Here’s an important question, but one that you must answer honestly . . . do your buyers trust your company?
A few years back, I discovered an excellent blog post in Forbes by contributor and B2B consultant Christine Crandell “Influencing Your Buyer”. I still often refer back to it in conversations with clients.
Here’s a quick digest of some of Crandell’s key points that resonated the most with me:
- Buying today is based on earned trust. Gone are the days of push marketing and the 4 Ps of price, promotion, place and product. Those have all but been replaced by buyer enablement and outcome, proof, value and experience.
- For marketing to be relevant, it must stop acting as sales’ advocate and focus on enabling buyers and earning their trust, which only comes from knowing the buyer’s journey.
- The bottom line? Marketing’s important charter is to gain the trust of buyers by enabling them; only then can they influence the buyers’ journey.
- Buyers go through five major pre-purchase — or enablement — stages during the buyer’s journey: Problem Definition, Solution Search, Solution Evaluation, Validation and finally ending with Purchase.
- Marketing must discovery where buyers go, when, and for what information to achieve which goal for each stage.
- Don’t assume that buyers are always interested in purchasing a solution.
- Only by aligning to the buyer across all the enablement stages can marketers begin to build trust and, if achieved, influence the buyer to engage with sales earlier.
- For the buyer, the customer lifetime experience is more important than the point of purchase.
- Continually receiving meaningful value is a key trust building activity.
- Regardless of the form the value comes in — whether its content, tools, connections, and/or free products — the level of value realized during the enablement stages sets the buyer’s expectation of value they can expect as a customer.
Customer case studies are one of the best ways to gain the trust of your buyers and offer proof. If a buyer has any doubts about the content of specific case study — or if the claims it contains just seem “too good to be true” — your buyer can always contact your customer for verification.
Why not take a few moments now to stop and ask yourself . . . “What (if anything) is our company doing to cultivate the trust of our company’s buyers?”