As the first day of the B2B Sales & Marketing Exchange kicked off, attendees zipped in and out of workshops, case studies and networking opportunities to help them break the mold and innovate their overall GTM strategies for the most success.
In the Monday afternoon keynote, “Acquisition Vs. Expansion: Using Decision Science To Acquire, Keep & Grow Customer Revenue,” Corporate Visions’ SVP of Marketing Leslie Talbot highlighted the biggest difference between high and low performances: Articulating value.
“To learn how to articulate value, you first need to understand what your audience actually values,” said Talbot. “How do they create value and make choices, and how does that influence how you — as a marketer or seller — interact with that?”
Disrupt The Status Quo To Encourage Change
The biggest takeaway from Talbot’s keynote was that client acquisition does not equal retention, and each one requires a unique, yet similar, approach. For acquisition, Talbot explained that it revolves around creating a buying vision, which she referred to as conveying a “why change, why now” message to prospects.
“If you want an effective conversation with the buyer, you need to back that conversation up to the point where the prospect is struggling,” she explained. “You need them to challenge their assumption about the way their current world works and get them to see it in a different way. If you can deliver that “why change” message, you can create a much faster and better trajectory for you and your solution.”
A major factor of conveying the “why change, why now” message is by disrupting the client’s status quo, which traditionally consists of:
- Preference stability, as people prefer to commit and double-down on their decisions;
- Cost of change, which includes believing the status quo is the same;
- Selection difficulty, when all options look alike; and
- Anticipated blame/regret, as no one wants to make a bad decision and be responsible for a poor product.
Now, to disrupt those notions, orgs must:
- Create uncertainty by making prospects doubt their current decisions;
- Show them that staying the same costs more than changing, as the client will likely fall behind as older solutions create compliancy, accelerate risk and generally create more problems;
- Depict a clear contrast between you and your competitors;
- Share a relevant client success story with the same/similar problem and how your solution helped.
Essentially, salespeople must destabilize prospects’ preferences, show them their flawed approach and then highlight how their solution can create a better workflow, process and more success.
“The biggest mistake I see marketers and sellers make is shoehorning their solution in too quickly in their ‘why change’ messaging,” explained Talbot. “Instead, you must get prospects to buy into your approach before they buy into your product. Your ‘why change’ framework must create urgency, too, by attaching their problem to a business issue or industry trend you know they care about. Make sure you align that story with a real-world issue.”
Re-Establish The Status Quo Once Change Is Made
Here’s where status quo disruption gets interesting: Once an organization defeats the status quo in the acquisition stage, they must shift gears and re-establish it in the retention stage. To do this, marketing and sales must:
- Reinforce why their solution(s) are the best choice for the client;
- Highlight how making a change can end up costing customers more money;
- Demonstrate how they’re keeping up with the market and other real-world changes; and
- Generate doubt about the client shifting providers.
Reestablishing the status quo gives organizations “the incumbent advantage,” Talbot explained.
“As the incumbent, you have an advantage because the client invested in you just as much as you’ve invested in them, so they’ll be reluctant to make a move because they would have to start from scratch,” she continued. “When your competitor comes in to steal the client away from you, they will not be successful because you are the status quo — not an untested, unproven and unknown solution. You need to have these conversations infused in all your selling and marketing materials to reinforce the client’s status quo bias.”
The Role Of Content & Bringing Prospects On Your Website
A major component of disrupting the status quo and making changes revolves around content. But before organizations can serve that content up to prospects, they must work to get those companies on their website to start the first stage of education.
Bridget Poetker, Director of Content and Brand for Postal, an offline engagement platform, highlighted the difference in content consumption in her case study with Demandwell, “How Postal Spent Less Money (But Drove The Same Results) By Investing In Organic Search.”
“We think we know how people consume content, but we have no idea,” said Poetker. “There are websites like Hotjar to give you an idea and you can add a CTA (call to action), but you don’t know how people are going to come through. The way I search a website is different than how you search a website, so you need to give people opportunities to find your content. We think too much about publishing and not enough about distribution.”
On the distribution side, Influ2’s Co-Founder and CEO, Dmitri Lisitski, took the stage with “How To Help Sales NOW With Person-Based Advertising.” Lisitski outlined the power of person-based advertisements, as they help organizations enable sales to:
- Target the same audience sales reps are already in contact with;
- Track person-based engagements, such as interactions with an ad, and let sales act on it quickly;
- Work in parallel with internal teams to ensure seamless handoffs; and
- Understand that sale metrics are marketing KPIs.
“When a person clicks on an advertisement, it means they’re interested and something in your banner drew their attention,” said Lisitski. “For sales, this means the person is interested in specific topics — and when sales knows what those topics are, they can leverage that information in discussions with the client and generate better results.”
We’re here in Boston all week, so the insights will keep on coming! Stay tuned for Tuesday and Wednesday recaps.