A shift in the buying cycle means the sales representative is no longer an exclusive expert and the marketer is no longer the exclusive promoter. How are fleet service providers adapting to today’s buying cycle?
Ed Pierce, ITA Communications. Fleet
The generally-accepted B2B sales cycle – discovery of user needs, building customer trust, developing a compelling case to win through a strong use case, and closing the deal — has evolved. The modern sales cycle is driven by an ever-more- informed sourcing team.
A shift in the buying cycle means the sales representative is no longer an exclusive expert. It means that the marketer is no longer the exclusive promoter. Sales reps will always be the lynchpin between a B2Bservice provider and a customer. And, marketing’s role will continue to be finding opportunities. But, both sales and marketing need to be prepared to fill the roles of Storytellers, Substantiators, and Derailleurs. These three roles frame the future of marketing and sales for any B2B organization or brand.
The Importance of Storytelling
Forbes reports that 80% of B2B purchase cycles are made without vendor contact, and this percentage is only growing as buyers’ research capabilities shorten the vendor qualification of the TOF (top of funnel) timeframe. In this climate, organizations must find new and earlier ways to feed potential buyers’ thirst for information.
Many B2B product and service providers are making salient information available in the form of content that informs rather than promotes. The most compelling type of information is storytelling. It is a tool for evoking emotion in your target audience. A good story engages and highlights a provider’s values. A story is easier for prospective buyers to appreciate than a litany of features.
A story can be presented in multiple forms, such as video, photo or written blog content. They can be delivered through various channels. The most essential factor is to create relatable content. However, there is always the best way of telling a specific story. Below, you fill find some pointers on making storytelling a success.
Key Attributes of a Successful Story
The key components of a story ensure you with success at the outset. If all the factors have been considered, you will be able to communicate your ideas without leaving any loose ends for the customer.
• First: The first component of telling a good story is setting the scene. In that stage, you introduce the circumstances and communicate the main idea in a catchy title.
• Second: Once you have readers’ attention, engage them through Intriguing pertinent problems to solve or relevant facts to explain. Make them want to go on reading. This can be achieved by dropping exciting hints about what is going to follow further in the text. Apply these techniques to both the body of the introduction as well as in the title.
• Third: Readers are engaged when they can create links between a story and their own lives. Share a problem that your brand is designed to solve and detail how the problem was overcome. Craft a story that is both real, timely, and relatable. And, as part of an ongoing sales and marketing plan, develop multiple stories that fit the profiles of your top target prospect profiles.
• Fourth: Initiating a discussion increases public interest in your story. Readers may forget the details of a story, but they never forget how it made them feel. Stirring up discussion fits perfectly with post-discovery relationship building, too. This is another reason for multiple stories that can be applied as part of an account-based marketing campaign.
• Fifth, the last essential component of storytelling is presenting a problem solution format. product or service you are advertising is designed to resolve the issue presented in the story.
In the next two columns, we will delve into the importance of Substantiators and Derailleurs in today’s changed B2B market. I invite you to reach out to me at 215-839-1306, or [email protected] , if it’s time to revisit your company’s sales & marketing strategy in light of today’s changed B2B market.