Problems with B2B sales pitches are related more to a focus on the wrong message than on a lack of opportunities, according to a Corporate Visions survey of 465 B2B marketers and salespeople. It certainly seems as though few respondents are utilizing the pitches they feel would be most effective, per the study.
When asked how different they believe their pitches are from those of their competitors, respondents were almost as likely to feel that they’re basically the same (16%) as their being completely different (18%). A strong majority perceive their pitches as being somewhat different most of the time.
Given 4 options as to the type of pitch that would be most differentiated from competitive pitches, respondents were most likely to point to the following:
- “We start by introducing an ‘unconsidered’ need or potential missed opportunity they didn’t know they had, and then respond to their previously identified needs” (41.5%); and
- “We respond to the identified needs of our customer, then introduce an ‘unconsidered’ need or potential missed opportunity they didn’t know they had” (31.8%).
Neither of the other two options mentioned unconsidered needs, instead focusing onÂ responding to identified needs and then sharing company credentials and unique capabilities.
The latter of those is the most commonly used customer presentation currently, per respondents: 47% said they they “respond first to our customers’ identified needs, then introduce what we believe to be our unique, ‘value-added’ capabilities.”
This presumably is a problem, as not only do relatively few respondents believe it to be a differentiator, but likewise, few see it as the most effective. Indeed, asked which type of pitch is most likely to create meaningful action and lead to a closed deal, respondents were most likely to point to those which introduce an “unconsidered need,” either before (30%) or after (42%) responding to the customers’ identified needs.
In order to differentiate themselves and be effective, then, it seems that B2B marketers and salespeople see the opportunity in introducing “unconsidered” needs rather than focusing on their company’s credentials and capabilities. This focus on the customer rather than the company is a key element of effective B2B content, as outlined in MarketingCharts’ 2015 B2B Digital Marketing Insights Report.
Getting the presentation right is crucial to B2B marketing, as SiriusDecisions research shows that buyers’ most important content asset is a sales presentation.
Another potential problem with sales pitches and presentations? Outdated information, according to a Qvidian survey [pdf] of more than 300 professionals in various sales and content management roles. That study found that while almost 8 in 10 survey respondents feel that sales content is very important to the effectiveness of their sales representatives, almost half say that their data and content in sales assets is only somewhat accurate. Indeed, more than 3 in 4 respondents felt that the frequency of reviewing and updating sales content is only somewhat, not very, or not at all sufficient.