B2B customers, like all customers, are human and bring human quirks and predictabilities into their purchasing decisions. You can’t begin to understand every motivation or mental purchase process for your customers or prospects, but we have several things we suggest you consider. In general, your customers are likely to buy from you for one of three reasons.
When you understand the corresponding humanness around those three reasons, you can be a better B2B participant. Psychological factors drive motivation and motivation drives action, specifically to a purchase.
Conscious and subconscious influences guide your customers from being a prospect to being a repeat and loyal buyer. Each of the following three reasons-to-buy has distinctive strategies linked to those conscious and subconscious influences you can implement to help advance your sales and form meaningful connections with your customers.
1. To Switch from the Competition
When trying to convert customers from a competitor to your product, it’s natural to focus on hot-button points, including price or quality. Our products are less expensive! Our products are higher quality! OK. While those are important aspects of any buying decision, a price point and the subjectiveness inherent in assessing quality might not be the motivators that push prospects to convert.
Instead, you need to understand the pain points driving their current situation and create messaging that addresses those.
“As B2B decision makers face increasing pressure to prove ROI, FOMU – fear of messing up – will be top-of-mind throughout their buying journey,” according to CFO feedback reported to LinkedIn. “Given tight budgets and increasing scrutiny, this will impact sellers as customers push for more evidence that the products and services they’re invested in are driving organizational value.”
FOMU is a powerful pain point—and fear is an emotional motivator and catalyst for action in most large-scale purchasing situations. We’re absolutely not advocating for creating fear, but we do see the value in helping prospects move from a competitor. Show prospects how your products or services can help ease worries or concerns they might currently have with your competitors’ products or services.
If their pain point is transparency in the purchasing process (enter FOMU), show prospects how your ordering, delivery and invoicing is straightforward and clear-cut. Show how your customer service follow up and expertise can help alleviate this pain point.
You can also address whatever fear keeps B2B buyers inert and prevents them from acting. Money-back guarantees may remove fear about wasting money on a new product that doesn’t deliver for them.
If the buying process is multilayered and prospects are uncertain of their ability to explain your product to higher-ups, provide detailed information for buyers to share, so they don’t have to carry the burden of clarifying or describing the details that make your company a better choice. Give your prospects what they need to do battle against their own FOMU.
Fear also goes hand in hand with need—or the perception of need.
B2B customers purchase products and services to address a specific business need or solve a problem and if they have a need/problem your business can solve, they are often motivated to consider what you offer. We all know this riddle.
But, and we’re channeling the late Steve Jobs here, people and prospects don’t always have a need until you illuminate one.
Again, it’s not about stirring up fear and creating problems where they don’t already exist, but some prospects might need a little assistance in seeing why your products are a better choice. To boost their awareness, show how your products are relevant to their challenges. Then demonstrate how you can address those challenges better than others.
2. To Upgrade to a Product of Yours
Convincing a customer to upgrade to a better product can be more difficult than converting them from your competition. First, we’re back to motivation. Upgrading doesn’t usually have the fear factor that converting does.
If your initial product offering is satisfying, moving to an upgrade can undermine a customer’s trust. A push to upgrade can seem like you got them in the door with a basic product that really isn’t that wonderful and now they need to spend more money to get what you really think is good. We’ve all been in that kind of a position where our eyebrow goes up and we wonder if an upgrade was the plan all along.
This is where relationship-building becomes a key KPI. Even as relationships help with customer retention, they also help to upgrade sales, according to Forbes. Humans like trusted relationships. They invest and nurture trusted relationships.
In B2B, the right relationships unlock initial opportunities, but more importantly, they’re crucial to the extension of opportunities (upgrade here!). In a time of reduced or limited demand, the smartest B2B organizations will devote more of their time to cultivating established relationships to build trust, so that when the time comes to upgrade or update, all parties welcome the discussion.
“Relationship-building will move to a key priority within sales organizations, with some leaders even starting to track it as a KPI or adding the health of relationship-building within targeted accounts as a dimension to pipeline reviews,” according to LinkedIn Business. “The increased focus on relationships will be a pivotal development, given that it is a fundamental shift from the smile-and-dial approach of transactional sales performance from the past few years.”
If it sounds like it’s a customer retention strategy, that’s because it is. Customer retention and moving a customer to further commit to your products or services with an upgrade are doppelgangers. Read the LinkedIn sales blog for more on this idea.
At its most basic, you’ll need to demonstrate how an upgrade helps your customers achieve success. If an upgrade equates to a faster installation or the ability for less-skilled workers to effectively work with the product, your customer will be more comfortable going with it.
3. To Buy a Completely New Product
A new product — not the latest version of an existing product — requires being able to identify early adopters of trends and focus your efforts on selling to them. But it involves repetition of the first three steps in human purchase processing: need recognition, information search and evaluation of alternatives.
Even within a solid B2B relationship, when you ask customers to consider purchasing a new product—or product line, it’s a lot like starting from scratch. According to marketing principles and psychology, the buying process starts when the human brain senses a difference between its actual state and its desired state, which is referred to as problem awareness or need recognition. Humans usually become aware of a need through internal stimuli.
OK, so what’s your role in that scenario? You can relate your product to something the customer is already familiar with, explain what it does, how it’s different and why the customer should use it, but that’s a basic framework.
To be more successful more of the time, remember the value of your content. Your content can create awareness, address information search and focus on alternative evaluation.
According to Forbes and lead generation company NetLine, content drives B2B purchase decisions.
“The [Netline] report, gleaned from 38,000 B2B professionals, shows that the more B2B content your audience consumes, the more likely they are to make a purchase decision,” according to Forbes. (Want to read the report yourself? Find it here.
If you have a new product, make it—and its alternative–a feature of (most of) your content. But don’t just praise and promote your product without substance. In the Forbes article on the Netline report, those in the B2B industry are hungry for content, but aren’t fans of weak content (who is?). B2B content is content that’s written to please executives rather than to connect with buyers, and has a promotional salesy tone and approach, doesn’t land with prospects.
Let your content create a learning opportunity and people will consume it—bringing you one step closer to a deeper relationship and (maybe) a sale.
Once you’ve tapped into human motivation and your customers purchase a new product from you, it’s important to properly monitor your customers’ experience using the new product. You want to recognize and acknowledge any issues and move quickly to address them, which brings us full circle to the (human need) for relationship and trust.
If you’d like more information on how you can boost your building materials sales, call or email us to start a conversation.
Understanding your B2B customers’ motivations helps you better connect with them and improve your sales efforts by addressing their specific pain points and needs.
Instead of solely focusing on price or quality, identify the pain points driving their current situation and create messaging that addresses those concerns. Show how your products or services can alleviate worries or concerns they may have with your competitors.
Offer money-back guarantees to remove fear about wasting money on a new product. Provide detailed information that helps buyers explain your product to higher-ups and alleviate their concerns about the buying process.
Building trusted relationships is crucial for customer retention and upgrading sales. Devote time to cultivating relationships to build trust, so that when the time comes to upgrade or update, both parties welcome the discussion.
Demonstrate how the upgrade helps customers achieve success, whether it’s through faster installation or improved usability for less-skilled workers. Emphasize the value and benefits they will receive with the upgrade.
Identify early adopters and focus your efforts on selling to them. Relate the new product to something the customer is already familiar with, explain its unique features, and emphasize why they should use it. Use content to create awareness, address information search, and aid in alternative evaluation.
Content plays a crucial role in driving B2B purchase decisions. The more B2B content your audience consumes, the more likely they are to make a purchase decision. Create valuable, informative content that connects with buyers rather than relying on promotional sales tactics.
Monitor their experience using the new product, recognize any issues, and address them promptly. This helps build trust and maintains a positive relationship with customers.
Contact us to start a conversation and learn more about how you can enhance your building materials sales.