There are lots of ways to find out what your existing and potential B2B customers want, and we all should be investigating them regularly. But what turns them off? What are the no-no's that are driving your leads to the exits as fast as their feet can carry them? Are there certain habits and edifices that we should retire ASAP to at least give ourselves a chance at winning them over? Here's my top 5.
Your Brand - Everywhere
Yes, you have a strong brand, and you want everyone to know about it, but that's not what potential buyers care about. When they visit your website or office, do you immediately clobber them with how great you are (in your opinion)? Isn't it a bit much, all this self flattery? Sure you've won awards and done great things, but why not let your leads discover those things as they perform their due diligence? Why not keep your conference room clean and put up a nice big whiteboard where you can engage your visitors in conversation and problem solving? They will remember you for that - not your photos of Joe CEO shaking the hand of POTUS. Why not simplify your About Us page and give people the facts instead of the fluff? Nobody cares about the hobbies of your Senior Management team. Talk about their qualifications, and keep it really short.
So everybody loves your products and can't wait to dive into your brochures and spec sheets, right? No, they really don't. They found you online because your thought leaders talk about important topics and offer insights and solutions. Your website should do the same thing. Your marketing campaigns should too. In B2B, people are looking for answers, not deals. They want to discover a path to solving their problems, but they're primarily looking for brands that talk about their problems first. The solutions can follow, but putting them up front and in your face is a great way to disengage your potential customers.
You are assuming that people who visit you and your website are in the final stages of evaluating you and just need that final argument to choose you over your competitors. Yes, that's important, but it shouldn't be the first thing they see, or even the second or the third. Ideally your testimonials belong at the tail end of your lead nurturing campaigns or buried in your About Us section, where people can find them as the do their due diligence. Again, stop thinking it's all about you. Think about what your customers really want - value, service and relationship. Let them discover those things over time as they get to know you.
Yes, it's important for people to get to know you and what you stand for. But Mission Statements, Core Values, and fluffy About Us pages don't deliver the goods. In fact, they can make people wonder why you even brought it up. Of course you believe in honesty and customer satisfaction, safety and reliability. You wouldn't have any customers if those things weren't true. Why bring it up? I'm thinking there might actually be a problem that you are trying to address, a weakness that wasn't even on my list of FAQs. Your customers assume that you are good guys, so why tell them about it? Besides, it's really old school these days. Don't talk about what you stand for, prove it.
Let's see, you're growing really fast and you want everyone to know about it. That tells me that your were small before, and now you're trying to catch up to the big boys. Along with that comes all of the chaos associated with rapid growth, so you're really disorganized right now and a risky proposition for our business.
You just captured a huge deal with a well-known player in the industry. You even talk about the scale of the project in your press releases. Great. Now I know that you are a fat cat and don't really need my business. You're likely to cut a very hard bargain at the negotiating table because you don't need my business anymore.
You just won the best product award from go-to industry review or organization. Congrats! Again, this is one of those discovery things. It's better to have your customers find out by word of mouth or by scrolling to the footer of your website. Why? Because you're confident that you're the market leader. You don't need the award, but it's a nice decoration to go with your tagline and logo at the bottom of the page. It's great to be recognized, but wait 'til you see what's coming next! We are not slowing down to accept the award and brag about it. We're off to the next thing.
The Common Thread
I can't say it any more succinctly than:
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
I'm impressed by your thought leadership, your humility, your innovation and your attention to my needs. The other stuff - I'll get to that when I drill down on which company is the best fit for my business. For now, just talk about what you do and why it could work for me.
Photo credit: JasonParis
With over 30 years of business and marketing experience, John loves to blog about ideas and trends that challenge inbound marketers and sales and marketing executives. John has a unique way of blending truth with sarcasm and passion with wit. You can connect with John via Twitter, LinkedIn or follow John McTigue on Google Plus.