IF YOU HAVE a great retail technology solution to offer, five yeses control your future.
You already know – more or less – who the decision-makers are at each target account: the CIO, the head of store operations, the head of merchandising, the CFO, and the CEO.
Each of these individuals has the power to say “no.” If your solution doesn’t seem to align with one of their objectives, the game may be over. You need all their heads nodding to close the sale. Is your story designed to be persuasive to all five yeses?
Can one story earn five yeses?
Technology marketers naturally gravitate toward technical reasoning first. They typically express their value proposition in the form of white papers. This makes complete sense. Software companies take pride in their technical differentiators – core functionality, algorithm, user interface design, machine intelligence, security, integration, ease of implementation and support.
If only the selling conversation could begin and end with technical superiority. You’d sit your genius chief developer down for an awesome demo with their IT team and leave with a signed contract and a check.
The technology sales pros I’ve worked with know it can take 3 to 18 months or longer to move the dialog from first contact to final decision. Along the way, there are questions about cost and ROI from the finance folks. The merchandising and marketing team needs assurance that your solution will match up with their critical functional needs. Store ops will quiz you about training and labor costs. The CEO will demand evidence that your solution conforms with the company’s strategic objectives.
Then back to the IT chief, who faces a constant prioritization dilemma that results from unrelated mandates and finite resources. “Sounds interesting, but there’s no way we can adopt your solution until at least next fiscal year.”
Five yeses means five personas
Content marketing professionals have long understood why decision makers in each functional area have different priorities and communications styles. Your IT contact gobbles up that long technical white paper but the CEO barely skims the executive summary. The head of merchandising may be enthused about the features you share in your webinar presentation, but the CFO focuses mainly on the ROI analysis.
Big agencies invest great effort to identify and define groups of influencers and decision makers called “personas”. They create detailed profiles of each target and create messaging designed to be influential to each.
In the world of retail technology solutions, we have pretty good confidence that those personas align with the functional roles within retail organizations. So why not begin by crafting content that speaks to each of them?
Getting to five yeses can require multiple stories that target each persona differently. How can you translate the technical superiority of your solution into compelling business reasons to buy? One story may focus on competitive strategy, another on payback, another on ease of implementation, another on shopper experience.
Articulating these arguments in a variety of targeted content assets is much more than a lead-generation tactic. You’ve already identified all the target accounts anyway! Well-crafted stories are a boon for your business development pros as they work their way through the stages of the sales cycle:
- They can help start or re-start the conversation.
- They can preempt or counter commonly-heard objections.
- They can enable an executive sponsor to have a productive conversation with a skeptical boss or colleague.
- They extend the credibility of your brand and the authority of your subject matter experts.
The path to five yesses is strewn with casualties who embarked on the journey unprepared to address the particular concerns of decision makers with varying missions and roles. Complex sales, such as retail tech solutions, require a multi-pronged communications effort. If your B2B content marketing strategy is focused exclusively on lead generation, it may be time to take yes for an answer.
At my firm VSN Strategies we transform your technical superiority into persuasive business reasons to buy. Just say “yes” and we’ll show you how.
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