Telling Your Story Digitally
Back in the day, symbols of business-to-business (B2B) selling were charmingly simple.
The sales process kicked into gear with a cold call appointment or referral from someone who knew someone who knew an executive.
The players got together where they could to brainstorm on well-doodled cocktail napkins over three-martini lunches, or 18th hole handshakes, then exchanged foot high show-and-tell business proposals stuffed with specs, graphs, and financials.
Then came the long series of meetings, plant visits, board presentations where everyone pulled the initialed leather-bound notepads, Montblanc pens, War of the Worlds viewgraph machines or click-click-click slide projectors to “tell the story.”
Back in the day, sales went to those high-steppin’ sales people whose skills made them legends in their own time. Now sales depend on authenticity: what you know and understand about what your prospect values.
Once your story lived in a brochure. Now it lives in digital space.
Every 60 seconds, 664,445 online Google searches occur, and that’s only one search engine. Even through the keyword Life Insurance nets 1.8 million searches per month, it’s misleading because prospects are at the beginning of their discovery period and are really trying to find the problem they want solved, and not yet the solution.
I’m fascinated that 93 percent of all companies launch their buying process with online research. With credit to Adam Needles of marketing automation leader Silverpop, he explains that B2B buyers and sellers:
- Increasingly turn to online sources, earlier in their process, to research purchases before ever calling a ‘live’ sales rep
- Increasingly leverage social media — especially peer communication, such as Twitter, blogs, — in the information collection phase of the buying process
- Pursue their buying process more ‘massively multi-channel’ than ever before;
- Manifest themselves more than ever as a complex, savvy ‘buying unit,’ rather than simply as a single decision-maker
So what happens next for B2B marketers of this changing environment?
PleinAire Strategies helps financial and professional services advisors go virtual by launching new websites and digital marketing campaigns that reach their prospects on their preferred landscape. Remember, these prospects don’t want to be sold. They do want to find what they want when they want it. They do want to join a collaborative effort to reach the right decision. From the outset, buyers want to know how your specific products or services solve their problems, and with plain-language proof that it works.
The sticking problem for most advisors: Their online presence looks like a billboard of product offers masked as a corporate informational brochure. Old thinking.
A moment of truth. The potential buyer reaches your site. What’s his experience?
Does your marketing and content strategy draw them into your sales process or let them click away?
Whether buyers arrive by search or a campaign, a golden opportunity drops into your lap. Will you lay before a content gem of real value at the precise moment they are looking for what you offer. Or, will you drop the nugget. I see it every day, so many advisors often fail to realize the magnetizing power of their website, which must authentically attract buyers from the start and encircle them in a rich, dynamic environment, until the sale is complete.
How do you do that?
Tell your story digitally, making your prospect the protagonist. Produce lots of fresh, relevant and quality content, easy to understand and exclusive to you, on the issues your targeted buyer is looking to solve. Do not sell anything in the content, but bake in some solutions for prospects to self-discover and confirm that your firm has experience and the expertise to solve their issues.
Content drives action on web sites, but many advisors overlook this fact. To best leverage the power of content, answer these questions for your first-time visitors:
Does this organization care about me? Does it focus on the problems I face?
Remember to organize your site around the prospect’s process for buying decisions. Short videos are excellent drivers and quickly found by search engines. Satisfied client interviews on videos are a great way for you to prove your ability to solve issues.
Welcoming visitors with your personal video puts a friendly face on the experience. They learn a little about you, and when you meet for the first time, the prospect feels a greater sense of comfort and familiarity. Just the mindset we set out to create.