Nobody Cares About Your Product: Switching from a Product-First to Consultative Mindset

3 min read

Don't be sad about it!

Remember that we’re all selfish: we care about solving our problems and meeting our objectives. But all too often, B2B companies market and sell their offerings with a product-first mindset that fails to resonate.

In a session I'll be presenting on May 21 at the local American Marketing Association chapter (event details here), I'm going to focus on four key factors that drive success, fixing the marketing and sales funnel to deliver more qualified leads, higher conversion, and larger deal sizes.

This post deals with one of those factors, the one that's the key to it all: changing your mindset from "product-first" to a consultative approach. It's an idea that has gotten a lot of lip service in this Challenger Sale and solution-selling era, but time and time again, we tend to revert to our comfort zone and talk about features instead of business value.

So how do we break the habit?

1. Internalize the idea that nobody cares about your product.

Sounds harsh, but it's true. While I'm sure your widget is the best widget around, nobody I know wakes up in the morning thinking about what specific widget they're going to buy today. They're thinking of a problem they need to solve. As marketers and sellers, we need to tap into the core of the problem to uncover their true objective.

2. Define your prospect's objective.

A good place to start: think about your customer base. Which types of customers would you like to have more of? (This will serve as a template to close more of the types of deals you want.) Of those customers, what problems are you solving for them?

Using those problems, back into the core business objectives you help your customers deliver. For example, "We help Customer A automate time-consuming administrative processes, helping them keep costs under control to meet budget constraints." The problem is the time-consuming process, the objective is cost control.

Another example: "We help Customer B target the right audiences with their ads, helping them find more qualified customers and convert them into revenue." The problem is audience targeting, the objective is more revenue.

Keep in mind, you may have more than one core objective, and they may vary slightly based on your target personas. But try to narrow down your list to the 3-5 objectives you do really well.

3. Build a playbook based on objectives, not products.

Objectives in hand, build out a "playbook" covering the following components for each one (remember to keep it as plain-language as possible):

"Objective Name"

  • Because of these trends... [list key stats and trends affecting your prospects that are relevant to this objective]

  • Our prospects are struggling with... [list the challenges people have when trying to meet this objective]

  • We help by... [define how your solution helps, with a focus on individual features vs. products]

  • Which results in...[list relevant metrics]

  • And we've done it for... [list customer references and proof points]

Use this playbook to guide the creation of marketing campaigns and materials, sales training and materials, and even the product roadmap. The organization should be oriented towards solving for customer objectives, not creating "neat" product features.

This more consultative, objectives-focused approach is especially powerful for companies selling a suite of products and/or highly complex products because you're not limiting the scope of the sale.

For the rest of this story, please join our AMA event on May 21 at 7:45am at OfficeKey in Rookwood. Hope to see you there!

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© 2020 by Natalie Adler Skarzynski.