They used to say the customer is always right, now the customer is not only right they are also in control. All B2B marketers need to understand this fact otherwise they will not be able to engage with their customers with the right message, at the right time, in the right format.
Effective B2B marketing is based on a dialogue between buyers and sellers where exchanges of trust and permission occur sequentially, get it wrong by betraying the trust and it all comes tumbling down
The customer is in control
B2B buyers behave in a very similar way to consumers, so just like you and me. When we need to solve a problem, like buying a bigger car for a growing family, we start searching on the web before we consider calling a dealer. We look for performance and functionality and compare makes and models. B2B buyers do exactly the same. Let's say the problem they need to solve is to generate more sales leads by improving their marketing. They might start searching for "improving lead generation" and come across marketing automation in their google search results. In fact, they will keep on researching the solution to their needs, almost until they are good and ready to buy. Many will get over 60% of the way through the buying process before contacting sales (find other great B2B marketing stats here). This puts the buyer in control. Things move at their pace and they do not want to be rushed. They want the right information, at the right time and this is where their power begins and sellers have to win their trust.
The end of "spray and pray"
Traditional outbound marketing (cold emailing and calling) works on the premise of reaching as many potential contacts as possible in the hope that they will eventually respond to your product sales message. However, this is mostly interruptive and poorly timed for most buyers, who aren’t yet ready to buy and this is where things can go wrong.
The Jenga tower of trust
Rather than push your message to buyers, B2B marketers need to attract them with compelling content that is helpful and draws the buyers interest. Here is trust point No1. (the first layer of the tower). The title needs to clearly explain how much of your prospects time you are asking for to engage in your content and then follow through on that promise. For example, a blog title such as “The 5 reasons why inbound marketing really works" already looks like a short, palatable read (a "snackable format" as we like to call them), compared to "The definitive in depth white paper on marketing automation systems" and buyers are more likely to stop and read these accessible titles (grazing), in the early stages of their research.
At the end of each piece of content is a CTA (call to action) to the next piece of content, hopefully more valuable to their research and here is trust point No2 (the next layer of the tower). You might here ask for some contact details from your prospect, email address and so forth. We all know how buyers feel at this point, if I do this I'm going to be bombarded with email or calls, selling me something and I'm not ready to buy. So we don't do that. We wait and we monitor further dialogue and we shape each communication trying to judge exactly what type of information the prospect wants at that moment, so that they always find it helpful.
So we are already ahead of the game as we have a dialogue going with our prospect, before they have reached out to sales. We have built a couple of layers of the tower of trust. We continue the dialogue shaping the content to build knowledge on both sides and raise more layers of our tower.
So now be patient, don't spoil it by rushing. If you try and move the leads too quickly into sales, they will not only disengage, they will throw you in the spam filter and the Jenga tower will come crashing down, never to be re-built with that prospect again.
Don't forget the buyers are in control. They can blank you in an instant and close their door on you forever. So listen, be helpful and patient and you will win over many more leads and convert more customers than any outbound sales badgering can ever do.
And that’s how to win at customer trust Jenga.