Trust is right now is at a somewhat strange level, and the detail nuances around why your company versus any alternative provider, will give insight for those in-depth meaningful discussions.
My next guest is a B2B customer marketing strategy advisor his passion and focus are empowering SMEs with buyer-driven approaches to acquire and retain business customers and drive business growth. Michael Haynes has over 23 years’ experience and has advised SMEs, and start-ups in Australia, Canada, Asia, and the Middle East.
Michael works mainly with small, medium enterprises, helping them get into larger organisations. Hence, your mid-market and your large corporates which he has much experience coming from large corporate. Michael is all about assisting them to really to understand the dynamics of selling to business clients and customers helping companies take a buyer-driven approach to understand who those decision-makers are what are their priorities.
Often SMEs looking to get into larger organisations may not be aware of those dynamics of B2B, in terms of there being multiple decision-makers. Let us say we’re dealing with a Martech agency, looking to sell into one of your larger corporates must recognise that dealing with the chief marketing officer and prepare for also the CFO involvement and people from operations and risk and compliance. They will all have specific criteria and individual priorities. They have certain content that they like to look at as part of their decision process, be it white papers, case studies, performance stats or specific regulatory requirements that you need to meet. SMEs must understand each individual, their priorities of what are they looking for and making sure they are providing those tools and information to meet the needs of these decision-makers and stakeholders.
Many organisations are moving to the online environment. Still, it is a lot more than just simply moving to the likes of zoom. It is understanding where buyers are at right now, your business buyers and customers right now. They are looking for decision confidence to get confidence in themselves to know what they need to do to take their current business to where they want it to go. They are looking for actionable solutions they are looking for insight and advice to identify opportunities to understand what is it that they are going to have to do within their organisations and or delivering to their customers.
It is really about your sellers being that trusted advisor and partner providing those insights around market opportunities. Providing that road map of how are you going to use your this Martech solution, how will it be implemented and how are we going to help them meet their requirements around the market share, retaining certain kinds of customers growing customers. It is being that advice and providing that implementation and execution support to work with your customers. You must incorporate these elements into those discussions that you are having online. This focus is on how you are going to succeed in today’s business environment, so it is a lot more than the virtual medium. It is what you are doing on those virtual meetings, and how you are approaching them, that is where there is still some work to be done.
When adapting to your customer environment, Michael says, you need to recognise that in terms of language, and how you dress, that it can be quite different to what you know—using the right language and terminologies that you wouldn’t use SME to SME.
Looking across markets like Australia and Canada, although similar, Australians are probably a little bit more relaxed than his fellow Canadian counterparts. Overall, the same principles apply about instilling trust and demonstrating value. In the Australian context, they are excellent and tremendous at letting you know good people and giving them a go. So, authentic and having that transparency is especially important.
Michael talks about trust being strange right now and quotes the Edelman Group research on the B2B space to understand how our buyers and sellers perceive trust. There is a high degree of scepticism amongst business buyers in terms of the trust, amongst product and service providers. It’s why you need to be building those relationships, delivering value and showing that you’re understanding your customers, and stakeholders and what it is that they need, where they’re at and trying to work with them. In this environment, everyone is under a lot of stress and constraints; they want people that can work with them and understands them.
Having the privilege of working globally, Michael says, B2B sales tend to be a very male-dominated environment, sectors such as technology, your biotech, is heavily male-dominated. There is a lot more room for diversity both in terms of women and people of colour. Some markets in the USA, you will see more black males in sales roles, but there is still in my view room for improvement to see more a female and people of senior colour leaders in the B2B space. Michael says being involved in a few talks on equality and diversity, that he feels firm and is deeply passionate about this area.
All people need to be represented, giving an example that on many occasions, particularly in his previous corporate life. He would go to presentations, and the executives were talking about all people, yet their PowerPoint slide presentations would be only one demographic group. Michael says when his agency gets his brief, they know that we must have that representation of all people. It is not currently widespread today, we are not all having the same voice, the same representation at the same level of influence, and this needs to change.
Michael reminded me that growing up in the UK, I did not see myself represented positively, and it is still the case today. It is important you see it, and it is relatable, to know that it is possible, and it exists. Michael agrees that it is so important to have that inclusivity, diversity of thought, experience, perspective. To see the empowerment of people of colour and women so that they can aspire to roles within entrepreneurship, within executive functions to be our leaders in the community, in business. Michael says, it is crucial and necessary, and it must happen.
Michaels, one tried and tested strategy is talking to your current customers that should be the first part of any growth and scaling strategy. Talk to your existing customers and having in-depth conversations to understand their priorities, their motivators, their drivers, what are they trying to achieve. Understand where are the gaps in where they are now, where they are trying to go and why they chose you as a product or service provider? Really getting into the detail nuances around why your company, you as that product or service provider versus other alternatives. You will get great insight for having some of those in-depth, meaningful discussions, which will then help you pave the way to determine where are the opportunities both amongst similar customers that you can replicate and roll out excellent.
Refocus Reignite and Rise, is an executive coaching program aimed at SMEs CEOs and their senior leadership team. It comprises of two phases there is a three-month strategy intensive where we go through the three modules the nine months follow up. Refocus, which is all about understanding who your key target customers and buyers what is it that they want and get a clear understanding of what you are going to need. The Reignite based on knowledge of our industry markets and customers what are the things that we’re going to have to be delivering and providing to them to meet their requirements so that could be around products, it could be around service and support. Then the Rise is about how we develop your growth strategy so that you can have that long-term sustainable growth.
Michelle Obama ranks extremely high up on Michaels list of shero, she is just fantastic in terms of her whole story of just how she is risen, from Chicago to the leading schools and first lady where she’s made such an impact. His is quite a big fan of Barack as well.
Michaels website www.listeninnovategrow.com you will find a whole array of articles and videos.