B2B Sales Made Easy

So it's time to create that rain-making sales message for your firm's new business-to-business venture, product or service. And the assignment's been given to you.

No pressure, right? Pretty easy task. After all, you only have no idea where to start, no real rules to guide you - and about 8 or 9 billion potential message paths from which to choose. All the while knowing that failure will likely result in the obliteration of your firm, deep personal humiliation and clandestine plans to flee the country.

Like I said, no pressure.

Well you can ditch the Prozac, identity transformation brochures and Orbitz search bots. Because I'm here to tell you not only where to start, but what rules to follow - and, most important of all - how to choose that oh-so-killer message. And it's going to be a lot easier than you thought.

Why? Because I'm about to let you in on the amazingly simple secret of B2B marketing communications. For, despite what you may have been led to believe, when it comes to B2B promotions, there are actually less than 8 or 9 billion options from which to choose. A lot less, in fact. How many?

Try two.

That's right, two. They're simple. They're effective. And they're here to form the backbone of your sales communications efforts. That's because every B2B vendor on the planet - regardless of their product, service, widget or what have you - is ultimately only promising one (or sometimes two) of the following benefits:

1) A better way to increase their clients' sales.

2) A better way to decrease their clients' costs.

You can call them the Fundamental Forces, if you like, because, well, that's what they are. Used properly, they can launch your messaging in the right direction from the get-go - and then keep it on track during that long slog to the final creative outcome.

I realize it may all sound too simple - but trust me, it works. Why? Because in the end, smart businesses really aren't all that concerned with taking strokes off their golf game, impressing the neighbors or freshening their breath with two - that's right two - I said, two mints in one. They're concerned with making more money - and spending less of it.

Okay - so now that you know what you should do, here's how I would recommend going about doing it.

  • Step One - Analyze your new product or service. Ask yourself why any prospect would choose to purchase them over countless other options. Base your answer entirely on one of the two aforementioned Fundamental Forces.

Keep in mind that the reason may not be abundantly clear at first. It may take a little exploration and thinking. For example, I have a number of clients whose products cost far more their competition. So there's no way they could actually be decreasing their clients' costs, right?

Wrong. The reason their products and services cost more is because they're of much higher quality. As such, they're not only more effective - they last a lot longer. Meaning they ultimately provide - you guessed it - a better way to decrease their clients' cost.

  • Step Two - Develop a set of corporate messaging documents based on the applicable Fundamental Force (or two). Preserve these under security glass in a sealed, climate-controlled environment. You're going to need them. Because these are the touchstones you'll be referencing throughout that long, painful, Mission-to-Outer-Uzbekistan-like odyssey we like to call "the creative process."

I recommend starting with a short elevator pitch (i.e., a 30-second or less blurb that distills why your product delivers either Fundamental Force 1 or 2 - or both). You should be able to spit this out instantly the next time you meet that distracted CEO who says, "so tell me why I should buy your product" - as he enters an elevator and pushes the button for his office just ten floors higher.

By the way, everyone in your company should also be able to repeat this pitch pretty much verbatim. That's right - everyone.

  • Step Three - Translating to the Creative. Also known as The Place Where Sound Messaging Goes to Die.

Everyone loves getting jiggy over those clever taglines, eye-popping ads and Clio-clinching campaigns. Unfortunately, in-between the high-fives and spontaneous break dance contests, far too few people go back and check to ensure they're actually communicating the appropriate Fundamentals. Because if not, even the coolest of campaigns probably won't make much sense.

And definitely won't make much coin.

So there you have it - your introduction to the amazing little secret of B2B sales messaging. Whether you realize it or not, they're the reasons why your company has chosen every vendor they've ever used.

And if you use them as the baselines for your messaging - they'll be the reasons your future customers choose you.

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