The Two Most Important Numbers for Startups

First, there’s 60%. Enterprise customers are 60% of the way through the purchasing decision process by the time they call a rep. That’s what the Marketing Leadership Council (MLC) found in a survey of 1,900 of your targets.

Does your business plan depends on sales wins with enterprise customers? Then their ability to use the internet to educate themselves makes your task tougher. Because a smarter customer devalues what your reps know about products and solutions. So reps have less to trade for customers’ “why” and “who” information. That is, the decision making criteria, customer culture, internal politics, and key people.

Then there’s 80%. In surveys 80% of customers – and more — say that reps are unprepared for the first call. That shows the impact of customers educating themselves.

Here are four suggestions to re-balance the conversation with enterprise customers.

  1. Get the (right) word out. Suppliers who provide better information online get more business. The “right” words show how people use your stuff, and why.
  2. Create conversations. Write more testimonials, less white papers. Take a leading role in the special interest groups related to what you do.
  3. Message all buying personas. Learn to listen for the voices of the Innovator, the ROI Guy, the Relationship-er and the Risk Avoider. Usually all of them are in play so all need to be messaged.
  4. Tell a whole product solution story. Most products or services are part of a larger solution so providing the context adds value. Develop an example solution to present at webinars and trade shows. Keep practicing and polishing it.
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