Asking for an investment 'because X will no longer happen' is fraught with risk - learn about the biggest four and how to get your money anyway.
Guest author, Margo Dwight says ‘Always Ask Yourself WHY’ to determine benefits
Focus on benefits, not features, to market your B2B product or service.
This article was first posted on LinkedIn by Margo Dwight as the first part of a two-part series about features vs benefits.
This week I’m discussing how you and your brand can focus on benefits, not features, to successfully market your B2B product or service. Read below to learn about my system to discover the benefits, not features, of your product or service.
Benefits, Not Features
Why is discussing benefits more successful than solely outlining features? If your B2B brand only focuses on features, you’re asking the customer to make the connection between the feature and how it will help them, i.e., the benefit. You’re asking them to do the work, and they won’t make the effort to do that. Instead, connect the dots for your customers; help your customers make effective decisions by offering your knowledge and experience.
Solve Customers’ Problems
Talking about benefits also answers your customers’ question: What problem are “you” (the B2B brand) solving if “I” (the client) make a purchase? This strategy of solving customers’ problems creates long-lasting professional relationships. It increases trust and encourages more conversions, i.e., it encourages them to take the next step in the buyer journey, whether that’s making an appointment, scheduling a call, or providing an email address.
Ask Questions to Identify Product or Service Benefits
First, do the research; I take you through my system below of asking questions to recognize benefits. Then craft a digital marketing message using the results of your research to persuade your customers to move to the next step in the buyer journey.
So, how does your B2B or B2B2C brand come up with benefits? It can be a complicated process. But I’ve got a foolproof system. Here’s the secret: Ask yourself why; repeatedly! My procedure outlined below explains how to discover those benefits, and it revolves around asking why.
There’s some overlap, but the questions help you recognize and investigate benefits:
1. On what product or service feature does your B2B brand want to focus?
2. Why was the feature included in the product or service?
3. Why do B2B customers want that feature?
4. What value is accrued to the B2B customer by having this feature?
5. What’s the result of B2B customers having this feature?
Analyze a B2B Example
Let’s look at a B2B example. One feature of semi-trucks is reduced cab noise; it’s a result of better insulation and improved door seals. I’m sure you can imagine why drivers like this feature, but it’s not immediately clear why owner-operators, small-fleet owners or large-fleet owners, along with fleet managers and other staff members who make purchasing decisions, would value it. How can you help customers who are purchasing a Freightliner, Peterbilt, Kenworth, Mack or Volvo semi-truck? Help them make effective decisions by focusing on benefits, not features.
We’ll answer my questions using the example: The feature is reduced cab noise for a semi-truck. Ask questions, always. Every answer can be turned into a question that delves deeper into benefits. Here are those questions again:
1. On what feature of your product or service does your B2B brand want to focus? Reduced cab noise.
2. Why was this feature included in the product or service? After all, the product/service would be cheaper if it wasn’t included. In other words, why did they choose to include that feature rather than another feature? I’ll give you the first answer for free: It reduces distractions and driver fatigue by deadening the sound from traffic and the payload.
Now, ask yourself WHY; keep asking that question! Turn that answer into more questions, and, yes, answer them. Why does it reduce distractions? Why does it reduce driver fatigue? And, so on. The answers are the benefits or solutions to reduced cab noise. Start your list of benefits.
3. Why do B2B customers want that feature? Customers value this feature; they asked for it, or your brand did the research and discovered customers wanted it. But this question directly affects the user, for example, the driver of the semi-truck.
Ask yourself WHY; good question! Turn those answers into more questions and, yes, answer them. The answers are the benefits. So, what are the benefits or solutions to reduced cab noise? Add them to your list of benefits.
4. What value is accrued to the B2B customer by having this feature? This question is about those affected by the users, i.e., other stakeholders, for example, customers, bosses, co-workers, directors, and communities.
Ask yourself WHY; repeat that question until you have answers! Turn those answers into more questions, and, yes, answer them. So, what are the benefits or solutions to reduced cab noise? Add them to your list of benefits.
5. What’s the result of B2B customers having this feature? Think about skipping a pebble in a lake. The pebble creates particular results, but the successive waves create others. Does this feature help customers save money or time?
Ask yourself WHY; you got this! Turn those answers into more questions, and, yes, answer them. So, what are the benefits or solutions to reduced cab noise? Add them to your list of benefits. You should have a long list of benefits now. Now you understand the benefits of reduced cab noise, right? You need to communicate that to your customers.
It’s Time to Create Your Message
We’re ready to move to the next step: Let’s craft a digital marketing message based on benefits, not features. I invite you to discuss your thoughts in the comments below.
The Buyer Journey Begins
After we’ve created and delivered the message, your B2B customers will be ready to move to the next step in the buyer journey, whether that’s making an appointment, scheduling a call, or providing an email address. Ultimately, a straightforward discussion of benefits persuades companies to buy your customers’ products or services.
What Do You Think About My Process?
What benefits would you add to the example above? What does your brand do to communicate benefits to your customers? How do you break through the noise about features and talk about benefits on a daily basis?