Finding answers to the following three questions: "why, how and what?" is crucial for B2B marketers and sales representatives, especially when they want to meet the principles of the so-called account-based marketing.
The writer Simon Sinek introduced a model called The Golden Circle at the TED Talk conference held in 2009. His presentation entitled "Start With Why" was focused on the three following questions: why, how and what.
In his lecture, Sinek explains, "Very few organizations know why they do what they do. And by "why" I don't mean "to make a profit". That's a result. I ask them: "What's your purpose?" Very few B2B professionals can answer the question: "Why does your company exist?"
Only some B2B companies understand how they managed to attract their customers, and even fewer managed to formulate their corporate values by developing several effective ways of selling their products to groups of selected customers based on sales data.
Every B2B company knows what they do. They know their mission as well as the product or service they offer, the know the price charged to the customers and with whom they do business. The question "what" is, therefore, crucial as it is a matter of life and death.
B2B marketing based on three questions
The three fundamental questions mentioned above can be easily applied to the role of a B2B buyer and extended into the overall customer experience. The methods traditionally used by companies to interact with their potential customers follow the same path.
Therefore, every marketing team starts a presentation by explaining to their prospects what and how their company does. If they are lucky enough, potential clients listen to them and pay attention to the service or product the sales team is offering.
However, this model is not the best one, because the sales representatives should put their customer first and start the presentation with the question “why?”. Potential clients need to know why the company exists and what is the product or service it offers.
Of course, you have to find the customers that care about your offer. Marketers must support salespeople and focus on specific needs and problems of potential customers. As a solution, they offer a company’s product or service. Therefore, in the interest of successful B2B marketing, business teams should primarily focus on finding answers to the question “why”.
What it is not the most important question
If we follow Sinek’s model, we can say that most companies know why they exist: to service the companies that are their best customers. If we add another layer, companies should also know who they want to target.
Although most B2B marketers are perfectly aware of these facts, most of them do very poor job and focus only on the most promising customers. Historically, marketers bombarded new clients with emails and repeated phone calls.
Unfortunately, B2B marketers used these methods to find out the answer to “what”, instead of focusing on “why” and “who”. Nowadays, executive managers expect high profits on a shoestring budget and, therefore, no one can throw money out of the window and be unsuccessful.
Marketers must begin to define the personality profile of their ideal customers clearly. And create offers that target specific companies and employees. They must address them, both online and offline, and use such a language and words they understand. Your customers want to be addressed in this way, and it is the best approach to achieve perfect results.
Let’s give the word to ABM
Sinek’s model of the The Golden Circle can be perfectly applied to the concept of account-based marketing (marketing methods focused on the knowledge of specific customers will be discussed in one of our next articles). Start with selecting your best customers. It might seem like a tricky task, but it is not a brain teaser as you work with your own company data.
If you are not a brand-new company, which was launched last week from scratch, you have your CRM system loaded with data about your clients. Just have a look at the list of your customers and find your VIP customers and clients who bring you the most money. Then ask yourself three Golden Circle questions:
- Why did they decide to do business with you?
- Are they successful as customers?
- What defines these companies in terms of their area of industry, market share, number of employees and sales achieved?
- Who is the end user, what is his position and responsibilities?
Based on answers to these questions, you select the companies that meet the same criteria. These companies and their employees become the target of your successful B2B marketing efforts.
Why, how and what in everyday life
Once you learn to use Sinek's approach, you realize that you can apply it to your everyday entrepreneur life. In order to define new goals and overcome the existing ones, it is necessary to know the answer to "why".
Why do you do business in your field, why do you take specific business steps, and why do your customers trust you? Once you realize that you are not able to find answers to one of these questions, you are in a vicious circle.
At the same time, you have to know how your customers respond to this question: Why do they buy your products and use your services? Do you know it? (Btw. do you know what is a buyer persona?) And do you suppose that you know it or did you conduct really relevant research? Without a thorough understanding of your target audience, it will be very difficult for you to innovate and satisfy the needs of your customers. And as we know, who does not innovate is doomed to failure.