Your business might be telling an exciting, captivating and helpful story… but is the right person telling it?
Successful companies already know that people buy people. In my experience, professional buyers seeking product and service solutions will look at the people providing it and make subjective decisions based on how assured they are by the specialism and specialist knowledge they exhibit.
Specialist knowledge comes from an in-depth understanding only built up from previous experience of facing up to and conquering similar challenges.
So, thinking about how businesses marketers brand their companies in a bid to commercialise their offering, isn’t it a good idea to actually put that brand offer in the hands of the people who have created it? The people who are best placed to build strong credibility because of their inherent capability?
There is a commercial benefit to going down this route too; experts with highly prized knowledge can demonstrate value and attract a potential premium.
USE YOUR expert
But who is the real expert in your business? Who’s expertise brings in the money?
Many company owners know where the revenue sits, and who creates the products and services that are successfully monetised. Yet many companies keep these people at arm’s length from customers and clients.
I wonder why.
- Is it because they are somehow not competent or not credible with customers?
- Is it that we don’t trust them to stick to the script?
- Is it that we would rather they focus on the solutions despite the fact those solutions are best informed by direct customer feedback?
The reality is that the model most companies use to manage customer relationships is broken and the experience we are delivering is actually risking the relationship long term.
Long term success in the modern consultative sell means understanding that many B2B buying decisions often come down to fine margins. Whilst, the primary driver may well be for products that deliver improvement, save time, reduce waste, use sustainable materials and more, the value add and interpersonal chemistry matter.
There has been a strong track record of companies using key people in their marketing (as heroes) and this, depending on the type of company you are, can be a real winner. Prominent examples in the UK include Boeing, Halifax and B&Q.
A little bit more contact with the ‘brains’ of your operation is increasingly being seen as a more viable option to to the usual Chinese walls created by armies of call centre workers, field sales representatives, account handlers and other people designed to help traffic process.
Replace selling with serving
My advice: Be daring and place the experts in your business in a position to engage in customer dialogue. Adopt a model where you tap into their expertise and begin to demonstrate the value you profess to bring by replacing selling with serving.
And, for your next marketing campaign, regardless of whether you are setting acquisition, retention or engagement KPIs, think about what is going to resonate most with the audience you’re targeting.
Think about telling stories. Think about having your people who do amazing things day in day out, bring that story to life – and in doing so, begin to place them right at the heart of the narrative.
**Also, check out this post on watering holes and establishing where your customers hang out.**
Image: Ollie Heath