In every large or enterprise B2B financial technology deal, a whole community of people in the customer organization are involved in the buying decision. Some will be proponents for the purchase while others will be trying to block the deal.
Blockers often have very reasonable objections. In some cases, they’re unfounded, but usually, they believe passionately in their positions. Below, I’ve listed four key reasons why an individual or faction might try to block a major enterprise sale (of course, there are other reasons, which I’ll address in future posts). In each case, content marketing can be used to help address the objections, ultimately providing support your sales team needs to win the deal.
Turning Objectors into Advocates
The to key writing content for objection handling is to write from the perspective of the objector and/or from the perspective of the executive team that the objector would try to convince. Your goal should be to help them see themselves and their concerns in the content. The objective of this content is to turn an objector into an advocate.
1. They want to use the budget for something else.
Every organization is dealing with limited resources and many options for their use. Resources might be financial, staff availability, or even attention. For example, at most global banks, so much attention is being focused on complying with new regulations right now that teams cannot focus on product innovation. Even if they have available budget, they don’t have enough staff availability. They also don’t have enough intellectual attention capacity to manage more projects.
In this case, focus your content on the business benefits but also discuss what it really takes to implement your technology. Empathize with their situation and provide case studies and articles on how other clients under similar pressures were able to successfully deploy and benefit the company. Provide content that describes options for deployment that use fewer internal resources. Make sure your content is empathetically honest. Blockers will see through marketing pablum promising painless deployment and instant results.
2. They prefer your competitor.
There are many reasons an objector might prefer your competitor. They might have a friend working at a competitor, or they might have used the competitors product in a previous job and don’t relish the idea of going through another learning curve. Or it could be that the competitor’s sales team is doing a better job.
It could also be internal politics. For example, last year, a global bank was evaluating software testing suites. They had shortlisted two vendors. The team in London supported Vendor #1 while the team in North America supported Vendor #2. The team that had the most political clout won. Ultimately, their decision had very little to do with the quality of the two vendors’ products. It came down to which team did a better job of selling internally.
This can be a very difficult situation for the sales team, especially in situations where they have limited access to the other faction. Marketing can help in two ways.
First, try running campaigns directly targeting the other factions and decision makers higher up in the organization. Content offers might focus on how that prospect’s direct competitors are leveraging your technology. Videos are particularly effective in this area because they’re shared so easily.
Second, deliver content to the supportive faction that they can leverage to improve their internal selling. They’ll need to build a business case and will need content specifically designed to help them sell against your competition.
3. They want to build it in-house.
In many organizations, the IT team prefers to build things in house. This could be because they’re looking for job security, because they want to learn new things, or because they feel more comfortable with the design if they do it themselves. For example the head of a major prime brokerage told me that they don’t go externally to buy order routing and execution technology, because the vendors will not accept enough liability to make it worth the risk.
Use content to address these objections head-on. Target the people to whom IT would be making the objections. Focus on educating this audience on the big picture of what it really takes to develop and maintain something in house. Build vs. buy content is often very helpful in this situation. But make sure it’s sophisticated enough to be trusted by this audience.
4. They’re comfortable with the status quo.
In most cases, major enterprise sales require substantial disruption to the organization. But today, almost every bank and financial institution has dramatically reduced staff, and personnel are expected to do jobs once handled by twice the number of people. Any disruption makes their jobs more difficult and stressful.
ROI is not always enough to motivate the organization to change. For example, the head of market data at a major tier one bank recently told me he could save their organization $50 million a year by changing the way they consume market data. He’s discussed this many times with senior staff – those who control the P&L for several lines of business. But the organization does not want to go through the change that this would require.
To overcome the objections grounded in inertia, marketing should target stakeholders in each of the affected departments. Buyer personas will be very important, as the offers should help each buyer persona understand how this technology can actually make their jobs easier and turn them into heroes. In situations like this, you’ll need to create a groundswell, where lots of people in the organization are convinced that the change will be worth the pain.
So now it’s your turn. How has your team used content to help overcome objections in the sales process?