Even though things are starting to look up, companies are still a bit wary about spending limited dollars in a tough economy. Might there be a devilish tactic lurking somewhere out there that will break through their uncertainty? Susan Fantle says yes.

In a recent post at the B2BMarketingSmarts blog, Fantle wrote about a discovery about herself as a B2B marketer. "Whether I'm writing copy for collaboration software or … leadership training," she reports, "the benefits I present are all in the same categories." She isolated the ones that pay off, and formed a list of the Top 10 Marketing Motivators in the B2B World:

1. To make money
2. To save money
3. To save time
4. To avoid effort
5. To be praised
6. To be in style
7. To emulate others
8. To take advantage of opportunities
9. To avoid criticism
10. To avoid loss

Then, reading a post by another marketer (Christine Durkin of MockVideo) at a LinkedIn discussion, Fantle had a classic "Aha!" moment. "I was reminded of a new angle on an old benefit," she writes. Durkin's comment: "One of the main reasons a B2B sale is lost is that the prospect isn't truly aware of the cost of doing nothing."

Fantle took that thought and formed it into this advice for B2B marketers trying to close a deal: "Rather than inviting late buy-cycle prospects to … download another white paper," Fantle suggests, "give them a bottom-line incentive to make a decision. [Provide] a calculator or quantitative numbers on what it's costing [them] to NOT make a decision."

In other words, play devil's advocate. Doing so "tells a powerful story that could close a sale," she concludes.

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