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.
Meet Bryan at Search Engine Strategies in Toronto, Canada, May 4-5, 2005.
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Bryan Eisenberg is coauthor of the Wall Street Journal, Amazon, BusinessWeek, and New York Times bestselling books "Call to Action," "Waiting For Your Cat to Bark?," and "Always Be Testing." Bryan is a professional marketing speaker and has keynoted conferences globally such as SES, Shop.org, Direct Marketing Association, MarketingSherpa, Econsultancy, Webcom, SEM Konferansen Norway, the Canadian Marketing Association, and others. In 2010, Bryan was named a winner of the Direct Marketing Educational Foundation's Rising Stars Awards, which recognizes the most talented professionals 40 years of age or younger in the field of direct/interactive marketing. He is also cofounder and chairman emeritus of the Web Analytics Association. Bryan serves as an advisory board member of SES Conference & Expo, the eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit, and several venture capital backed companies. He works with his coauthor and brother Jeffrey Eisenberg. You can find them at BryanEisenberg.com.
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