateral, and sales tools) considered useful to helping Sales generate revenue and to helping prospective customers make good buying decisions.
• It increases Marketing’s ability to market solutions.
• And it creates faster penetration of new and existing markets.
The result of implementing sales messaging for the sales operations team is that:
• It increases the effectiveness of the product training, sales opportunity training, and competitive training, and traditional sales skills training for both direct and partner sales channels.
• It increases time-to-channel effectiveness by reducing the amount of time it takes the field to successfully start selling the value of new products.
The impact of adding sales messaging for the inside, field, and channel sales teams is that:
• It increases the size of the sales pipeline.
• It improves the win/loss ratio, or the proposal-to-order ratio.
• It increases the average order size and it reduces discounting.
It’s simple and powerful. Use customer sales messaging as a tool to improve the quality of your customer messaging and you will make dramatic improvements in the effectiveness of all your sales and marketing investments. This messaging strategy works like a “silver bullet” to help you accelerate revenue, market share growth, and your career.