B2B Marketing Principles 3: The specifier

We know that there is more than one buyer involved in most B2B transactions, and that positioning your offer to the right people is critical. Different influences come to bear from different perspectives, and you as the marketer are missing a big trick if you don’t try to convince them all to select you.

Whilst in some B2B transactions, the rise of procurement may be the biggest challenge to some suppliers, I think the biggest and clearest opportunity sits with the specifier. Convince them that you have what it takes and you are on to a winner.

There are often two types of specifier to consider, the specifier within your customer company, and industry specifiers. I’ll explain what I mean and why you need to target both.

Take construction for example. You want to supply materials to the major house, school and hospital building contractors in the UK. Going direct is tricky because of the decentralised structure of materials procurement in most of these companies. Why? They have regional project managers who source what they need on a project or site basis. But they draw information and recommendations from architects, surveyors and other industry professionals. These professionals provide thought leadership on building standards, sustainable building and the contractors take their recommendations about materials very seriously.

Given the preferred supplier nature of this market, and the need to tender and get a place on the list, advertising and direct selling is only going to help suppliers so far. That’s why testimonials and credentials selling is more relevant and the key to this is using third party endorsement of your offering. In construction the architect and surveyors (designers and specifiers) are key players.

But what about the specifier standing between you and a sale? ‘He’ responds to your marketing and sales messages and seeks to balance this with impartial information from the community. He often knows what he wants and needs to validate his selection to the other influencers on the decision to purchase. He needs to present cast iron benefits for why your product or service will meet his company’s specific requirement. You need to solve a particular problem, and more commonly, provide some form of return on investment or reduced exposure over a given period of time. That way he knows he is making the right decision for himself and his company.

So, knowing who the user is not enough. Find out who the specifier is, meet their needs, support them in advocating your solution, and you stand a better chance of business success.

Do you actively target and develop relationships with the specifiers and best practice leaders in your market?

Image: http:// salesmanage.com

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One response to “B2B Marketing Principles 3: The specifier

  1. Pingback: B2B Marketing Principles 7: Poor creative « The Marketing Assassin

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