#GROWTHsnacks: The Product-Marketer Buyer & Customer Competitive Enablement

Welcome to 🚀#GROWTHsnacks — a series of short posts of up to 600 words equivalent to 5 minutes of reading (challenge accepted 💪), in which I will be discussing different growth, product, marketing, and Go-to-Market (GTM) tools, concepts, issues, books — as well as existential questions 🤔

#GROWTHsnacks was crafted for infinite/micro-learners (as well as micro-enablers ;) and conceived with product managers, product marketers, growth, marketing, and sales teams in mind. It’s a growth-centric, bite-sized actionable, and/or inspirational piece of content; a snack.

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The Product-Marketer Buyer & Competitive Customer Enablement

Today’s GROWTHsnack is actually a #Product-MarketingSnack and is all about fully leveraging any buying journey you get to take part in while evaluating or purchasing products and services. Bonus material* for the busy bees among you — my PMM Buyer persona’s elevator pitch, saves 10–15 minutes on each call**.

As mentioned in The Challenger Salesman and Selling Above and Below the Line, unlike sales reps or PMMs who hone their sales skills, buyers are never really trained to buy products or services and they too — need professional assistance and guidance. 👩‍🏫 A recent Gartner report echos the same notion and adds:

[I know, using an image in a word count challenge is cheating (so is using links) — let’s reposition around “being creative and using all the tools in my toolbox” ;)]

When I step into a buyer’s shoes, I do not only learn valuable information on how other organizations address different challenges, but I also get to experience different pain points that prospects go through — that are less visible to me on a daily basis.

🔍 According to the above research, only 17% of the time B2B buyer groups spend researching a product or a service is dedicated to time talking with a sales rep. If they are comparing several suppliers — it may be as low as 5%.

💡One of the takeaways here is the importance of crafting the buyer journey’s content as well as the experiences around independent research, which is the biggest influencer on a purchasing decision. For those of us who offer free trial/ freemium models, reducing onboarding friction and facilitating the ‘AHA Moment’ is one of the key elements you want to cover properly. Working in the gaming apps industry for over a decade — I know all about the importance of making sure that prospects get the value promised quickly. Expect more about this in future snacks ;)

It also calls for optimizing the time prospects do spend on calls with a sales rep — where it’d be best to refrain from repeating what they’ve already learned, focus on learning as much as possible about their needs while tailoring the relevant value proposition to their use cases. If the buying process includes an executive economical buyer — the sales call is your main tool for understanding what “trains” (see Chapter 10 in Selling Above and Below the Line) they have coming in, and how you can get them to join the next call.

In the recent buying journeys I went on, I wanted to use my time with the sales rep to learn more about the way a vendor differentiates itself from competitive solutions. I also wanted to learn more about the kind of information and the amount of information that will be shared with me, and how.

Competitive Enablement — What Do You Practice?

External Battle Cards — Yes, No, Limited
Some organizations share competitive collaterals with prospects by heart, and some in writing. Some would only send written collaterals to partners, after signing an NDA. Some would list the weaknesses of their competitors as well as their own relative strengths. Some would just share the relevant strengths — without mentioning the competition at all.

The downside of sharing written competitive collateral with prospects is risking it getting to the hands of your competitors within 24 hours through their champion.

Buying matrix — Reframe the Conversation Around the Overall Value
Some vendors will guide the prospect through a list of questions or a buying matrix. These will reinforce the value of the vendor in a particular use-case/context. In some cases they’ll provide answers to these questions or some of them, in some cases, they will leave them open for the prospect to fill out during their individual research.

I think that this approach is more subtle and possibly more effective since it provides the vendor with an opportunity to reinforce their value proposition per relevant use cases, as well as get more energy to the process — through assigning them with some homework ;)

What does your organization do? What do you think is the best way to address this issue? I’ll be happy to learn from you ;)

May your buyer journeys be seamless and your battle cards actionable 🙌 ,

Shelly

*Bonus Material: The PMM Buyer’s Persona & Elevator Pitch

Sales rep (of a CI SaaS company): Hi Shelly, how are you doing today?:)

Me: I’m great, I hope it’s ok — but I only have about 30 minutes today, my schedule is rather tight.
I can help fit us into this schedule by:

1. Informing you that I am a user persona in this case, looking to learn more about your platform and how it can help me do my job more quickly, and hopefully improve its quality as well. So just confirming here — I have no visibility into the budget, and not even sure who is the primary contact for our account in your systems, but was asked to review this by my supervisor before we pick a product to start working with next quarter (yep, your solution is budgeted).

2. I am also checking out your competitor X and competitor Y — so it’ll be helpful to get your take on what differentiates you from them — thank you!

The Sales rep *smiling on the other side of the zoom call*: “Well, that’s a good way to start our conversation..”

**Disclaimer: This is not recommended for calls in which you want to learn how the sales rep gathers info.

👩‍💻 A Tech Lover👷 Product Builder 📈 Growth & Product Marketing Specialist ‍🎓 An Infinite Learner