The Marketing Skeptics

Why no one is buying your product. (Yet.)

The other day I told a client that 95% of their potential customers aren’t buying what they’re selling. I assured them this is good news.

Wait, what?

If you’re selling a solution in the B2B world, your biggest competitors aren’t your competitors.

Here’s what actually keeps your prospects from buying:

  • Business as usual
    Most companies are making do with what they have. They aren’t in the market for a better solution.
  • Resistance to change
    Making a change requires effort and expense. That’s a big hump to overcome, and it takes time to do so.
  • The five-year lag
    If a business is currently using one of your competitors’ products, they’re going to stick with it for a while. They may even be under contract. On average, most companies only consider replacing a software or a service every five years or so. So if a company won’t even consider the solution you’re selling during that five-year lag, that means only 20% of your potential customers have any chance of purchasing from you in any given year. Break that down into quarters, and you only have even the slightest chance with about 5% of your prospects at any given time.

This is where most marketers get it wrong.

Most marketers only speak to the 5% who are ready to buy right now, even though we know a complex sale takes time.

Think about how long it takes for your ideal customer to understand what you’re selling, realize they need it, be ready to implement it, and decide to purchase it. (Six months? One year? Five years?) You’ll want to be in front of them, conversing with them, and educating them on your solution throughout that entire process.

If you only start talking to people at the moment they’re ready to buy, they won’t have time to get to know you and understand what you’re offering.

Why is this good news?

Now that you understand what your customers need to hear and when they need to hear it, you’re way ahead of your competitors. The key is to stay consistently in front of your ideal customers no matter how far they are from being ready to purchase.

If you do, by the time your prospects hit the end of that tunnel (and they will), they’ll know you, they’ll trust you, and they’ll be ready to buy.

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Gwen Martin

Partner at Scouts Talent


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