B2B Marketing & Sales: Value Proposition or Price? Which Comes First?

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As marketing and sales professionals, we have all dealt with the occasional customer that seems keenly focused on price and won’t focus on anything but price until they are satisfied. This used to be rare but is now becoming the norm, even for traditionally complex products and services that must be configured to solve a specific problem.

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B2B Marketing & Sales: Value Proposition or Price? Which Comes First?

  1. 1. LeadLifter.com1B2B Marketing & Sales: Value Proposition or Price? Which Comes First?As marketing and sales professionals, we have all dealt with the occasional customer thatseems keenly focused on price and won’t focus on anything but price until they aresatisfied. This used to be rare but is now becoming the norm, even for traditionally complexproducts and services that must be configured to solve a specific problem.Dave Brock, President and CEO of Partners In EXCELLENCE, wrote a good piece on hisPartners in Excellence blog titled, Price is Never the only decision criteria!. As a top salesconsultant, Dave has been encountering an increasingly number of clients’ reps that citePricing as the first thing customers want to know.Here’s a short excerpt:“One of my usual questions, fairly early on, is: What are yourprospect’s decision criteria and priorities?100% of the time, the response is Price!And I wait….. but there’s silence.‘Tell me something new, price is always an issue. It may be their topissue, but it is never their only issue! What other things are they going tobase their decision on?’ Over 80% of the time, I get blank stares. ‘Wedon’t know, they keep focusing on price.’ is the response from the salesperson.“Sound familiar?
  2. 2. LeadLifter.com2This isn’t just a figment of Sales’ imagination or an excuse for poor sales results. There arehard surveys that back up the idea that customers DO want to understand pricing firstbefore they spend any time understanding your Value Proposition. We’ll discuss why in amoment but here’s the proof.Take a look at the results of this B2B Buyer’s Study done by MarketingSherpa and Enquiro:According to this group of 1,000 B2B prospects, they want Pricing before the ValueProposition (product info/benefits)!Don’t take it personally, it’s not your fault.The simple answer is TIME … THEIR TIME … or the lack thereofMy opinion for why this is happening in B2B sales is based on examining the PROSPECT’STIME vs. CONTENT problem. Look at the following graphic showing the prospect’s time ingreen.Before the internet marketing explosion, prospects had ample time to review and digestofferings from a variety of vendors. The process was slower and generally consisted ofattending trade shows, conferences and reading industry magazines.
  3. 3. LeadLifter.com3Then, around 2000, Internet Marketers started generating digital content … and morecontent … and more content.Prospective customers love it. They no longer have to travel to get the latest informationabout the products and services they need.The problem is, the TIME vs. CONTENT ratio has reversed as shown in the followingdiagram:
  4. 4. LeadLifter.com4The prospect simply does not have time to digest all of the available solutions to his or herproblem. The quantity of information is overwhelming.So, knowing that she will never be able to completely analyze all of the options she decidesto eliminate some vendors based on affordability. If she can pare down the group to a “shortlist” of potential providers, then she can more thoroughly choose between the remainingvendors. This improves the Time to Content ratio in the prospects favor as shown below:Using a short list based on affordability, or budget fit, a prospect can now dive deeper intothe remaining vendor’s content. The prospective customer has used budget fit at the verybeginning of their research to save themselves time.This revelation means that the savvy B2B marketer may be missing good prospects byfocusing too heavily on product content and not providing a way for a website visitor toeasily get budgetary pricing.
  5. 5. LeadLifter.com5With this new paradigm, the new engagement model looks something like this:AwarenessVBUDGETARY PRICINGVValue PropositionVDecisionVFinal PricingVPurchaseTake a look at your own website. Do you have an easy way for prospects to Request aQuote without filling out a useless web form?For an elegant solution to increase your website lead generation, check out EchoQuote byLeadLifter.com

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