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
As we approach 2021, a shift in the traditional B2B buying cycle has created even more interdependency between sales reps and marketing. Today’s sales reps must have a higher level of discovery conversations with prospects. They need more tailored sales tools and content to map potential buyers’ needs and determine the best course of action at each stage of the buying cycle.
Only together can sales and marketing effectively fill the roles of Storytellers, Substantiators, and Derailleurs. We addressed storytellers in the last column. Let’s look at Substantiators.
Potent Proof Points
As marketing becomes more and more about content and sales become more and more about expertise, the skillsets shared by both teams have greatly increased. While stories provide a clear picture of the provider’s promise to a prospect, substantiators provide detailed, factual, or demonstrable proof of the promise. They give a customer a reason to believe, and they provide evidence that supports your claims.
Here are some potent proof points:
- Claims backed by science or expert in the field: Trials and studies support your claims, but they should be independent, unbiased, and come from a reputable source to be believable. Experts in a relevant field can lend credence to a company’s approach rather than its end-product or service.
For example, a behavioral scientist that has conducted an NHTSA study on the best ways to affect driver behavior change can indirectly reinforce a service provider’s strategy as a trade association conference or webinar guest speaker or as the author of a trade press article.
- Reviews and testimonials: Nothing is more potent than other people who laid down their hard-earned cash for your product, validating the efficacy of your solution. Someone who has no vested interest in your company lends credence to a claim. By the way, the more compelling the message delivery, the better.
A company-produced testimonial sales slick is better than nothing, but a trade magazine’s published article brings third-party credibility and is more effective. The medium, too, makes a difference in viewer acceptance. Consider video testimonials rather than long-winded expository.
- Category longevity or expertise: Whether you are the market leader or you’ve been in business for 100 years, sustainability, viability, and expertise can be proof points in and of themselves.
In the final column of this series, we will look at Derailleurs’ importance in today’s changed B2B market. I invite you to reach out to me at 215-839-1306, or results@ITAcommunications.com , if it’s time to revisit your company’s sales & marketing strategy in light of today’s changed B2B market.
Last but certainly not least, I wish you a very Happy & Healthy Holiday season and a peaceful, prosperous & soon-to-be-pandemic-free New Year!