When’s the last time you made a decision without asking for input? This is the question I posed in the first part of my blog series. The reality is that all of us, no matter if we are buying a cellphone or a piece of software for our marketing team, seek confirmation that the decisions we make are the right ones.
As new software and business models seem to organically spring up overnight, the need to illustrate that your business is the best bet becomes mission-critical for marketers. Forrester’s Total Economic Impact™ (TEI) methodology not only highlights the costs, benefits, risks, and flexibility of your solution, but it also brings other advantages to your organization.
Here are two more reasons why your marketing team should add the TEI framework to your marketing asset library.
Speed Up The Sales Cycle With Pricing Transparency
Thanks to the internet, B2C consumers now expect to have pricing information with a single click. Call it the Amazon effect.
According to Forrester Principal Analyst Steve Casey, the modern B2B buyer is no different. Buyers don’t shift their expectations based on whether they’re perusing a B2B or B2C website, because, frankly, they would never refer to a website as either of those things! When it comes to categorizing the shopper’s experience, we’ve muddied the waters in trying to make something for companies versus for consumers when, regardless of the buying situation, it’s still a human making the purchase.
Forrester research also tells us that 74% of business buyers conduct more than half of their research online before making an offline purchase. That means B2B buyers need to have open access to information (I’m looking to you, gated content) such as pricing, process, delivery options, etc., as they begin to research solutions for their companies. If all the information is gated, the buyer can’t discern whether or not this solution is right for them or even if it fits their needs, and they’ll instead search elsewhere immediately. As marketers, we need to provide this information in a transparent and open format that invites the potential buyer in to view and understand your portfolio of products.
Where other financial models like total cost of ownership and return on investment are incomplete, Forrester’s TEI study goes further to measure the individual benefits, costs, flexibility factors, and risks. This includes cost estimates over a three-year or five-year period (even for complex offerings) and transparency into the benefits that customers will experience.
Having this access allows buyers, if needed, to self-select out of the process, which isn’t as counterintuitive as it sounds. If your company’s pricing makes a buyer decide to go elsewhere, you weren’t going to sell to them anyway; your sales team might have burned a whole lot of time and effort in their attempts, however. While losing supposed leads at the outset can be a hard pill to swallow for leadership, the transparency that a TEI study offers allows your sales teams to focus their time on quality leads, rather than on those that will never close.
Highlight Efficiency And Retention
As marketers, one of the biggest asks we receive from leadership is how to differentiate products from that of competitors. This isn’t always easy. For example, if your company sells marketing automation solutions, it’s difficult to differentiate yourself from other organizations that also automate legacy systems.
Marketing speak is easy to recognize, and it’s often the lynchpin of an all-talk-no-action marketing strategy that raises more doubt than it does real, authentic interest. So how can you cut through the chaff and demonstrate that your technology is different from the pack? The TEI study reveals how technology can rework processes and make employees more effective in their jobs, going so far as to report on the underlying benefits of that effectiveness, such as employee efficiencies, more sales, higher-quality production, and, most importantly, better employee experience and retention.
In today’s business landscape, the battle for top talent remains high, and outdated technology can be a pain point for new employees. No employee wants to be fighting with an internal system all day when they’ve got work to accomplish. I’ve even seen occasions where obsolete systems drove away potential recruits who cited the lack of certain applications or systems as being the reason they rejected job offers. If internal systems are running smoothly, employees are set up to do what they expected to do when they applied for the job — and what they actually want to do and what they feel passionate about doing.
I can’t think of a better way to differentiate your story in today’s environment than by noting, and even emphasizing, how your technology helps retain buyers’ talent. Use the TEI study to highlight how your technology makes employees more efficient, how it saves money for the business, how it makes employees happier, and how it saves money for the organization.
Like buyers, you, too, are asking the timeless question of “What can I get for my money?” Invest in content that allows you to speak to all buying groups, to show openness, and to demonstrate how buyers can keep their talent. If you do, the buyer’s investment decision will be clear: Where do I sign up?