If you’re like every other business leader I’ve talked with in the last 2 years, your buyers trust what their peers and colleagues have to say more than they trust your marketing and sales messages. So what do you do about it? Unfortunately, most companies waste scarce resources producing old-fashioned proof points like case studies, customer videos, testimonial quotes and reference programs. These efforts don’t address your buyer’s critical concerns, so it should be no surprise that they don’t get buyers to take action.
- “Our value prop just doesn’t seem to be resonating with our audience.”
- “We have a nasty competitor that’s saying anything to steal our business.”
- “It’s harder than ever to get our content to be seen by our target buyers.”
- “We get hit with objections and we fumble with our response.”
- “Our sales guys ask for case studies, but we don’t know if they use the ones they have.”
- “Customers are reluctant to go on the record or give us endorsements and testimonials.”
- “We don’t want to burn out our references, so we save them for the very end of the sales cycle.”
Be honest, I bet most of them apply to you.
- Break through the noise in the market and get prospects to lean in and move forward.
- Enable your sales reps to easily knock down even the gnarliest objections.
- Crush the competition by making your advantages clear, obvious, and validated.
- Tilt the playing field in your favor, educating buyers on how to evaluate a solution like yours.
- Give buyers the visibility into what life is like as a customer in a way that earns their trust.
This is what happens when you become more surgical with your customer proof points, and make sure they address the QFDs that cause buyers to stop in their tracks. That’s what I help my clients do every day.
I did this at Forrester Research as a Principal Analyst leading the research on B2B Buyer Behavior, and using those buyer insights to advise marketing leaders on how to engage the new B2B buyer.
But this is more than just theory, I also launched the first ever Customer Voice program at Forrester. This work surfaced amazing customer proof points that were so valuable to salespeople that one rep on the west coast even said “This is the best thing I’ve ever gotten from marketing, here or any company I’ve ever worked.”
Every week I talk with marketing and sales leaders (and a few CEOs btw) who tell me about their current efforts to break through the noise and provide customer validation of their claims. They’re doing all the things they were taught to do…but they’re just not getting the results and wonder why.
My experience doing B2B buyer research and running customer voice programs has given me a knack for discovering the issues and seeing the opportunities for improvement. That’s why I’ve created the Customer Voice Strategy Workshop.
- You recognize that your buyers put more trust in their peers and colleagues than your messages.
- You have internal or external resources who write case studies, create testimonial videos, and/or run reference programs.
- You’re open-minded enough to consider that the traditional way you’ve done customer marketing may be doing more harm than good, and you’re ready to shake things up.
- You’re feeling pressure to help improve the results of your sales team and contribute to revenue growth.
- You recognize the importance of understanding your buyer personas and how they buy.
- You have the authority and courage to lead change within your organization.
This workshop works best when we have key folks from marketing, sales, and customer success in the room or on the call. In this workshop, we’ll level set everyone by starting off with a short discussion on:
- Why authentic customer stories are the last bastion of competitive advantage for B2B firms and the only thing competitors can’t copy or borrow.
- Jeff’s experiences running the customer voice program at Forrester, and the key lessons learned through trial and error that will save you from making deadly mistakes.
- Why the customer proof points and programs you’re using today don’t help buyers and customers, and may actually be pushing them away.
- What are the REAL questions, fears, and doubts that your customers have at each stage of their customer journey, but are not addressed in any of your marketing and sales messages.
Then we’ll roll up our sleeves with a hands-on exercise in which we’ll fill out the Customer Voice Canvas by doing these things:
- List out your top go-to-market initiatives/priorities for the next 6-12 months.
- Surface the biggest market barriers that keep you from achieving those initiatives. These can be perceptions, objections, questions, fears, doubts, competitor lies…just about anything.
- Determine the customer insights that if captured, would knock down these biggest market challenges. These insights are knowledge, experiences, and advice from customers.
- Compare these insights to your current set of customer proofpoint materials and ask ourselves the honest question: “How well does the stuff we do today address these barriers?
- Come up with the top 5 use cases for harnessing the customer voice.
- Inspiration and a roadmap for building a customer voice program that takes a more strategic, surgical approach, rather than the “Random Acts of Customer Proof” that most companies practice today.
- Consensus among the people in the workshop on what the opportunities for unleashing the customer voice will have the greatest impact.
- A Customer Voice Canvas completed for your highest priority go-to-market initiatives.
- A business case you can use to get buy-in from your senior executive, marketing, sales, and customer success peers to support a more strategic program.
- Greater confidence to drive change by having proven strategies for getting customers to contribute their stories.
- A conviction that you’ll never want create those old-fashioned case studies, testimonial videos, and reference programs ever again.