Message Development

Overview

B2B is about solving problems with a cost or negative impact on the prospect. If you are to be successful, you'll need to communicate in a way that will be hear, embraced, and acted upon. Its not negativity, its the reality. You need to scratch their itch, otherwise its more noise to be filtered like so much useless propaganda or marketing content.

Sales messages are persuasive, directed, and focused on the person or committee you are standing in front of in order to motivate engagement by the whole person. Its not just information. At the end of the quarter, nobody really cares how many people you educated.

The Sales Content Challenge

The vast majority of web sites, sales collateral such as brochures, handouts, presentations, demos, and webinars are Company-Feature-Function focused. Excellent graphics, layout, search relevance, and structure, yet they do little more than talk about their new shiny objects. Most would Fail the Logo Test. Go read your own copy, or have it read to you with out reference to your brand. Would anyone recognize it as you? Probably not. When the buyer cannot tell the difference, all that is left is cost-price, the ugly race to the bottom. Lets fix it together!

Buyer Focused

Note the word Buyer, not market level researcher, not Market Persona. You need focus on the Buyers:

  • Roles & Goals
  • What must go right
  • Impact on their world
  • What could go wrong
  • More…

After visiting thousands of web sites, reading countless blog articles, brochures, and edutainment pieces, I can fairly say most are boring and not remarkable. The majority of sales people that are successful tell great stories. They are able to connect on so many levels with the people they meet with, that given a choice, people prefer to buy from them.

The Put-Get Story

A long time ago when the earth was still flat….
Ok - not that long ago, I was selling large scale email software designed for campus style networks where the needs of from 1000 to over 60,000 users were to be met. We all thought it was pretty fancy, had all these beautiful white papers, and more TLAs (3 letter acronyms) than carter has pills. I learned it all - could spout off about more different protocols for moving, storing, securing, formatting, and a whole lot of other gunk that seemed to matter at the time. The early adopters loved it since they we're all over the those same protocols and whiz-bang words and concepts.

As the market matured, and more main stream buyers went shopping, I noticed that MEGO was occurring. MEGO meaning Mine Eyes Glaze Over, basically short hand for your buyer is not vertically comatose from all the techno babble we were spewing. Not good. Unconscious people don't write cheques.

So I changed the patter - took a closer look at our technology, and gave it a 40,000 foot view. Seemed to help.
Instead of alphabet soup, it was simplified to respond to :"What does your stuff do?" to which the answer became "We put stuff (on the mail server) and we get stuff (from the mail server). Emails, folders, address books, directories, personal preferences, all of your stuff. Put stuff, get stuff from anywhere you can make a connection to the internet. Pretty novel back in 1994, and absolutely ubiquitous by 1999 - it goes by fast.

The reducto from IMAP4, X.400/X.500, TLS, Kerberos, SMTP, X.509, Mime, S/MIME, IMSP with some amazing architecture about Unix and massive heavy iron from Sun, Solaris OS, HP, SGI, Digital, Linux (PC) etc. down to Put Stuff Get Stuff meant we could talk about what mattered to the buyer, their concerns, and circumstance in the same day. The story became about how our stuff would help them move their stuff.

And they bought more often than not.
On a different note, we we're so poorly priced that sales cycles took forever with all the risk that that portends, but thats another story….to be continued.

Our mission is to help you get, tell, and sell a better story to the people who can say yes.

Recommended Reading

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It is wrong to suppose that if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it – a costly myth.
W. Edwards Deming