It’s About Selling Intelligence, Not Just Products
I’m always struck by B-to-B marketers’ focus on just selling products when, in fact, customers want to buy solutions. In B-to-B, most often, the products sold require knowledge to make them work. Computers need to be installed, networked, made secure, backed up, among a host of other things. Industrial supplies are often used in manufacturing processes. Even office supplies aren’t simple anymore. (When was the last time you bought and installed a new PC printer?)
Customers don’t want to just buy your products; they want to buy your products to use in a process and achieve a result. Often, the cost of not having your products is far greater than the cost of having them. Similarly, the cost of not having the application knowledge that goes with your products is far greater than the cost of the product being purchased. To be successful, B-to-B marketers must shift from sellers of products to “partners in the process,” committed to the end result.
There’s a great deal of product and application knowledge in your files and the heads of your experienced people. The trick is presenting it in a usable form to the customer when and where he wants it.
Advancing technology has helped to make this a whole lot easier. One ideal example is the advent of online video, and in particular YouTube. B-to-B customers are now the MTV generation of 20 years ago. They’ve grown up, but instant information is still the form they prefer. They no longer want to read endless catalog pages or manuals to find out what they want. They much prefer video or some other form of three-dimensional communication. Therefore, we’re seeing video presentations of our knowledge and intelligence rise in marketing importance.
For a company that gets it, take a look at www.globalindustrial.com. Its product videos communicate more in less than a minute than any catalog page ever could. More importantly, you gain an understanding of the people/company you’re buying from.