Developing messaging for professional services or software platforms often creates the “paradox of choice” for product marketers – the technical team or consultants explain they can “deliver anything the client wants” and with pride they list just short of about 5 million capabilities of skills and technology they have interacted with. The paradox? There are so many options, product marketers are not sure what choice to make.
The truth is that comprehensively describing in depth all possible product and service capabilities is the weakest way to generate interest from new prospects, and it’s not just because of “information overload.” The reality is that technology buyer behavior has been changing dramatically over the last two years. Business buyers drive the majority of IT purchases, even if funded out of IT. As digital business becomes mainstream, CIOs are prioritizing business outcomes over technical service delivery. As shown in the Gartner 2018 CIO Agenda research, CIO priorities for 2018 focus on business metrics, from controlling costs and streamlining processes to driving revenue growth by exploiting data.
Furthermore, enterprise technology buyers tell us that the top reason technology provider campaigns inspired them to consider a solution (when they were not planning a purchase) was marketing messages that were “relevant to business issues, or triggered new thinking around them.”
For these and many other reasons, we are advising technology and service providers to lead their customer acquisition efforts with messaging focused on the business outcomes and value your offerings enable instead of the long list features, functions or capabilities available in your offerings. Don’t worry, there will always be time later in the sales cycle to get technical. But first, you need to inspire an opportunity with a hint of the business results that your offerings can deliver.
How can you refocus your technical messaging on business outcomes? Start by researching the business outcomes of your own reference customers to capture insight. This can be done simply by interviewing reference customers, salespeople, or frontline customer service employees to learn what resonates with your ideal customers. Sure they wanted new functionality, but what is the real reason they paid money for your solution (in one sentence or less)? How did they justify the investment to their CFO? This is the key to the customer insight that will inspire future projects and engagement in new logo customers.
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