Take a deep look at your product and ask the hardest questions.

Here at Sköna, we use the Kolbe A Index to help us balance our teams by measuring our instinctive way of doing things. It takes four areas into account – Fact Finder, Quick Start, Follow Thru, and Implementor – and I wasn’t surprised to see 90% of our team ranked very high in the first category. Sure, asking questions may be table stakes in our profession, but Fact Finders are a natural fit for a role where we constantly meet new clients, learn new tech, and see new brands – the right personalities help get the right answers more quickly.

To help us help our clients sell themselves, we like to focus on understanding our target audience, our client’s offering, and their professional challenges. In many ways, we work like management consultants, or even psychologists – we have to get the diagnosis right to prescribe any medicine. But, at the end of the day, there are only three questions that really matter when we’re formulating a smart B2B marketing strategy:

  1. Why would anyone need to buy what you’re selling?
  2. Why do they have to buy it from you and nobody else?
  3. Why do they have to buy it now?

Why would anyone need to buy what you’re selling? gets to the core of your solution. In the consumer tech world, answering these questions is usually pretty easy: Uber, for example, came about because it was impossible to get cabs in San Francisco. In enterprise tech, however, the questions can be harder to answer – there’s marketing bones and basic technical understanding involved. This is where we can add value with our lack of technical depth. By forcing marketing people and executives to speak in layman’s terms, we can break the main idea into smaller components. Verbalizing it to people like us helps crystalize the rationale. And that’s how we get to the USPs.

Why do they have to buy it from you and nobody else? gets down to the nitty gritty differentiators. Our clients sometimes tell us it’s the best tech, or lowest cost, or highest performance, but ultimately, it’s down to what their customers think. To paint the picture of what happens without your solution, we have to walk in their shoes. The best way to do that? Return to the source. Talk to customers, talk to prospects. When we really understand their reasons, we can package and scale the answer. Without that understanding, you can’t be an effective marketer.

Why do they have to buy it now? is obviously about urgency. Why can’t you wait another week or quarter?! Economic uncertainty is like a cheat code – there was probably never a better sales incitement than Y2K, for example. But we have to find alternative ways to communicate urgency for the other times. It could be FOMO, it could be security threats, it could be evolution. Keeping on top of news and trends is a great way to find out. By being knowledgeable, well-read, and current, we can place our client’s solution in a timely, relevant setting.

And at the end of the day, it’s important to remember that marketing can only do so much. If your product is buggy or solves a problem nobody cares about… it’s going to be hard to sell. So before you fire your agency or your marketing team, make sure you take a deep look at your product and ask the hardest questions of yourself. If you don’t have a good answer to the three questions above, maybe it’s time for a product pivot as opposed to a rebrand. As the old adage goes, you can’t put lipstick on a pig.

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