Tips for making online B2B communications less stiff, more human -- and more persuasive.
You sell business-to-business (B2B). Whether you sell paper clips or a highly complex, high-dollar solution, you must reach out to a decision maker. These elusive decision makers hold your transaction's fate in their hands. And contrary to popular practice, selling B2B isn't a mechanical, unemotional, linear, logical process.
To reach out and persuade decision makers, remember: decision makers are people. Treat them that way. Sell them that way.
They have identifiable motives, needs, and preferences. They have hopes, dreams, and goals. Their buying habits as consumers compared with their buying preferences as business decision makers may not be as different as you think.
Here are a few practical tips for making your B2B online communication efforts less stiff, more human, and a lot more persuasive.
Ask Three Essential Questions
There are three essential questions to ask regarding every page on your site:
Whom Must You Persuade?
Business decision makers fall into one of four preference categories:
No one truly fits completely into a mold. Yet there are established behavior patterns; when we make decisions, we typically strongly favor one of the above styles.
What Actions Must They Take?
When a business person lands on a page, she can take one of a handful of actions: bail; participate in a form (usually a conversion); or click. There are two types of links: action and points of resolution.
Evaluate each page's content against the preferences of the decision maker types. Determine which link each decision maker will follow or if there's no clear action for a specific decision maker.
How Will You Persuade Them?
Some Web pages and hyperlinks can be used to help decision makers purchase their way:
Benefits First, Features Second
When you sell anything, to other businesses or to consumers, lead with the benefits that are relevant to the buyers. They're not interested in product features until they're convinced that product is relevant.
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Bryan Eisenberg is co-founder and chief marketing officer (CMO) of IdealSpot. He is co-author of the Wall Street Journal, Amazon, BusinessWeek, and New York Times best-selling books Call to Action, Waiting For Your Cat to Bark?, and Always Be Testing, and Buyer Legends. Bryan is a keynote speaker and has keynoted conferences globally such as Gultaggen, Shop.org, Direct Marketing Association, MarketingSherpa, Econsultancy, Webcom, the Canadian Marketing Association, and others for the past 10 years. Bryan was named a winner of the Marketing Edge's Rising Stars Awards, recognized by eConsultancy members as one of the top 10 User Experience Gurus, selected as one of the inaugural iMedia Top 25 Marketers, and has been recognized as most influential in PPC, Social Selling, OmniChannel Retail. Bryan serves as an advisory board member of several venture capital backed companies such as Sightly, UserTesting, Monetate, ChatID, Nomi, and BazaarVoice. He works with his co-author and brother Jeffrey Eisenberg. You can find them at BryanEisenberg.com.
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