Welcome again to your Midweek Spark. Based on some great feedback, I’ve decide to focus the Midweek Spark on a different theme each month. October’s theme is Know Your Market.
In the current market place, there are many ways that consumers and businesses can “shop” for products and services. In order to grow your business, it is essential that you find unique ways to connect with your market. It no longer works to list what services and products you provide and hope people will understand your “brilliance”. You now need to know and connect with what motivates your prospective customers. What outcome are they looking for? What is the burning issue they are trying to solve? With so much information available and so many choices, people buy from individuals and organizations that they “Know, Like and Trust” AND that also show that they understand their customers’ desires and needs.
The B2B Market
Is your market other businesses? Have you ever really thought about why businesses buy? What are their key motivations to spend money?
Generally speaking, businesses buy for 5 main reasons; to increase revenues, reduce operating expenses, provide excellent customer service, develop staff and meet regulations. Where do your products and/or services fit? How can you adapt your message and sales approach to connect with your market’s motivations to buy?
The 5 main reason businesses buy are to:
- Increase revenues – This is the “golden area” for businesses – when an expense can be linked directly to an increase in revenues, it’s an easier sale. This area includes reaching more prospects, marketing, and creating new products and services. For example, increasing the number of captured leads from a website, creating a marketing campaign, developing a new service/product, or networking to find new leads.
- Reduce operating expenses – Business owners are always looking for ways to reduce the cost of their operations which results in an increase in the profit margin. This category includes products or services that help businesses reduce their operational expenses whether fixed or variable costs. For example, you may offer a lower cost item or a more streamlined system.
- Provide excellent customer service – Smart businesses realize that if they provide excellent customer service they will have loyal repeat customers and raving fans. Most of us have experienced the difference between buying from a company that treats their customers well and those that don’t. (link back to last week’s blog as an example).
- Develop staff – Quality staff, working together as a team with the skills and knowledge to do their jobs, is a huge asset to companies. Those businesses that realize this will invest money in developing their staff. This includes attracting and retaining staff, and increasing productivity of their staff and/or themselves. Of course, the end objective is to increase the overall profit of the company and hopefully to provide excellent service to their clients. Examples of offerings in this category are time management training, team building exercises, coaching and obtaining new skills.
- Meet regulations – This is an interesting one! This is the place that businesses hate to spend money, but it is often the place where they must spend money. There are different levels of regulations, for example government and association regulations. Government regulations are mandatory, although they are often misunderstand and, if possible, sometimes even may be avoided. A current example is privacy policies. Many business owners have a vague idea that they need to have one, but aren’t really sure what it needs to be. Many are trying to cover themselves with broad blanket statements, which may or may not meet government requirements. Other government regulations include health and safety, accessibility, taxes, and human resources. Associations often have standards that need to be met to retain their membership, for licensing, or for demonstrating a standard they adhere to. Examples are financial planners, health care services, and general contractors.
As business owners, we need to connect with our market’s needs and desires, so it is important to know why your business clients would spend money for your product and/or service. Which of the 5 areas do your provide solutions for? Take 30 minutes this week and list out all the business needs that your solution addresses. What are your business clients’ needs and what results are they looking for? How can you use this insight in your marketing messages?
Next week topic: Know Your Market – the B2C Market.