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How B2B marketers can help sales overcome customer indecision

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How B2B marketers can help sales overcome customer indecision

Customer indecision is now a leading reason for missing B2B marketing and sales pipeline and revenue targets. Historically, the status quo — doing nothing — was the ultimate competitor. But new research uncovers customer indecision, not customer indifference, is a major roadblock costing companies millions of dollars in new revenue.

That’s a whole bundle of opportunities stuck in your funnel, clogging your pipeline and baffling your stakeholders.  

But there are things B2B marketers can do to help sales teams and their prospects overcome purchase indecision and win more customers faster. For proper context, and crafting the right strategies and tactics, let’s frame the challenge and the opportunity based on why and how business professionals and their organizations buy. 

B2B buyers are dealing with FOMU, not FOMO

Authors Matt Dixon and Ted McKenna analyzed more than 2.5 million sales-customer engagements for their recently released book, “The JOLT Effect,” and discovered that:

  • 56% of the customers who expressed the intent to purchase were lost due to customer indecision. 
  • Only 44% were lost due to sticking with the status quo — what the prospect has been doing or using. 

Making the case to move off the status quo has been a popular sales and marketing strategy for several years. When a deal got stuck, status quo-busting was done primarily through “fear of missing out” (FOMO) tactics, including:

  • Reconvincing the buying committee of the benefits of the solution by demonstrating ROI.
  • Using fear, uncertainty and doubt tactics, emphasizing the cost of inaction.
  • The xx% discount urgency play: “This deal is only good for this quarter.”

These tried-and-true sales and marketing tactics and all the tools and content created to bust the status quo are no longer working. Why? The authors emphasize that human beings — even successful business and technology leaders — are wired to avoid loss. 

The fear of messing up (FOMU) is a major barrier for B2B buyers to pull the trigger on a purchase, no matter how compelling. Inaction is guiltless and perceived as less harmful than acting and making a mistake. 

“The pandemic and volatile economy are certainly factors, but not the underlying cause of what’s stalling a large percentage of business-to-business purchases and deals companies were confident they had closed-won,” said Dixon. “Upon further discovery, we found what is holding companies and their decision makers back is the ‘fear of failure,’ something often missed by sales teams.”

Customers change in seconds, markets shift in minutes and business threats and opportunities appear daily. Betting on a technology, platform or service provider in a world where the pace of change is relentless has many organizations and their decision-makers stuck. 

Dig deeper: Scarcity marketing: Does it still work?

How marketing can help overcome customer FOMU in the sales + purchase process

The “JOLT” thinking outlined in Dixon and McKenna’s book provides a strong foundation for marketing to lock arms with sales, product, ops and customer success colleagues to overcome prospects’ FOMU. 

To do this, the GTM team must have a strategy and playbook on how to help their customers tackle the status quo (i.e., why change now) and then focus on customer indecision (i.e., how to change now). 

Let’s break down the framework and outline prescriptive strategies and tactics marketing teams can use to work alongside their colleagues. 

J: Judging the situation to create the right game plan for each customer

First, as marketers, we need to know the pipeline and the best opportunities as well as our sales colleagues. As equal owners of revenue generation, marketers should work closely with sales and other major account resources to qualify based not just on their ability to buy but their “ability to decide.”

This is where your 1-to-1 and 1-to-few account-based marketing (ABM) strategies can have a true impact. In your ABM efforts, marketing can create tools and forums to get customers to talk about their fear of failure. Think therapy and organizing and breaking down information in your communications, webinars, small roundtable or meet-up you organize in the field. 

Over time using data, you will find patterns in the types of customer indecision, so you can more rapidly anticipate and put strategies into practice at the point of the prospect. Starting with hands-on work to test and learn the best plays is the right move for now. Efficiency and automation can come later.

O: Offering recommendations to simplify options for overwhelmed customers 

The market is filled with noise. Many buyers and buying committees suffer from being overwhelmed by too many choices. Our natural reaction as marketers to convince somebody is to throw more options their way. 

For example, integrations and configurations can easily overwhelm the decision team. A smart approach is to help them choose a path and a solution. Marketing can work with product, sales and ops colleagues to build and simplify packages based on their use case(s). 

We can also increase our sales enablement effort to help structure and equip salespeople to guide the customer to proven, popular choices that have worked for other customers. Note that more case studies are not enough. 

Dig deeper: Buying group marketing: The next evolution of ABM

L: Limiting exploration addresses customer information overload

The best sellers and marketers know that the more information the prospect consumes, the lower the probability they will find the answers they seek. We found that when teams continue to indulge the customer’s requests for additional information throughout the sale, win rates are only in the 16% range. 

This is our natural tendency: create and send more content, shoot over more emails, etc. Stop! This may work early on in initial engagement but rarely works later as they move toward a decision.

Today, we have the data and tools to identify and take action when a prospect or customer is putting off a decision and why. One strategy is to limit the information by, for example, curating a recommended reading list or compiling a simple tool kit. This limits the overwhelming amount of info and demonstrates you get their needs and that you are a valued partner who will be there through the relationship lifecycle. 

T: Taking risks off the table by instilling buyer confidence and creating a safety net 

De-risking versus simply discounting price is another smart strategy to combat customer indecision. For example, marketing can work with sales,  customer success and finance to:

  • Craft a mutual value map, identifying key areas of ownership and accountable milestones and metrics.
  • Co-create solutions and implementation roadmaps for the organization to bolster confidence with defined steps. 
  • Adapt contracts that include services, incentives, and/or safety-net clauses to take FOMU points off the table. 

Marketing’s opportunity to shine by focusing on all stages of customer generation

Marketing can play a significant role in the full customer lifecycle by infusing customer indecision-busting strategies into their demand-to-revenue approach. The focus on defeating customer indecision also pushes us marketers to stop obsessing about generating mounds of new leads and trying to score and qualify only for sales to ignore them. 

The most successful marketing teams don’t stay in their swim lane. Instead, as part of GTM and account-based strategies, marketers can capitalize on this revenue generation need to impact all stages of creating and expanding customer relationships and revenue. 

Congratulations to Dixon and McKenna for their eye-opening research and instructive book for B2B sales, marketing and revenue professionals. 


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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

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Profit More, Work Less: 4 Steps to Niching Down For Your Agency

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Profit More, Work Less: 4 Steps to Niching Down For Your Agency

Profit More Work Less 4 Steps to Niching Down For

Ever wonder what the most successful agencies did differently than everyone else?

Was it luck, skill, hard work, the industry they chose, or something else?

Through my consulting work at Revenue Boost, I’ve worked with and taught over 400+ agencies how to scale their business.

From this, I’ve seen consistent patterns & traits in the ones who grow effortlessly…

Versus the ones who stay stuck for years – no matter how hard they work.

One key difference in approach stuck out to me.

I’ll illustrate what this one difference was with a story.

Once upon a time…

Two marketers graduated from business school with big plans to start their own agency. 

Ready to conquer the world, they started cold calling, cold emailing, and doing everything under the sun to get clients.

And although they had the SAME levels of work ethic and talent…

One of them now has an 8-figure agency.

The other one of them is still freelancing odd jobs, barely making ends meet.

What did the successful one do differently?

He took a big risk and started turning down clients and projects.

Instead of offering everything to everyone, like most agency owners…

And being a jack of all trades but a master of none…

He decided only to serve Plumbers and be the best dang’ plumbing marketer on the planet.

With a goal to make their pipeline fuller than a broken toilet pipe.

1716128762 859 Profit More Work Less 4 Steps to Niching Down For1716128762 859 Profit More Work Less 4 Steps to Niching Down For

He mastered the art of niching down and realized it would be easier to be the biggest fish in a small pond.

And you should too – and in this article, you’ll learn exactly how to define your own niche.

Now it may seem scary to turn down clients…and it may feel like you’re limiting yourself by focusing on only one client-type.

But it’s exactly the opposite. You’re actually limiting yourself by being everything for everybody.

Niching Down Can Help 2x-3x Your Revenues

One of my clients Lauren ran a digital agency offering everything under the sun.

Social media, paid ads, web dev, SEO, and she offered it to clients from many different industries.

Because of this, her agency stayed stuck at $25,000 a month and she couldn’t break through.

On top of that, she and her team worked so much harder than they had to and operations were messy.

Every client needed different things, required customization, and nothing was standardized.

We sat together to audit all her past clients, and we found that Medical practices were her best clients.

They were easy to sell, stayed the longest, and gave her the least amount of headaches and complaints.

So, she changed her entire business model to ONLY service this industry.

Then, she developed a standardized offer for that industry, rather than customizing everything.

One offer, to one target market. Afterwards, she started cold emailing businesses in her niche with her new offer.

The Results?

 She 2X’d her revenues and grew to $52,000 in monthly revenue in not even four months time.

All from making one simple shift. One decision that can make everything easier, and you can do the same.

See, most agency owners and marketers start out with one or two clients, and then they get referred new clients from various industries.

Before they know it, they’re marketing everything for everyone and have NO idea who their ideal client is.

The Problem with Running a Business This Way Is That It Becomes Impossible to Scale.

Every single new client requires a ton of research, thought, and brainpower.

1716128762 609 Profit More Work Less 4 Steps to Niching Down For1716128762 609 Profit More Work Less 4 Steps to Niching Down For

Because each new client has different needs, it leads to having no standardized processes and systems.

Which keeps the founder stuck in the business and unable to hire a team.

The other problem that arises is acquisition.

There are hundreds of thousands of agencies on the planet, and it’s really hard to stand out.

UNLESS you specialize.

When you specialize in a niche – let’s say, SEO for plumbers…

Then you aren’t competing with every other agency on the planet. You don’t look and sound just like them anymore.

Now, you’ve created your own tiny pond in which you can be a big fish.

There are way fewer agencies that specialize in plumbers or SEO, let alone both. So, you’ve eliminated the competition with one decision.

If a plumber was looking at two agencies – one that was a general digital agency and one that specializes in helping plumbers…

They almost always choose the agency that specializes in their industry and has testimonials from people just like them.

Not to mention, it’s easier to market when you have a clear niche in mind.

You know who you’re writing your content for…

You know who to send emails and social media DMs too…

You know exactly who to target in your ads….

You know what podcasts you should get booked on

And so on and so on.

Plus, you can charge whatever prices you want. Because you aren’t compared to the hundreds of thousands of agencies out there – you have a unique offer now.

Committing to one niche makes marketing easier, it makes selling easier, and it makes scaling easier.

You only have to be good at doing 1 thing for 1 person, and you can build systems and processes around it. This way, you can hire a team to take it over and be able to work less.

Profit More Work Less 4 Steps to Niching Down ForProfit More Work Less 4 Steps to Niching Down For

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Now how do you do it? What if you don’t know who your ideal client is?

Step 1: Audit Your Current + Past Client List.

Write down every single client you’ve ever served, and group them by niche. Industry, location, size and so on.

Once you group them together, one niche might stick out for you already as your favorite type of client.

If it doesn’t, use my 7-Point checklist and rank each niche on a 1-5 scale.

These 7 criteria points are what makes a great niche.

#1 – Total Addressable Market:

How many businesses are in this market? Is it large enough to support your bigger goals? Is the market shrinking or growing? Make sure the niche is big enough for you and that it’s not declining.

#2 – Purchasing Power

Is this market (or at least a segment of it) able to afford what you want to charge?

Think back to if you’ve received a lot of pricing objections when you’ve sold to these people in the past.

#3 – Lifetime Value

How long did these clients stay? Were they one-and-done projects or did they stay with me for eternity?

The bigger the life-time value, the more money and time you can spend to acquire a client.

If the niche typically churns in a few months or only works with you for quick, one-off projects…

Then you’ll have to spend so much energy on sales and marketing to keep the business alive.

#4 – Strong Need & Pain

Does this market have an important problem to solve, one that they have to fix? Or, is what you sell just a “nice to have”?

If the latter, it’s going to be very hard to get clients.

If they can’t live without your solution, then getting clients will be a breeze.

#5 – Desire to Solve that Pain

It’s one thing for a market to have a problem, but they must also have a desire to solve that problem.

Even if they have the need that you fulfill, that’s not enough – they also have to care about fulfilling that need.

#6 – Easy to Reach

Is the market fairly easy to find online? Can you reach them via most advertising platforms and social channels? Are their groups and communities online?

If you’re targeting businesses that are hard to reach online, you’re creating one extra barrier to your success.

Step 2: Choose 1 Niche After Ranking Each of Your Past Clients.

1716128763 995 Profit More Work Less 4 Steps to Niching Down For1716128763 995 Profit More Work Less 4 Steps to Niching Down For

Tally up all the rankings and pick the 1 with the highest score.

Don’t worry about making the wrong decision.

Consider this an experiment.

You aren’t married to your new niche, you can always change back in a few months if it doesn’t work out.

Step 3: Create a Pre-Packaged Offer for Your New Niche

The whole point of niching down is to create more focus and simplicity in your business

Part of this is about WHO you sell, part of this is about WHAT you sell them.

Start out by choosing 1 problem to solve for them, and 1 solution to that problem.

List out what the deliverables will be and what you want to charge.

Keep it simple! You can build upon this later.

Step 4: Test the Waters and Go Land 5 New Clients.

Before you make any drastic changes to your business, such as letting go of clients, changing your branding and website…

Test the waters first, and verify if this new niche is the direction you want to go.

Go land another 5 clients or so, and that’ll be enough to identify if these are really our ideal clients or not.

You might think they are at first but you’ll know for sure once you serve more of them.

Wrapping Up…

You know now the problems of being a jack-of-all-trades with no clear focus.

Every new client is a ton of work and requires customization…

And getting new clients is difficult because there’s nothing that stands out about your agency. You’ll look and sound like everyone else.

This means when you do niche down, and sell 1 offer to 1 target market…

Your workload will decrease. Each new client will be easier to serve than the previous one.

You’ll become world-class at helping your clients from all the focused repetition

You’ll quickly develop a reputation and become a big fish in a small pond.

In every way, it’ll become easier to grow, scale, attract, and retain clients.

Plus, you’ll have more fun and the business will be simpler & easier to run.

And with this knowledge…

You’ve learned the 5 simple steps to niching down.

So…

Time to get to work!

Put this into practice and watch it transform your business.


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Unlocking AMC Insights Series: Leveraging Media Overlap Analysis for Enhanced Conversions

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AMC Media Mix

Amazon


By Tinuiti Team

In today’s data-driven marketing landscape, the ability to ask the right questions is paramount. Amazon Marketing Cloud (AMC) emerges as the magic 8-ball of advertising solutions, offering advertisers a robust platform for precise analytics and strategic decision-making. If you’re new to AMC, it’s a secure, privacy-friendly, dedicated cloud-based measurement and analytics solution introduced in 2021.

Understanding the Value of Amazon Marketing Cloud

Built on Amazon Web Services (AWS), AMC provides a flexible environment that empowers advertisers with customizable reporting capabilities based on event-level data across various data sets. These data sets can encompass both advertiser data and Amazon Advertising data, granting advertisers a comprehensive view of campaign performance. In essence, AMC equips advertisers with transparent, cross-channel data essential for making informed marketing decisions, a necessity in today’s marketing landscape.

For a comprehensive understanding of AMC basics, Tinuiti’s AMC overview provides all the essential information about the Amazon Marketing Cloud.

This article marks the first of a 3-part series where we dive into specific AMC use cases. In this installment, we focus on the Media Overlap analysis, guiding you through utilizing this report to address critical business questions, pinpoint key metrics, and strategically apply derived insights.

What is the Media Overlap Analysis? 

The Media Overlap analysis determines the collective impact of Amazon ads and isolates the incremental impact of a specific media type. The metrics provided by this report analyze reach and performance across a full-funnel strategy, including DSP Display, Streaming TV, and Sponsored Ads. 

To utilize this report, it is required to have data from at least two of the aforementioned ad types in a single AMC instance. The same products must be advertised in each ad type, and each ad product must have been running for at least one week during the same time period. It is recommended to wait 14 days after the query’s end date to use this analysis to capture all conversions due to Amazon’s 14-day attribution window. This use case is designed to help answer business questions surrounding how to best leverage the array of Amazon Ad products.

Here are a few examples of the types of questions the Media Overlap analysis addresses:

  • When shoppers are exposed to any combination of Display, Streaming TV, Sponsored Ads, what is the impact on conversion rates?
  • What impact does each ad type have on conversion beyond ROAS or last-touch attribution?
  • What is the average order value when shoppers are exposed to a combination of ad types?

The following metrics tend to be the most useful in addressing the business questions above:

  • Purchase rate: Percentage of unique users who purchased at least one time compared to unique users reached
  • Reach: Number of unique users reached
  • Users that purchased: Number of unique users who purchased at least one time.
  • Purchases: Number of times any amount of a promoted product or products are included in a purchase event. Purchase events include video rentals and new Subscribe & Save subscriptions.
  • Order value: Total amount resulting from a single purchase event

Below is a sample case study used to address the following question: When shoppers are exposed to any combination of Display, Streaming TV, Sponsored Ads, what is the impact on conversion rates?

Here is an example of a what a finalized report looks like: 

Top 7 Media Type Mixes based on Purchase Volume (CE Advertiser) 

Unlocking AMC Insights Series Leveraging Media Overlap Analysis for Enhanced

To answer the original question, the key metric to review here is the Prospective Purchase Rate (PPR). When exposed to fewer than three ad types, the PPR is significantly lower. However, when exposed to three or more ad types, the PPR increases. For users who were exposed to Sponsored Display (SD), Sponsored Products (SP), Demand Side Platform (DSP), and Sponsored Brands (SB) ads, the PPR was 8.19%, demonstrating the correlation between the number of ad types shoppers were exposed to and an increased Prospective Purchase Rate.

As a result of these findings, two prominent potential opportunities to improve performance emerge:

  1. Continuing to invest, or increasing investments, in DSP and video as they are key drivers in a user’s path to conversion. The advertiser should diversify their media mix with these ad products.
  2. Due to the correlation between Sponsored Products ads in combination with other ad products and higher conversion rates, there is an additional opportunity to build an AMC audience retargeting SP clickers. This will ensure advertisers are capitalizing on shoppers moving through the lower to upper funnel in their shopping journey.

AMC’s Media Overlap Analysis: Key Takeaways and Next Steps for Enhanced Conversions

AMC’s Media Overlap analysis highlights the impact of middle and upper funnel ads on conversion rates. Tinuiti’s teams observe many brands prioritizing Sponsored Products due to their perceived low risk and high returns under Amazon’s last-touch attribution model. However, this approach overlooks the influence of other ad types. Data from this analysis underscores the effectiveness of a holistic strategy. While a Sponsored Products ad may lead to a sale, it doesn’t consider other ad exposures that shape purchase decisions. The Overlap analysis underscores the value of a full-funnel strategy and the impact of DSP media on overall performance. Advertisers should consider adjusting budget allocations to DSP and streaming video based on these insights.

Furthermore, a full-funnel strategy can drive higher average order value.

The average order value significantly increases when exposed to a media mix of three or more ad types. While each advertiser should analyze their own business, Tinuiti consistently observes that users exposed to a greater number of ad products typically correlate with higher conversion rates and higher order values.

The Media Overlap analysis is part of the Instructional Query Library (IQL), which offers pre-built templates by Amazon to get started with the basics. If you’re seeking deeper insights with the guidance of experts who understand AMC’s unique landscape, reach out to Tinuiti today.

Liked this article? Don’t miss Part 2 of our AMC use case series on Tinuiti’s blog next month!

This post was authored by Averie Lynch, Specialist of Strategic Services at Tinuiti.

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Introducing Variation Generator for Web Experimentation

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Introducing Variation Generator for Web Experimentation

If you attended Opticon ’23, you saw first-hand how Optimizely has been investing in AI. Optimizely introduced Opal, an AI assistant designed to accelerate the entire marketing lifecycle. Opal is ever-present across Optimizely One, providing generative AI, smart insights, and recommendations to transform how our customers create, test and personalize digital experiences.

Now, our latest AI capability is here: Variation Generator. Available for all Web Experimentation customers, Variation Generator helps experiment authors expedite the ideation and creation of test variations.

What does it do?

Variation Generator leverages generative artificial intelligence to create a list of phrasing suggestions based on a site’s text elements like headlines, product descriptions, or call-to-action (CTA) wording, ultimately making it easier and faster for experimenters to plan multiple variations for their tests, which can be quite time-consuming.

Who is it for?

Based on our research, around 30% of experiments include text changes. So, experiment authors like optimization managers or digital marketers are spending a lot of time ideating/brainstorming multiple versions of the original copy to decide which should be tested. Variation Generator empowers users to add more variations in an experiment, which we strongly suggest after our Experimentation Benchmark research found that experiments with more variations (4+) tend to see higher win rates and return higher uplifts on the metrics tracked.

Cool…but generative AI is popping up everywhere, why does it matter here?

  1. Directly embedded into our UI: No separate tools or tabs to click out to…No typing out a prompt to a chatbot…just click the text element you want suggestions for, and click “generate.” All interaction stays within our Visual Editor.
  2. Reduce time and effort in variation ideation: Shorten the time it takes to come up with new experiment variations, allowing experiment authors to get more time back into their day.
  3. Optimize each variation in an experiment: Variation Generator provides unbiased and creative alternatives to experiment authors so they can make sure that each variation is different enough to avoid duplicative messaging, yet effective enough captures visitors’ attention.
  4. Increase a test’s chances of winning: Our Benchmark research shows that experiments with 4+ variations are ~90% more likely to win than experiments with just 2 variations. Variation Generator helps experiment authors create more variations, leading to higher lifts.
  5. Fine-tune brand positioning: Improve existing headlines, product descriptions, CTA buttons, and more, ensuring a consistent and impactful brand message across digital properties.

Increase a test’s chances of winning

This outcome is important enough to highlight a second time. Mentioned earlier, we know from our Experimentation Benchmark research that tests with more variations (4+) are more likely to produce a winning (statistically significant) result versus a traditional A/B test that pits a baseline (original version) against a single variation. Variation Generator can help experiment authors get into the habit of testing more variations and producing more winning results.

Future enhancements

Optimizely is committed to continuous innovation and improvement. Potential enhancements for Variation Generator include generating suggestions for other content types like images, icons, HTML, and CSS, as well as giving users more control over output fine-tuning, such as adjusting length, tone, and other fields.

At the end of the day…

Optimizely’s Variation Generator is a simple yet powerful feature that empowers experiment authors to create more effective and winning experiments. By harnessing the power of artificial intelligence, this feature saves time, optimizes variations, and fine-tunes brand positioning, ultimately leading to better results, stronger brand presence, and an effortless workflow.

Want more info? If you’re an existing customer, ask your account manager about Variation Generator, and if you’re a future customer, contact us to learn more.

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