The success of sales in the B2B segment depends on the ability of marketers to interest their offer to top managers who make purchasing decisions. Experienced sales know that frontal attacks on tops usually end in nothing. At best, managers delegate the study of the possibility of a transaction to their subordinates. After that, the potential sale is lost in a series of approvals.
Therefore, forward-thinking marketers are focused on shaping the demand for a product. They use content to manage the expectations, opinions and needs of top managers. Content marketing campaigns help salespeople break into the offices of executives and business owners and enter into large deals. Read below how it happens in practice.
Why is top a special customer?
A special approach is needed to every customer. However, the seller should try doubly, if his target audience - the leaders and business owners. If a marketer wants to sell his product, he should take into account the personality characteristics and preferences of a top manager. Experts of the Farland Group interviewed hundreds of top managers and business owners. They identified the personality and behavioral characteristics of a typical top, as well as its value orientations (see table).
Personal and behavioral features of tops
Value Orientations Tops
Have a busy schedule.
Appreciate time, do not like to spend it on empty talk.
During the working day, hold a lot of meetings.
Work on the result, evaluate the performance.
They do not like to “work as a second number,” for example, to make decisions under pressure.
They like to make decisions after discussions, but they strive to retain the right to have the last word.
Buy products that are personally valued and accepted.
The value of the product must be confirmed by practice.
Trust equal in status and team members.
Offers tops and business owners deserve priority consideration.
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Personal characteristics and value orientations of top managers influence their actions during the purchase of goods and services for the organization. When trying to sell something to a manager or owner of a business, you may encounter such behavior:
- Delegation of product research to team members. Tops rarely spend time independently exploring the details of a business proposal, supplier reputation or price justification. At the same time, they still recommend to subordinates what to look for when preparing a deal.
- Loyalty to reliable, in the opinion of the head, suppliers of goods and services. The typical top prefers to buy goods and services from sellers with whom he has been dealing with for a long time. Beginners will have to try to overcome mistrust and prove the viability of their product.
- The desire to save time. Top managers can discuss with sellers strategic issues related to a possible deal. However, they immediately interrupt the interlocutor, if he goes into details, which should be discussed with the middle manager. In addition, managers are spending time exploring a new proposal, if they believe that the product is far superior to its counterparts and will give its enterprise a greater benefit. Relatively speaking, the top will gladly consider the possibility of buying a calculator that can replace wooden abacus. However, he will not think about the possibility of buying a new model of accounts, which differs from the old one by its small size and silent movement of the knuckles.
Buying goods and services in large organizations is a complex process, requiring the more approvals, the larger the company. However, its result often depends on the opinion of the top manager. Therefore, marketers operating in the B2B segment need to focus on selling the product to the tops. When planning a content marketing campaign, sellers should focus on managing the needs of top managers of organizations related to their target audience. In fact, marketers need to create, publish and deliver content to the tops that will help them want to buy the product. To do this, you need to consider three key recommendations.
1. Focus on educational and audience-friendly content.
Top managers appreciate expert-level content created using research results, case studies and practical experience. To make the manager pay attention to your publications, use information that improves business performance. Tell potential customers how your product helps businesses work better.
Attract to create content executives of companies that have already become your customers. For example, ask the tops to share their experience using the product and post their interviews. Ask how your company's decision has affected the buyer's business. You can also hold a webinar or workshop for managers and publish it. For this, for example, you can use the Google Hangouts service.
Strive for content to meet the expectations of top managers. To do this, your publications must have the following characteristics:
- Actual accuracy. Using research results increases audience trust in the brand. If tops trust your content, you're half way to success in B2B sales.
- The presence of generalizations and conclusions. Trying to save time, managers often do not pay attention to details. However, they must read the conclusions and practical recommendations.
- Adaptation to various information channels. It was noted above that top managers usually work on tight schedules. Give them the opportunity to read your content using a tablet or smartphone on the way to the next meeting, watch a video or view your publication on paper, lying on the couch after dinner.
- Nontriviality. Top managers pay attention to publications describing hidden opportunities that provoke healthy risk for businessmen and challenge them.
- Consistency and focus on strategy. When creating content for the tops, don't go too deeply into the technical details. The manager wants to know about the opportunities that the product gives to his business. However, he instructs his subordinates to deal with the nuances.
Do not forget that tops do not like pressure, obsession and requests. Try to have them subscribe to your newsletters, social network pages or blog updates. In this case, they will appreciate the publication.
2. Talk about product innovation and value.
Leave the technical descriptions for middle managers. Try to interest the stamp with benefits, to intrigue him with new ideas. To do this, for example, conduct an experiment that confirms the practical possibilities of your product. Publish cases, talk about the practical experience of using your solution.
You shouldn’t completely deprive content for top managers of tactics, since over-focusing on strategy can cause allegations of unfounded. However, do not lose the forest for the trees - tell us about solving specific problems with the help of your product, and not, conditionally, which button you need to press first.
3. Personalize content campaigns
A brand operating in the B2B segment needs to create personalized content. This does not mean that publications should be addressed personally to top managers of two or three main customers of the seller. It is about taking into account the preferences, feedback and opinions of the entire active audience.
To personalize campaigns, measure the effectiveness of individual publications, conduct polls, polls. Ask your audience to talk about the strengths and weaknesses of your materials. Find out what publications interest your target audience. Adjust the content plan taking into account the opinions of customers.
How to make a top manager buy your product
Success in B2B sales depends on the seller’s ability to interest the product of the manager or business owner. The problem is that top managers do not like to be imposed on something. They seek to make decisions on their own, but delegate the study of technical details to their subordinates.
In order for a certain company to buy your product or service, its top must see the value of the offer. Therefore, B2B sellers need to conduct content campaigns whose target audience are business leaders and owners. Content for the tops should focus on strategy, as well as show innovation and product value to the business. Publications should also take into account the preferences and feedback of the target audience.
What do you think, in what way can content be delivered for top managers to representatives of the target audience?