We've all been there. You're on a website, and you're focused on figuring out what exactly a company's technology does or how it's different from its competitors. You're really concentrating. You read the messaging once, twice, even three times. You just can't get at the crux of it through all the buzzwords. Or what about being at a conference and thinking, "Oh no, I had three choices for my after lunch speaker, and this is so the wrong one. I could possibly die a slow painful death before 2:00 p.m."
The foisting of boredom upon others is a problem that needs to be tackled. So let's turn the focus to having an interesting B2B message, being heard and remembered whether you are in marketing or sales, and most importantly, being purchased by your customers.
First, a short quiz: Your B2B prospects/customers are _____________?
A. BDMs -- Business decisions makers (all about the business benefits)
B. TDMs -- Technical decision makers (all about cost, integration, platforms, and maintenance)
C. Just people
Trick question. The answer is all three. But C is perhaps the most important one to keep in mind. Last night, the people you're talking to watched television programs like "American Idol," "CSI," and " Game of Thrones," with the hopes of being entertained. Now that it's the next day, and they are in their BDM or TDM attire; they are still just people.
Here are nine practical actions for B2B marketers and salespeople to take to avoid putting audiences to sleep.
Pay tribute to Curly
Curly, in famous "City Slickers" character, said, "One thing; Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don't mean shit." In that case, it was about the secret of life. In this case, it is the secret of B2B messaging. Stop using all the same buzzwords as your competitors (i.e., fully leverage, fully optimize, most comprehensive, drives maximum efficiency, seamlessly integrated, mission-critical, innovative, blah, blah, blah). Think about explaining your product/service to your 80-year-old grandma -- then use those same words in your marketing. Does she know what "fully leverage big data" means? Probably not. Reduce the noise around your core value proposition and make it simple and clear what your one thing is.
Remember Jerry Maguire
Cuba Gooding Jr. didn't order Tom Cruise to "talk about the money." Or "drone on about the features of the money," or "describe the benefits of the money." He screamed, "Show me the money!" Show how your products/services solve a real problem that your specific audience is likely to have. Start there. Make it real for them. Your customer's business interests them, not your product. Show your product in such a way that they can actually feel how it would be used on a daily basis in their business to improve revenue, make happier customers or employees, or decrease costs. Tell a real and relevant story or two by bringing it to life.
Take chances. If everyone in your competitive set has a website detailing every possible feature of their product, simplify and streamline your site. Focus on customer stories instead. Pick something and do it differently -- do it better. Volvo recently thought to hook up with a martial arts movie star to sell its large trucks (focusing on its precision steering). That's different. That stands out. That makes for some amazing content that people want to learn more about. Contrast that to reading the steering's engineering specifications, which certainly would have been a snooze fest.
These next six actions will help you get your message across in a way that makes your audiences want to maintain eye contact with you -- instead of not-so-subtly checking email on their phones.