If you are familiar with the philosophy They ask, you answerYou’ve likely heard the origin story after struggling pool company Marcus Sheridan, River Pools and Spas.
Staring at the barrel of bankruptcy during the 2008 recession, Marcus and his team developed a content marketing strategy that literally saved their business.
By obsessing with the way their pool buyers think and make decisions, they have produced content that has increased search engine traffic, generated millions of dollars in revenue, and made them the most trafficked pool site in the world.
Since then, it has become a business philosophy that has literally changed organizations around the world.
There’s only one problem: the origin story, as compelling as it may be, revolves around a B2C . Foundation that sells directly to consumers.
This can make the vision a bit blurry for a B2B organization and lead to an important question you might be thinking about right now.
“I see where Marcus might have succeeded as a pool guy, but we don’t sell pools. Will this really work for my B2B organization?”
Here’s what’s interesting: You might think that because of the origin (and the app in River Pools and Spas) that the majority of their success stories ask, you answer would be from other similar companies, but it isn’t.
In fact, more than half of the organizations We worked with her here at IMPACT It was B2B. In many cases, it was also dependent on the service.
So, why is this the case? It seems too good to believe that the philosophy can be applied globally across seemingly different markets, right?
Well, in this article I am going to explain some of the main reasons why it works with many organizations and in the end, you will know if it is suitable for your B2B organization as well.
Below, I will cover:
- Why B2B Buyers Spend Less Time on Sales.
- Why sales teams have fewer interactions with decision makers.
- The impact of reviews and comparisons of limited products and services on the B2B marketplace.
Reason 1: B2B buyers spend less time on sales
According to a study by Gartner Research, by 2025, 80% of B2B sales interactions Talk between suppliers and buyers on digital channels.
Additionally, this same study shows that buyers typically only spend 17% of their time meeting with potential suppliers when they are considering a purchase.
These types of trends show that more and more decision-making takes place before a consumer personally contacts a company or sales team. Instead, they use marketing materials to self-educate their options.
This reminds us how important great content and great education are to any organization.
How can you use this to your advantage
If buyers are more interested in learning through digital content than talking to your salespeople, rise to the occasion and produce the content they are looking for.
You should have the most useful, impartial and complete information available – this is where they ask, an answer that provides a competitive advantage.
This means that you’ll need to get acquainted with the questions buyers are asking long before you know that an individual buyer exists. we call this The Big 5.
A good example of this is at work Aquila commercial, a commercial real estate company located in Austin, Texas.
They made a solid profile Learning Center Which features customer-focused educational resources that are easy to browse and filter to find what you’re looking for.
Whether you are a renter, owner or investor, you have full access to learn at your own pace and start making decisions with or without the help of a salesperson.
According to the company’s leadership, the leads have already read multiple pieces of content.
As Bart Matheny, co-founder of AQUILA, said, “Digital content really puts us ahead of the market…we are the envy of all our competitors.”
Reason 2: Sales teams have fewer interactions with decision makers
Moving a person through the buying process is difficult, but moving a group through the same process is even more difficult. Different parties have different motives and unique perspectives when approaching a purchase decision.
This becomes even more difficult when salespeople have limited opportunities to speak with decision makers.
according to A study by Forrester, more than 300 B2B executives have found that “only 20% of salespeople they meet are successful in meeting their expectations and creating value.”
It is factors such as these that cause decision makers to send “purchase-level” buyers to talk to sellers, rather than talking to them in person.
This can make the transaction more difficult to complete and may also cause problems after the close if the decision maker is not fully ‘buy’.
Does your sales team find themselves playing with the phone when working with potential clients? How do they affect their closing rates? To what extent does this lengthen the sales cycle?
How can you use this to your advantage
In such cases, you have a decision. Either rely on your point of contact to get the right message across to the decision maker – or provide them with the right content to educate others.
They ask, You answer provides the framework for the latter.
When your sales team is equipped with the right articles, videos, and tools, they can ensure that all decision makers have the same information.
While you may become a teacher from afar, you become a teacher nonetheless.
Let’s say you’re not the least expensive option to offer your service. To help all decision makers discover the difference in value And not just focus on the price, they should be educated.
It is also important that all decision makers have the same education that you share with your direct contact, otherwise you leave room for assumptions.
The article discusses the main factors affecting the cost of an ASLAN core service offering. In turn, decision makers can recognize its value.
Once such content has been produced, salespeople can include it in their correspondence with decision makers – or simply present it to their point of contact for passing on.
Either way, you ensure that all parties are educated about the difference between price and value even when you can’t meet them – and that they all have the exact same information.
But it does not stop at addressing only cost and price …
Reason 3: The B2B market is starving for reviews and comparisons
In the past 10 years, we’ve seen an explosion of review sites like Angie’s List, Trustpilot, and Google My Business. These sites are backed by mass reviews which provide, for some, an important tool for comparing sellers.
Your industry may or may not be affected by sites like this, but it highlights one very important part of They Ask, the five biggest content topics in Answer:
Buyers want to compare things, they don’t want to make the wrong decision. They want to know about your competition, and they want to take an unbiased stance.
For many organizations, the prospect of candid and unbiased content is too drastic to even think of. Herein lies a structured opportunity they ask, you answer, and why so many who have embraced the principle of acquisition have succeeded in overcoming buyer fears.
How can you use this to your advantage
You need to tackle reviews and competitors head on.
It’s important to think about exactly what your ideal customer compares and contrasts with. In addition to comparing vendors, they will likely want to compare different strategies and solutions to their problems.
You must create content to explore and answer these queries.
we are in impact No exception to the rule, which is why we covered how we stack up against our competitors in “IMPACT vs New Breed vs SmartBug: Which Agency Is Right For Me?”
This is a question that in the past you may have felt uncomfortable to confront. (Not to mention that before we took the time to discuss it in an article, there was no common answer among our team.)
However, putting the principles of “They Ask, You Answer” into practice ourselves and taking the time to answer this frequently asked question has created a wonderful opportunity to build trust with our clients and provide a straightforward and unbiased argument for what sets us apart.
B2B organizations work in trust, just like everyone else
There is one thing that holds all businesses together, whether we are a product or service company, B2B or B2C, local or international, big or small: we are all in the field of trust.
When you break it down, this is the primary feeling a buyer must have about any business in order to work with them.
If they don’t trust you, you can assume that they will be more hesitant, mistrustful, and suspicious of your relationship. These are not the feelings that drive buyers into action and certainly not the basis for building a relationship with them.
They ask, You Answer provides us with a framework for gaining trust by teaching the way the buyer prefers to learn.
As mentioned in How do I know when I’m ready to ask, you answer? (Which I suggest you read next, by the way):
“Keep in mind that they ask, you answer contains many standard approaches to sales, marketing, alignment, and culture; but it is a model, not a formula.
The formula says “Do these 6 things and you will succeed.” A model is something that you grow and shape to fit your needs.”
The River Pools and Spas story provides an example of what’s possible, but it’s easy to get caught up in the app.
What’s below the application is more important because you find a set of principles that apply to all organizations.
To hear from other B2B companies about the success they’ve had with “They Ask, You Answer,” check out our site Digital marketing and sales success stories.
Talk to an Impact advisor If you would like to learn more about how this framework can be applied to your organization.