Think about your work email inbox for a second. Every day, other businesses are reaching out to you. What do you typically do with those messages and emails? We bet you delete them.
But, why do you delete them? Because the email writer clearly doesn’t know who you are or why you would need these services.
If you hate being a recipient of this un-targeted, spray-and-pray strategy, don’t continue that cycle. The heart of any successful go-to-market strategy is an exciting, engaging, delightful experience for a hyper-targeted market.
This is the Golden Rule of a go-to-market strategy for B2B products—sell to your customers the way you would like to be sold to.
A B2B go-to-market strategy always starts with the customer
The first step to this golden rule is obviously understanding your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). Research them, understand what they’re reading, and keep up with industry trends. You also need to know what their jobs are specifically and the metrics they’re responsible for.
Once you have these details, you can communicate to your customers that you understand them, the industry, and their job. If you’re successful, you’ll resonate with your target market because they’ll immediately know why you’re reaching out.
One of our favorite sales trainers is John Barrows. He talks about how sellers need to be able to communicate “three whys.” This means that if a customer opens up an email from you, they should immediately understand:
- Why you’re reaching out
- Why you’re reaching out to them
- Why you’re reaching out to them right now
You have a finite character limit to communicate all of that, so you have to understand who the people you’re reaching out to are.
Avoid assigning homework
When you’re writing emails or messages, another thing to consider is the work you’re asking potential customers to do. You may think that customers want to learn about you, but learning is laborious. Buyers want you to get to the point as quickly as possible.
How often do you read a white paper or deck that another business sends you? We asked our entrepreneurs this question, and the answer was overwhelmingly “almost never.”
Yes, the customer wants to learn about you. They just don’t want to do the work to learn, so don’t make them. You need to do the work to learn about them to clearly deliver the most amount of education or value in the least amount of characters possible.
If your customers could solve their problem themselves, there would be no need for you.
As you’re building your go-to-market strategy, create the interactions you would want to see if you were a busy professional at the business you’re trying to sell to. If you can build that, you’re going to see a significant, positive change in your responses.
Software and a Service
B2C is self-service. A person is interested enough in a product or service to do the research themselves. A go-to-market strategy for B2B products is not the same. B2B is not self-service. It’s just service. Think about your sales process as a service you’re providing to potential customers.
We were recently working with a startup, and the founder mentioned that when they finish a demo with a potential customer, they say, “Let’s put together a proposal, send it over, and we can discuss it at a later meeting.”
What do you think happens after that? Once they send the proposal, they don’t hear anything back. Remember what we mentioned earlier? Don’t give customers homework.
With this startup, most of their proposals were effectively the same, with a few customizations here and there. Rather than sending the proposal to someone’s email inbox and making them read it, we suggested that this business review the proposal while they already have the customer on the phone. Then, they could make the customizations together and eliminate an entire extra meeting for feedback on the proposal.
The startup offered customers more clear communication and managed their expectations.
By taking a proactive approach to managing expectations as this startup did and following the golden rule of sales for B2B products, you’ll set the foundation for a strong business partnership in the future.