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The Conceptual How

by Hank Barnes  |  May 1, 2018  |  1 Comment

Our research clearly shows that technology buyers care deeply about not just what is possible in terms of business outcomes; they care about how things work.  This could be from too many experiences of being burned by broken promises of capabilities and results that don’t quite work the way they were advertised.   Or it could be driven by the recognition that there is lot that goes into success beyond having a good product.

With that being said, many of the vendors I advise wonder about how to communicate the how.  They feel the details of implementations and projects are often very complex and, well, detailed.   They fear that their prospects don’t have the attention spans to absorb all those details.

And they be the right.  But it is all about timing.

As buyers get more and more interested, they’ll grant you more and more attention.  And most of that attention will be focused on really understanding if, and how, they can be successful with your products and services.  That is the time with complete, direct, and clear information is critical.

But that is not enough, to get to that point, you have to give buyers a reason to believe.  Some of that comes from case studies–a critical component of any content strategy.  But they also need to understand the basics of how.



This is the conceptual how.  And it is deeply important.

The conceptual how is a logical explanation of how to be successful.  How to move from a common starting point (what they are doing without you) to the point of achieving value.   The conceptual how earns you more attention–the ability to get the buyer to dive deeper into the reality and details of the how.

Conceptual hows should outline major steps and activities that have to be completed and a high level view of the order and effort to do so.  Conceptual hows help establish a shared understanding and frame of reference for deeper, more productive conversations.  Conceptual hows create a link between promise and reality.  It builds trust.  It also establishes a frame to make POCs and trials more effective.

Do you understand and share the conceptual how?   On your Web site?  in content?  In sales presentations and as part of sales enablement?

If not, prioritize it.  It is absolutely critical.

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Category: go-to-market  

Tags: b2bsales  buying-process  how  proof  trust  

Hank Barnes
VP Distinguished Analyst
6+ years at Gartner
30+ years IT Industry

Hank Barnes explores the dynamics, challenges, and frustrations enterprises face when buying technology products and services. Using that customer-centric lens, he advises those responsible for marketing technology products and services, general managers responsible for product portfolios, and startup CEOs on next practices to drive success for their customers and their business. Read Full Bio

Thoughts on The Conceptual How

  1. Important concepts. The challenge is that a lot of software companies deeply struggle between “the idea” and “how their software really works.” Great sales people excel at what you suggest. Its just that at the end of the day the software has too much technical debt to pull it off. See my post here:

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