The Secret to B2B Marketing? It’s Just a Game of ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ – CMSWire

Lead Marketing & Automation Services > Blog > Uncategorized > The Secret to B2B Marketing? It’s Just a Game of ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ – CMSWire

CMSWire's customer experience (CXM) channel gathers the latest news, advice and analysis about the evolving landscape of customer-first marketing, commerce and digital experience design.
B2B sales are notoriously difficult to close. I’m not talking about the buy-monthly SaaS products you can expense on a corporate credit card — but rather "strategic purchases" such as buying an enterprise application requiring deep integration, or investing in a turnkey piece of manufacturing equipment, or switching your auditors.
These kinds of purchases are gnarly and complex. They carry with them endemic risk to operations and reputations. Put simply, they can go horribly wrong.
In these kinds of sales, the stakes are high. Costs typically run into five or six figures, and switching suppliers or deploying a new product is always disruptive (however hard the vendor works to smooth the transition).
This upheaval can have knock-on effects on the person pushing through the sale — their job security and livelihood can quite literally be at stake — and on day-to-day operations, which has a financial impact on the business, too.
Then there are the gatekeepers. In high-ticket B2B sales, there are many people standing in the way of success. This is why we don’t talk in the singular about a customer; there are always multiple buyers. Who these buyers are depends on the company, but they all fall into two distinct categories. 
Related Article: Why B2B Marketing's a Long Game, Not a Hit-and-Run SaaS Play
In any B2B buying situation, you have the people who can say "yes" and the people who can say "no."
The people who can say "yes" tend to be the sponsors and do more (and more in-depth) research around the purchase. Even so, they won't do as much research as you might think or would like. Many shortlists simply feature the three largest brands in the market and one or two others. Forget procurement. It’s these sponsors that will often be the ones to add an outlier to the shortlist — a solution that isn’t the market leader but that looks just as good, if not better, but that isn’t well known.
The people who can say "no" tend to be more senior. They’re probably a CEO, COO or CFO. They don't have the time or inclination to do in-depth research. Faced with a shortlist featuring companies they've never heard of, they'll ask "who?" and unless the sponsor is very convincing and/or is willing to put their reputation on the line, will tend to say "no."
Related Article: Today's B2B Customers Don't Want to Talk to You. Is That OK?
This is why gaining agreement is far from straightforward. And the problem isn’t going away, in fact it’s getting worse: 52% of buyers have reported that, since the pandemic, B2B sales in their companies are now taking longer than ever. Over half (56%) of in-house buyers in the same survey by B2B marketing agency Considered Content told us that it is now more difficult to gain agreement across multiple decision-makers. 
Part of this is down to the challenge of achieving consensus between multiple stakeholders with differing agendas. It’s likely magnified by the problem of getting people together when many are working remotely.
But that’s not the whole picture. The majority (55%) of buyers are also considering more vendors for each purchase. This will inevitably add more time to the process as suppliers and products are assessed.
So if your job is to flip the naysayers and gain consensus in an already tough sales climate market (not to mention with a recession looming) what can you do?
Two things:
Jason Ball is the founder of Considered Content, a B2B marketing agency focused on removing friction from long sales cycles. He has worked with many of the world's leading technology brands as well as professional services firms in accounting, legal and specialist consultancy, and specialist industrial and manufacturing organisations in the UK, US and mainland Europe, helping them differentiate themselves in crowded markets, and creating world-class content for every stage of the purchase process.
For nearly two decades CMSWire, produced by Simpler Media Group, has been the world's leading community of customer experience professionals.
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Today the CMSWire community consists of over 5 million influential customer experience, digital experience and customer service leaders, the majority of whom are based in North America and employed by medium to large organizations. Our sister community, Reworked gathers the world's leading employee experience and digital workplace professionals.
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For nearly two decades CMSWire, produced by Simpler Media Group, has been the world's leading community of customer experience professionals.
.
Today the CMSWire community consists of over 5 million influential customer experience, digital experience and customer service leaders, the majority of whom are based in North America and employed by medium to large organizations. Our sister community, Reworked gathers the world's leading employee experience and digital workplace professionals.

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