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Checklists : Critical “Confidence” Content

by Hank Barnes  |  September 15, 2020  |  Submit a Comment

My last couple of posts have focused quite a bit on mindsets and attitudes.    The backstory behind both of these, and really the challenges in B2B Buying and Selling , is confidence.    The majority of organizations are not confident in their ability to make a good technology buying decision.   This could be due to their own internal processes and politics, but it is often a question of uncertainty.

Many organizations feel overwhelmed by information, have people involved in buying that have not actually ever purchased the technology they are considering before, and aren’t always sure who should be on the buying team.   This combination often leads to delays, “no decisions”, or “settling” (backing off on more ambitious plans).   It is no wonder that pessimists abound.

In the face of this, Gartner evangelizes buyer enablement–the concept of creating content and tools that help organizations make better buying decisions.    We often think of buyer enablement as needing tools that can be complex to develop (for example: calcuators, diagnostics,  and benchmarks).   But there is one form of buyer enablement that might be easy to create.


Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels


In the best selling book, The Checklist Manifesto, the author, Atul Gawande, a surgeon, makes the case for the use of checklists as a path to greater efficiency, consistency, and safety (Source: Wikipedia).  But I rarely see checklists promoted as critical marketing content.   It is time to change that.
In our study that uncovered the high level of pessimism, we also asked respondents about the type of content that is helpful during implementation.   Checklists were cited significantly more often for our non-pessimists than pessimists.  Further, our non-pessimists also said that they found checklists helpful to make a buying decision.  That sounds like a double win to me.
As a vendor, there is a checklist opportunity.   You could create checklists for your customers that help them work through buying tasks; to guide on composition of the buying team and tasks;  to guide on steps to have an effective trial experience; and much more.
Checklists help organize thoughts and actions.   And, the idea of “checking things off” creates a feeling of accomplishment.   It also builds confidence (“We’ve done everything on the checklist, we are in good shape.”)
Best of all, checklists aren’t that complicated to develop.
Are checklists part of your content strategy?   If not, they should be.

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Category: go-to-market  new-customer-acquisition  sales-effectiveness-and-enablement-sales  

Tags: b2b-buying  checklist  confidence  pessimism  

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

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