Are Marketers Afraid to Sell?

Sitting in a meeting recently and reviewing various B2B sites, someone said “they even have a promotional offer with pricing on their site.”

It wasn’t a complement of their marketing prowess or focus. It was a knock, the final proof that this B2B marketer did not know how to market.

Say what? Solution selling and never undermining your value are anthems in marketing. But has it gone too far? Not everyone will compete on price and promotion, but does that mean no one should?

Here are some of the things we know about modern B2B buyers.

1. Today’s buyers complete 70% or more of their research before ever engaging with sales. If pricing is a key point of differentiation and reason for them to engage with your sales team, do not be afraid to make that clear!

2. Financial pressure in organizations remains high. A promotional offer may be just what you need to open the door and get that first meeting.

3. Decisions need to be justified and showing the case for positive ROI is not enough if a similar solution is available for a better price. Promotional offers have the potential to get you into late stage discussions, after the short list would normally be finalized.

Yes, leading with price can devalue your solution. It isn’t the right path for everyone, but it is likely an effective path for someone in your market.

It is time to stop dismissing marketers that do it “their way” and start embracing effective marketing, whatever the method.

Your Turn

Do you believe selling B2B solutions based in part on price is always a bad idea? If so, I would love to hear your perspective in the comments, on Twitter (@wittlake) or by email.

Photo Credit: Frightened Matt by M-n-M on Flickr

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  • http://twitter.com/bradshorr bradshorr

    Hi Eric, I’ve had lots of experience in B2B sales and marketing, and there’s no doubt in my mind that price is an effective strategy. A price offer makes a great door opener and conversation starter. In the B2B world, decisions aren’t usually made on the basis of price, but a high price can disqualify a seller. So by giving customers the first impression of being price-competitive, you set their minds at ease and make them interested in learning more. 

  • http://twitter.com/morecontrary Mary Sullivan

    A recent Harvard Business Review article asserts convincingly that solution selling is over — for the same reasons you cite above. http://hbr.org/2012/07/the-end-of-solution-sales/ar/pr  This piece should be required reading for all marketers today.

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