Making Your Case

Product Marketing needs to do a better job with differentiating their products and solutions in the BTB technology market place while properly fueling their sales organizations with the relevant information they need to close more sales deals. It is well documented how dissatisfied sales and marketing organizations are with each other in what’s been called the sales and marketing misalignment & disconnect problem.

What can we do in order to address this issue? I believe that product marketing organizations need to take on a holistic and comprehensive approach in addressing this problem. One of the solutions to this problem is called something that I termed and describe as; “Making Your Case”. This approach involves assimilating and presenting the right combination of relevant information needed to influence the buyer towards buying your product or solution.

“Making Your Case” involves building a reservoir of information for your product or solution that will be used to drive all aspects of your messaging, marketing content, sales content, and sales conversations. Your reservoir should contain any of the following information elements you feel are needed in order to make your case.

  • Description of what product/solution is and what it does.
  • Product/Solution technology and architectural overviews.
  • Customer’s problems, pains, underlying issues, concerns, challenges, & needs.
  • Mapping out and describing how the product’s major capabilities & features will address and solve the customer’s problems.
  • Impact of not addressing the problem.
  • Impact of addressing the problem with an alternative product, architecture or technology.
  • Technical & Business Outcomes
  • Technical & Business Benefits
  • Product/Solution areas of Differentiation
  • Impact, Value, Capability, or Outcome that product/solution provides to the customer’s business.

Now what can you gain by employing this approach?

  • Answer all the Why, What, & How questions regarding your product or solution.
  • Transfer the reservoir of information to your sales force so they can utilize it to have relevant & persuasive conversations with their clients and prospects.
  • To gain trust & credibility with the client since you will be engaging them with more worthwhile discussions.
  • Formulate new customer acquisition attack plans.
  • Differentiate your products/solution on the merits of its problem solving capabilities.
  • Create easy to remember linkages between any of the elements for the purposes of making key points and addressing client concerns & worries.

My personal motivational reason for utilizing this approach is to better prepare for this situation. Picture this; 3 competitors have gotten a hold of your prospect/client to discuss and present their product/solution. Your next, what do you think you and your team need to do & present in order to win the client over and close the sales deal?

8 Guidelines for Successful Messaging

Are you struggling with creating messaging and supporting content that truly gets prospects and clients to purchase your B2B technology product or solution? If you are then I’ll share with you 8 guidelines that I have used to keep me on track and focused.

1. Understand your target market and focus your efforts on doing everything you can to succeed. Get intimate knowledge of the TDM (technical decision makers), BDM (business decision makers) and other key stakeholders that will be involved in the evaluation and selection process. Get a handle on what their typical sales cycle and process is that they are progressing through in order to make a purchase decision.

2. Get familiarized with your competitor’s offerings and how they are positioning their offerings in your target market. Get a good understanding of what your prospects are being told, being pitched and reading. Also, evaluate alternative competitive technology offerings that serve the needs of your target market.

3. Understand all aspects of your client’s problems, pains, underlying issues, concerns and challenges. Put yourself in their shoes and think about what is it that they are trying to accomplish and how they will address the needs and issues they are facing. Also, take the opportunity to present issues and challenges that they might not be aware of.

4. Map out your product’s major capabilities and features towards how they will address and solve the customer’s problems, issues and challenges. I like to think of it in terms of the problem solving capabilities of the product and what it will resolve and do for the client.

5. Answer all of the Why, What, and How questions? Too often companies fail to clearly outline and answer all these questions. Why should I purchase your solution over a competitor’s? Why is your enabling technology and approach better at addressing my problems and issues? What is it, what will it do for me, and where will it take me? How and Why does it have superior problem solving capabilities over your competitors. Analyze and figure out where the gaps are and where the crucial areas of differentiation exist.

6. State the Full Impact of your product or solution that is relevant to your technical & business decision makers and key stakeholders. What will they receive by utilizing your product? Think about all the applicable technical and strategic benefits derived from your solution. Also consider all the desired state changes, technical outcomes, technical value, and business value.

7. Have the Right Mindset. Think and act as a Trusted Advisor and Problem Solver for your prospects and clients. Doing this will allow you to better relate to your client’s issues and position you to be trusting and credible.

8. Stay Connected with your Prospects & Clients. Gather, assess, reinforce and validate your messaging and supporting content by making field visits with clients, prospects, direct sales personnel and your indirect sales force. Practice what you preach and go have those engaging discussions that are based on your messaging and supporting content.