I read an excellent article today by Barry Feldman over in Sacramento, which you can read here. Barry’s article relates to businesses, not individuals, and as such is very relevant to all B2B marketers. The proposition of the article is that as a B2B marketer, your value proposition can only be about two things:
That’s it, nothing else.
As a consumer, I might have a desire for material things to satisfy emotional needs. Businesses don’t (or at least none that I know of) suffer from these desires. Whether the business is setup to maximise profits for the shareholders or owners, or whether it is a social or charitable enterprise, it still has an aim of maximizing the difference between its income and its costs. Additionally, they want to achieve their aims within a specified time period. No business plan says “We aim to create a surplus of $10m, at some unknown time in the future”. These businesses aim to make money within a specified time period. They want to maximize income (money) and minimize costs (money) within a specified period (time).
We may be able to help them make money and save money. However, we can’t make any more time, so we can only aim to save time. But does your value proposition for what you do for your clients boil down to just these two things?
It really sounds far too simple to be true, so I thought it would be useful to put it to the test. I’m going to look at the range of things we all, as B2B marketers, do for clients, and what the value proposition for each of these “tasks” or roles is. Let’s get stuck in.
Here are some of the things we B2B marketers do for clients. It’s by no means an exhaustive list, but it does cover most of the main tasks that we at Search High do and likely most B2B marketers do. I’ve not intentionally avoided any particular function.
- Content Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Lead Generation
- Lead Management
Assume you meet a potential prospect at a networking meeting, and they ask you “What do you do?” You reply “We do SEO/content marketing/social media/email marketing/blogging (delete as appropriate).”
“Oh, that’s interesting,” they say, “Why would I want some of that?”
“Because it brings you more targeted site visitors,” you explain.
“Why do I want more visitors?” they query.
“Because you’ll have more people looking at what you sell.”
“Why do I need that?”
“Because you’ll sell more.”
“Yes, and…?” they ask.
“You’ll increase your income.”
“Will it cost me more than the income it generates?” they enquire.
“No, in fact you can free up internal staff to do other things, so it’ll actually save you money.”
“So it’ll make me money and save me cost?” they probe.
“I’ll take a whole truck load!”
It all sound pretty convincing, if you think about it. While businesses may have fancy mission statements and espouse all sort of community involvement, in the end, it all comes down to profit and loss. Other aims may be pursued unless, however, they conflict with the main profit maximization aim. Do they really want one of your specific offerings? Only if it provides what they really want.
“So what’s this analytics, lead generation and lead management it says here on your business card?” your prospect asks.
“Yes, we do those too,” you smile.
“Why would I want those?” they enquire.
“We can tell you who came to your site, what they did, how long they stayed,” you explain.
“I’m not really interested.” they scoff. “People come into my stores. I don’t care who they are or how long they stay, just that they buy.”
“Your sales people can be proactive and call or email these visitors when they are at the right point in the sales process. They may need help making a decision, or getting the information they want before they purchase.”
“What does all that mean?” they question.
“It means your sales people don’t waste their time, and your money, cold calling uninterested prospects. You visitor will buy more from you quicker, and you’ll sell more at less cost, making you more profit in less time,” you clarify.
“Better get a second truck.”
I must say, I’m pretty convinced by this argument of what a B2B marketing value proposition involves. I’m open to persuasion and I may be missing something, but I haven’t yet found a reason that any client wouldn’t want the result of anything we do to be other than increasing income, reducing costs and saving time.
It doesn’t mean that you should necessarily change your website from “We do SEO” to “We Make You More Profit, Quicker,” but you just might want to think about what your prospects really want when you tell them what you do.
Image: Time&Money by Shutterstock