By Debbie Wanamaker (B2B Marketing Consultants, LLC)
The better you understand, and meet, the needs and desires of your customers and prospects, the more profitable you'll become and the stronger your business will grow!
Since we're all about business growth and increased profitability, please allow me to share with you the 4 Basic Reasons a B2B Customer Buys a product or service*:
1. To Increase Their Revenue
2. To Increase Their Profitability
3. To Make Their Job Easier
4. To Make Themselves Look Good
Why does this matter? Because it gives you a starting point when you are writing customer benefit statements for use in your marketing materials, on your website, and in your sales presentations.
With these 4 reasons as a guideline you can look at each of your product's or service's features and ask yourself, “Does this help my customer increase their revenue? Increase their profitability? Make their job easier? Make them look good to the people they care about?”
For those features that do provide one (or more) of the above benefits you can then write your marketing and sales material to show how purchasing your product / service will help your customers reach one or more of their goals. You can explain clearly how they will receive more value than what you are asking them to pay.
This same thought process should be used for services performed by your company. If you are a service company, apply the questioning to each function you perform for your client. If you are a manufacturing company, apply the questioning to each service you provide with your product (e.g. ordering, billing, shipping, packaging, post-sale customer support, etc.). Sometimes companies find that their true competitive differentiation is more in how they do business than in what they actually produce.
1) Increase the Customer's Revenue
- How will what you are selling help your customer sell more of their final product? (For example, remember the campaign of XYZ computer “with Intel inside”? Intel was providing additional value for the end user.)
- What competitive advantage will it give them? Better components? More market awareness? Last longer? Allow them to be first to market with a new technology?
2) Increase the Customer's Profitability
- How will what you are selling help your customer become more efficient?
- Can you eliminate a step in the manufacturing process by building your customer's part differently?
- Will your offering reduce their warranty or field failure costs?
- Can you reduce their inventory / tracking / shipping costs?
- Will you reduce their inspection / quality costs?
3) Make the Customer's Job Easier.
- Is it easier to order from you than from your competition?
- Do you have 100% on-time delivery so that the buyer doesn't have to spend their time tracking down late orders?
- Will you take on some of the responsibilities that the buyer usually does?
- Can you do emergency orders and ship the same day?
4) Make the Buyer Look Good
- By purchasing your product or service will the buyer look good to his/her boss, co-workers, customers, board of directors, evaluation board?
- Will he/she be recognized for introducing an amazing new technology or process that will change their company?
- Will they receive a performance bonus for having the fewest quality issues with their vendors?
By plainly showing how your company will help your prospect meet their goals, you will create a winning (and profitable) situation for everyone!
*Special Note: there is always an element of emotion in a buyer's purchase decision that is supported by “logical” reasons like those above. When you write your benefit statements pay special attention to the emotions you evoke in your customer by the value you provide.