Your customers are your best sales people. We trust the opinions of our peers. What they think carries meaningful value and weight. So when they attest that your product or solution solved their business problem in the real world, we take notice.
Put simply, peers have more credibility than company claims.
Longer Buying Cycles = More Process and Scrutiny
In the last 5 years, the length of time required to close a deal in the B2B space has increased by over 20%. Why? Because buying team sizes have increased – and buying processes have become more complicated as B2B companies require greater scrutiny of purchasing decisions.
More scrutiny means more customer personnel are involved in the buying decision. Today, companies must be assured that any new technology solution successfully addresses the needs of end-users, and meets the requirements of internal influencers, researchers, recommenders and final decision-makers.
Customer Evidence assets work especially well because B2B companies can tailor their messaging and positioning to directly address and satisfy the needs and the demands of these multi-tiered buyer committees.
Leverage Customers to Reinforce the Need for Your Solution
Prospects start their buying journey by seeking out information to educate themselves on new categories, innovations and solutions. So leverage your customers to help prospects understand:
(1) What are the market forces that fueled the emergence of these innovations?
(2) How do these new innovations solve business challenges?
(3) How do these new innovations unlock opportunity and growth/scalability?
(4) How do these new innovations deliver competitive advantage?
Use early-adopter customer stories to reach potential buyers and to increase the visibility of your company’s thought leaders. Narratives told in the voice of your customers are authentic – so give them a platform to tell their story - and then share and distribute those stories across the channels and media to drive consumption and engagement.
The companies that deliver this key information via authentic and trusted sources will capture the attention of prospective customers, will position their Brand as a category leader and will drive preference over competitors.
Use Customers to Differentiate & Validate Your Offering
Unleash your customers to validate your offerings. Ask them to share their perspective on questions your prospects are most likely already asking themselves.
(1) What solutions are available in the marketplace? Is the market crowded?
(2) How did the customer become aware of your offering?
(3) Why did the customer select your company/solution?
(4) What specific features, functionalities, services, etc. separated your company/solution from competitors?
When customers share their points of view of new, emerging categories and solutions, prospects will take notice. Your ability to educate the marketplace inherently walls off competitors and begins to drive Brand preference. And because these narratives are delivered in the voice of a customer, audiences will view these insights as credible.
Customers Provide Authentic Insight into the Business & Customer Experience
Show your customers why choosing your Brand/solution is the smartest choice. Ask your customers to talk about their buying experience, to provide insights into the development and implementation of the solution into their business and the impact the solution had on their business.
(1) How did you customers enjoy the sales experience?
(2) How did customers benefit from your company’s expertise/thought leaders?
(3) How did you company demonstrate a keen understanding of their business to deliver a solution that addressed challenges and unlocked opportunity?
(4) What was your customer’s view on how you handled budgeting and delivery?
(5) How successful was user adoption?
Once prospects place your Brand/solution on the short-list, their attention will shift to ‘what is it like to work with this company’. Give them a unique window into how you deal with customers; how your company experts partner with customers to deliver tangible value; and how your company partners with customers from scoping through to final delivery.
Capture, share and distribute those stories across channels and media – in various forms and formats – to drive consumption and engagement. Customer Evidence assets will attract more qualified prospects into your sales funnel – and give your sales people and company thought leaders a consistent story to tell the marketplace across all customer touch-points.