As a B2B sales organization, are you experiencing the following:
- Poor market reception of newly launched products and services or an unwillingness among customers to pay extra for new features and functionality?
- Overwhelming price pressure and being treated like a commodity supplier?
- The loss of key accounts or reductions in their volume Increased competition in profitable segments?
- Sales engagements which are reactive and focused on today versus proactive and focused on the long-term?
These are reliable indicators that the voice of the executive customer isn’t being heard clearly.
Often it means a company is listening only to the voice of end users and thus R&D, marketing, and sales are either not including or not fully communicating the business value essential to the executive decision maker. Just as commonly, companies tend to listen to only the voice of their sales organization.
Feedback from the sales team is very important, but it does have limitations.
Most salespeople meet with users and purchasing agents, who tend to discuss lower-level issues, such as features and functionality.
Salespeople are also very focused on overcoming objections and matching competitors’ offerings. They extrapolate market needs from these interactions and bring that feedback to their employers as the voice of customer.
One major consequence of mistaking the voice of other players with the voice of the executive customer in B2B sales is very evident in studies of success rates of new products.
IBM, AcuPoll, and other organizations have consistently found that newly launched products suffer from failure rates of 60-70 percent.
Many of these failures result from neglecting executive customers.
When the needs and concerns of executive customers are not built into market offerings, companies find themselves investing valuable resources in projects that add only incremental value or worse, actually diminish a company’s ability to differentiate itself in the marketplace.
This is why it’s so important that innovation is relevant …meaning that there is at least one point of differentiation in new offerings for which decision makers are willing to pay.
In the B2B world, your customers may not be familiar with your offerings per se, but they usually know their industries better than those who supply it, and they know how to evaluate your solutions in light of their needs. They aren’t going to be swayed by marketing collateral; they will scrutinize, compare, benchmark, and test your offerings. And they will also seek out expert advice from peers and third parties for references and validation.
AMG solutions are straight-to-buyer engagement programs and executive buyer platforms that cut through the sales jargon and create the platform to understand the true value of solutions offered to the company.
Source: Geehan, Sean. The B2B Executive Playbook: The Ultimate Weapon for Achieving Sustainable, Predictable and Profitable Growth. Clerisy Press.