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Five Strategies for Speaking to B2B Buyers' Pain Points

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In this article, you'll learn...

  • Five ways to build an offer your prospects can't refuse
  • Why understanding buyer motivations is crucial to making sales offers

Effective B2B lead generation, lead qualification, and lead nurturing programs are built on a rock-solid messaging platform—your offer.

The most important aspect of a great offer is a deep understanding of what motivates potential buyers. When you fully understand their pain points and needs and can align them with a clear offer and comprehensive benefits, the sales nurturing process will leapfrog ahead.

Here are five strategies that build stronger, more powerful offers that will help your sales team close more deals.

1. Base your offer on the three conditions of need

Let's look at what motivates buyers to buy:

  • Fear of a loss occurring in the current situation
  • Perceived risk that the situation is deteriorating
  • An opportunity to improve the future situation

The first of those three is the easiest to sell to. I always tell salespeople to continue to ask questions until they reach the first or second condition; selling to the third condition is selling into wishful thinking and therefore very difficult.

Many "no decision" outcomes in sales involve selling to someone who is always interested in learning how to improve, but has no immediate motivation to do so.

2. Incorporate ultimate benefits

The "So-What Exercise" in sales training focuses on layering benefits for as long as possible until you reach one or more of the following ultimate benefits:

  • Saving money
  • Saving time
  • Improving a product or service
  • Saving lives

Benefits are, ultimately, why anyone buys anything for his or her company. Though you cannot simply say, "Buy from ABC Company and save money," the reason anyone buys from ABC Company is to save money (or because one or more of the other ultimate benefits).

The key to using ultimate benefits, though, lies in linking differentiators to the most significant ultimate benefit so that the reader sees why buying from your company will provide a benefit and why your company is different.

3. Take advantage of the reasons people buy

The other side of offer development has to do with WIIFM (what's in it for me?). People buy things for their companies for business reasons, but also for personal reasons, such as these:

  • It's their job
  • Recognition
  • Security
  • Compensation
  • Self-actualization

When marketing and selling to a buyer, you should understand not only why she might buy on behalf of the company but also what might motivate her to buy for personal reasons.

4. Put your offer to the "same page" test internally

Is everyone at your company on the same page with your offer? A simple but effective way to test your company's messaging is to ask every possible stakeholder to answer the following questions:

  • Who is My Company?
  • Who is My Company's target audience?
  • What problem does My Company solve?
  • What is My Company's category?
  • What benefits do our products or services provide the market?
  • What is the competitive landscape?
  • How is My Company different?
  • What is the objective of this offer?
  • What is the scope (money and time investment)?
  • What is the timing?
  • What is the budget?

Once that test is complete, compare the answers, and identify discrepancies. The most senior executive in the company should deal with tie-breaker issues.

Be bold, and hold the team accountable for the decisions they make about the answers.

5. Take your offer to market... then listen

Now that you have enhanced and focused your offer, it's time to take it to the market.

How much should your sales representatives talk about your product or solution? As little as possible. Effective salespeople know that good prospects sell themselves as they talk about their particular business challenges, opportunities on the horizon, and emerging issues.

Asking the right questions and then listening carefully to direct further discussion uncovers pain points that are most likely to motivate purchase. Training, constant coaching, applying a proven process, and maintaining a thorough knowledge of your offer are crucial to developing trust and purchase interest.

* * *

Refining your offer via the five strategies above will enable your sales reps to better understand prospects' motivations, engage them with more confidence, and convey how they can benefit from your product or solution.


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Dan McDade is the CEO of PointClear, an Atlanta-based prospect development company that helps B2B sales and marketing executives fill their forecasts with sales-ready buyers.

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  • by stephanhov Thu Sep 22, 2011 via web

    Great tips! Question...do you try to incorporate more than one of these (or all of them) at once, or is this more of a "pick what's best and run with it" list? I can attest to #1: I was actually successful in completing a sale by employing the first two parts of it after realizing the third part wasn't getting me anywhere. Then I read this...and understand why :)

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