Ah, the conundrum of B2B pricing—somewhere between “Why is this so hard?” and “Why doesn’t anyone just tell me what it’ll cost?” lies the sweet spot of opportunity for marketers and salespeople. You know the people who make you set up a demo to get a simple price? This post is for you!
Let’s cut through the static and talk pricing strategies and digital transformations in an era where people are skeptical about clicking the ‘Contact Sales’ button. I think I am uniquely qualified to discuss this, because after RBM has been working with clients for ANY length of time, we’re usually pulled into the sales process (as it should be, marketing and sales should be way closer bedfellows than they are in most orgs, but that’s another blog post.)
A Changing Landscape: The Digitalization of B2B Sales
The COVID-19 pandemic has catalyzed a seismic shift in buyer behavior. According to data, 43% of baby boomers, Gen Xers, and millennials now prefer a rep-free experience, a number likely elevated by pandemic-induced norms. In light of this, businesses must adapt their go-to-market strategies to resonate with an increasingly digital world.
The integration of technological platforms has never been more imperative. Gartner’s Integration Maturity Model from 2020 revealed that 64% of businesses have integrated at least one application, with an additional 13% planning to integrate CRM applications by year-end 2020. If your CRM and website are not in a seamless conversation, you’re metaphorically bringing a knife to a gunfight.
The Changing Zeitgeist in B2B Sales: From Cold Calls to Cookies
Remember those carefree days when a cold call or a firm handshake sealed the deal? Yeah, neither do I. According to a DemandGen report, 44% of respondents consume three to five pieces of content before even thinking about talking to you. So, instead of lamenting the death of the Rolodex, it’s time to adapt. Businesses are eyeing opportunities like media budgets for Connected TV (CTV) and better audience understanding. However, like a moth to a flame, they’re also grappling with ROI measurement and the complexities of programmatic advertising.
Setting the Pricing Stage: Because Transparency Isn’t Just for Politicians
One of the key challenges in a proposal-centric sales model is the lack of transparency surrounding pricing, which can be highly problematic. In today’s market, customers expect and demand upfront cost information. By providing transparent and upfront pricing details, businesses can build trust, win over potential customers, and ultimately drive greater sales.
And this isn’t some baseless claim. Data has shown that 53% of shoppers always research before making a purchase decision (heck, I check reviews when I am sitting AT a restaurant to see what’s good there!).
I get it; sales usually stresses that if they pub their pricing, their competitors will simply undercut them. Firstly, I say this, if cost is your ONLY differentiator, you probably have shit technology. Still don’t wanna do it? Then, using relatable analogies like “less than the cost of your daily latte” can usher in some much-needed clarity.
Discover the power of connecting your product’s pricing to everyday items. It’s a game-changer in overcoming customer resistance. Here’s how to do it effectively:
- Identify Your Target Market: Know who you’re talking to. Are you selling a high-dollar SaaS solution to CFOs or a workflow management tool to middle managers?
- Choose an Analogous Item: Choose an item or service that your target market frequently encounters. For example, you could liken your pricing to the cost of “a cup of coffee per day” or “an entry-level recruiter’s monthly salary.”
- Create a Pricing Narrative: Frame your pricing in a relatable context. Instead of saying your service costs $10,000 a year, tell prospects they could gain productivity worth 5x that amount for “the monthly price of a team-building outing.”
But Wait, Digital Tools to the Rescue!
Let’s not pretend that a PDF brochure is a cutting-edge technology. An integrated micro-site is your golden ticket. From scheduling video conferences to archiving recordings and linking to digital commerce systems, this is your kaboodle (for the life of me, I am so old I‘ve lived through BOTH times this was popular, and I still had to google — ask the Branchers — the damn thing) for all things customer engagement. To align with the growing preference for a representative-free buying experience, consider integrating a micro-site into your sales process. This digital platform can serve multiple purposes:
- Bidirectional Communication: A channel for real-time communication between the sales team and the customer.
- Video Conferencing: Schedule and manage meetings without leaving the platform.
- Recordings Archive: A repository for meeting recordings, valuable for referencing and auditing.
- Digital Commerce Links: Direct links to digital payment systems, making the path from proposal to purchase easier for the customer.
This seamless integration effortlessly eliminates friction in the buying process, paving the way for a personalized and hassle-free sales experience.
Friction Points: Or, How Not to Annoy Your Prospects
Oh, the horror stories I could tell about companies hiding their prices or inundating prospects with 20-question surveys (not gonna lie, I HAVE done it too.) And let’s not forget those vendors that seem to think I need a “marketing manager’s survival guide” after downloading a single e-book. The simple truth?
Reduce friction, and you’ll have happier clients. As a report by Google suggested, 71% of B2B researchers start with a generic search. So, how can you make that journey smooth?
- Be Transparent: No one likes to go on a treasure hunt to find your pricing.
- Be Ready: If I have questions, your sales team better know the answers.
The New Age of Demand Generation: No, It’s Not Just Clicks and Downloads
Forget quick wins and think about long-term relationships. Demand is not a one-night stand; it’s a long-term commitment built over time. Let’s face it: a 5+ figure buyer isn’t going to swipe right because your ad popped up on their LinkedIn feed. They need a value-packed experience and a courtship period, not a rushed rendezvous.
And yes, despite what your analytics dashboard might imply, not everything requires a click or a download to generate value. The buyer’s most crucial conversations and research often happen outside your sales funnel. Think of it as dating; you can’t measure the success of a relationship by the first few interactions alone.
Adapt or Risk Obsolescence
As we head into 2024 and beyond, the pressing challenges are clear: measuring ad effectiveness, the impact of the economy, and generating ROI from marketing efforts. Meanwhile, we have exciting opportunities in areas like Connected TV and programmatic advertising. However, these come with their own sets of challenges, including navigating the imminent cookieless world.
Here’s a structured approach:
- Audit the Current System: Evaluate existing touchpoints in your customer sales journey. Identify bottlenecks and assess the interplay between your CRM, website, and other key platforms (every client at RBM starts with an audit FYI.)
- Map the Ideal Journey: Develop a new customer journey map that includes your micro-site and its features.
- Develop the Micro-Site: Design and implement the micro-site based on this ideal journey.
- Integrate CRM: Ensure that the micro-site syncs seamlessly with your CRM, providing a cohesive data stream.
- Test and Iterate: Continually test the system and refine the customer experience based on real-world data.
If you’ve read this far, perhaps you’re ready to rewrite your B2B playbook. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a young gun, the landscape is ripe for those willing to adapt and innovate. Let’s leverage these digital transformations and modern-day marketing methods to create a pricing strategy that doesn’t just look good on paper but translates into scalable, long-term success.
Yes, it’s complicated, but that’s why we’re here. RBM has helped countless B2B sales and marketing organizations rebuild their processes to create more sales, seamless buyer interactions, and create a space where customers come to you.
In a business ecosystem increasingly influenced by digital interactions, the old ways of concealing prices and high-touch, high-friction sales methods are less effective. By adopting a transparent, relatable, and digital-first pricing strategy, your B2B organization can better meet market demands, optimize sales processes, and ultimately drive revenue. By focusing on these pivotal factors, you not only build customer trust but also shape an efficient sales mechanism in a landscape where every competitive edge counts.
Ready to revolutionize your B2B playbook? Unleash the power of RBM to transform your sales and marketing processes, turbocharge your pricing strategy, and drive revenue in the digital landscape. Don’t miss out on gaining that competitive edge – reach out today and level up!