Why did B2B communications get so lazy?

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When trying to drive B2B new customer acquisition, the messages that your potential customers see are of paramount importance, whether that’s from a marketing B2B communications or directly from your sales force.

As McKinsey & Co pointed out in 2015, “an explosion of communication vehicles and interaction channels has ratcheted up the expectations of business purchasers. Many more influencers and decision-makers are now involved in the purchasing process, and business buyers too have been shaped by their consumer shopping experience.”

Over the past few years, there has been an explosion of content marketing, but only 42% of B2B marketers say they are effective at content marketing. Why might this be?

We think it’s down to being able to craft the right messages. Within B2B, the focus remains on selling products & services, so as a result, sales and marketing leaders keep telling the same story – the features and benefits of products and services. Now it’s time to deliver this across multiple channels, but the messages haven’t changed. We’re still talking about features and benefits, but we suddenly think prospects should be buying because we’ve reached them on multiple touchpoints. Wrong.

Time to rethink the messaging

Using this simple three-step framework can help step away from the messages and help feed into a content marketing strategy about what you’re going to say, not just where you’ll say it.

1. What’s going on in your world

Most of the problems stem from here; the overreliance on using these messages about products and services, or how great the organisation is to work with, or the latest new hire. But they’re only part of the mix. Park these ones for now and read on.

2. What’s going on in the world

COVID-19! Sad but true. It’s still dominating the news cycle, and this link to what’s happening in the world shows that you’re clued into wider issues that affect business as a whole, and how your products and services meet those problems. The dynamic of the message has now changed, and you’re communicating from a different position. If you don’t want to talk COVID-19, there’s always Brexit, but we don’t have the energy for that!

3. What’s going on in our customers’ world

Probably the most important of the three. Segmenting your audience and knowing your buyers allows you to craft messages that answer their expressed and latent needs. Putting yourself in their shoes and thinking about their challenges shows that you understand their business and that you’re right for them.

Takeaways

  • Stop B2B communications just from a ‘products and features’ angle
  • Follow a simple messaging framework to craft new talking points
  • Decide on the channels last – where do you need to be for your prospects to see these messages?

About Liam

Liam McNally is head of agency for Golley Slater’s sales growth division. Partnering with some of the UK’s biggest and most well-respected brands, the team deliver outsourced sales and marketing programmes that transform new customer acquisition, customer relationship management, lead generation, B2B communications and direct marketing for clients across the UK, Republic of Ireland and Europe.

To chat with Liam about ways to achieve sales growth, get in touch for a virtual coffee.

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This article is published by Golley Slater PRM.
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