When Everything Looks Like a Nail

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Everyone wishes the world were a simpler place.  As a sales or marketing professional, wouldn’t it be nice if it were always clear who was making purchase decisions and what were their criteria?  Snort!  Like that’s going to happen!

The reality is that every day we’re selling our products and services to a wide range of prospects, each with varying buying motivations.  How do we get all of these different personas to see the value of our offer and make what we know is the right purchase decision?  We need to pick the right tool depending on the job.

One handyman technique that I use goes like this:

  1. Identify the target audience or buying persona
  2. Isolate the primary and secondary pain points of these audiences
  3. Match the most relevant value proposition of your product/service to these pain points

OK, so this is more carpentry than brain surgery.  But it is a good way to ensure that you don’t spend all your time hammering the same square value proposition peg into every round market segment hole you see.  Obviously the same principle applies to your sales pitches as well as your marketing messages.

Of course in a typical B2B buying situation, while there may be a single decision-maker, there are many others influencing the purchasing process.  So be sure to match the right value propositions to the relevant concerns of each persona in the buying center.  And don’t fall into the trap of thinking that these concerns are only about business.  How does your product or service address their personal needs too?

Be aware that when you’ve got a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail.  Avoid getting stuck banging on the same value proposition to the same audience over and over again. It’s easy to fall into this habit since you probably have all the content and collateral you need to keep the current promotional campaigns pounding away.  But there may be a whole new audience out there waiting to be worked on with some clever retooling of your message to their needs.

My advice is to make sure you keep some experimental secondary campaigns running to target these potential new customers.  Remember to reach into your marketing toolbox for a new value proposition every once in awhile to see whether a new tool might just do the trick in building a new market sector!