B2B Sales: Time for a Mind Shift
There are some people who think that it is time to rethink the 4 P's of marketing in the B2B environment. In fact, a recent Harvard Business Review article talked specifically about fine-tuning the marketing mix—product, place, price, and promotion—and focusing more on solution selling.
In the B2B world, 57% of the purchasing decision making process is complete before any human interaction takes place, according to a study by the Corporate Executive Board. In other words, a B2B buyer does not reach out to a potential supplier until more than half of their purchasing process is complete. This number used to be 15% not that long ago. In fact, the reality is that the current number may actually be higher than 57% because the CEB study is 2 years old.
So what does this mean for marketers who need to fill the gap between the 15% and the 57%?
The 4Ps of tactical marketing are certainly still relevant, but the 4 Ps of strategic marketing - Probing (Research), Partitioning (Segmentation), Prioritizing, and Positioning - address that gap. Your offering may be spectacular, but if nobody knows you or your brand, it won't matter.
Our success is cemented in the idea that the ability to identify problems dwarfs the creation of solutions. In fact, solutions simply cannot exist without problem identification. Therefore, those that can get close enough to their markets will gain the trust to understand issues, and they will own the 57% percent. The mindset change that is needed to move from a marketing mix to a strategic marketing focus is not easy, but it will create long-term sustainability.
In order to make the shift, leadership must promote a customer-centric perspective throughout the organization. Secondly, management needs to ensure that the organization of the marketing department reflects and reinforces a market-based focus. And finally, management must create collaboration between both the marketing and sales organizations and the development and delivery teams.
It is a new day where marketing is at the centre of our future success. Some of us may argue that this should have always been the case, but better late then never.