Written by Dan Konstantinovsky
Strategic Marketing, RH Blake
Content marketing’s role in addressing the risks of inaction with high-stakes B2B buying decisions.
B2B manufacturing companies that market long sales-cycle offerings, particularly complex ones that challenge the status quo, often leave out a critical selling point in their marketing materials – addressing their target customer’s risk of NOT purchasing.
In other words, you’re not just selling against your conventional competitors or the supplier who currently has their business. You’re also competing against inaction … or the customer making no purchase at all.
Too often we as marketers get caught up in the tangible selling points of bigger, faster, stronger, more efficient, more productive, less cost, less waste, etc. The better marketers even hit the “what’s in it for me” angle from the customer’s perspective. But many times, we fall short of acknowledging the various forms of risk the customer is facing as they consider the purchase. We miss out on the opportunity to help clear them of those mental hurdles.
Risk is causing nearly 6 out of 10 complex, high-stakes buying decisions to end with the customer concluding that the easiest (if not always necessarily the safest) thing to do is to simply stick with the status quo (source: Sales Benchmark Index). That’s not acceptable. We need to change that mindset.
Making things even more challenging, the more expensive and impactful of a solution you’re selling, the more likely that “risk” is your top competitor blocking you from making the sale.
Define “complex sale”
By complex sale, we’re talking about a purchase that is intended to make a significant change to the buyer’s business. Unlike transactional purchases that typically have a repeatable process, these are purchases that impact processes, behavior, culture and outcomes across the business or enterprise.
Here, the product or service Is viewed as a strategic decision that has to be thoughtfully considered. It typically involves multiple stakeholders and has to progress through various phases before a decision or direction can be confirmed.
There’s inherent risk for the individuals involved in the buying decision on these types of purchases, and it benefits marketers to know more about the drivers of this risk.