Resistance and reluctance.
While these two words may seem similar, their motivators yield completely different approaches for sales teams looking to drive growth and improve results for their organizations.
When it comes to buying, understanding the differences between resistance and reluctance determines your team’s approach to closing a deal.
Piquing a potential buyer’s interest is a critical first step. Once you overcome this obstacle, it’s safe to say assume your organization offers a solution to the buyer’s needs, so why the hesitation?
Sales teams can identify resistance more easily. According to Gartner, “Resistant customers are, generally, openly pushing against change.” On the other hand, reluctant buyers move forward unwillingly. Something is holding them back and slowing down the process.
Uncertainty is common when it comes to change, but reluctance takes it a step further. More often than not, reluctance is fueled by a lack of experience, distrust, and misunderstanding.
This is when you should lean on the expertise of your sales-enabled PR and marketing teams to provide clarity and effectively engage with buyers.
Understanding the Differences Between Reluctance and Resistance
Sales teams are often met with resistance and reluctance in the buying journey, making it difficult to convert buyers.
If the potential buyer is resistant to change or specific products and services, you can implement gentle transitionary processes and guide them towards solutions that are better aligned with their goals. Clear outlines and communication work best here.
For potential buyers presenting reluctance, the issue goes deeper. Typically stemming from a lack of confidence or a fear of the unknown, reluctance holds buyers back during pivotal decision-making moments because they can’t see the finish line. Instead, roadblocks cloud their view and make it difficult to move forward.
In B2B, these obstacles are a result of a lengthy buyer journey. B2B customers require an average of 27 touchpoints before converting. And brands need to deliver each time. That’s hard to achieve when independent online research makes up a majority of the buying journey (27%) and limits critical interactions with sales professionals. As a result, B2B businesses may be investing too heavily in sales and not enough in marketing and PR because they misunderstand the importance of the independent research phase.
The best way to tear down the roadblocks put up by reluctant buyers is to provide autonomy by equipping them with extensive information and an approach that recognizes their roles as active participants who seek value, personalized experiences, and solutions that address their specific needs. This is where sales-enabled marketing and PR come into play.
Marketing and PR’s role in mitigating reluctance
Sales-enabled marketing and B2B PR are the only ways to eliminate reluctance in the buying journey, accelerate the purchasing process, and build long-term trust with customers.
Marketing addresses the customer’s pain points and is tuned to why they are reluctant. Reasons include:
- Lack of information or difficulty finding it.
- Uncertainty about one tech system over the other.
- Unanswered questions about processes, support, etc.
- An overwhelming number of options and no clear way to filter through the noise.
By providing sales teams with the tools, knowledge, and resources they need to be more effective and efficient in their roles, sales-enabled marketing encompasses a variety of solutions to these issues, fostering customer engagement necessary to close deals.
Smarketing is one sales-enabled marketing tactic that aligns business goals between sales and marketing efforts in a way that encourages long-term relationships. Through direct collaboration between sales and marketing teams, smarketing focuses on growth by improving the customer experience. A streamlined approach, smarketing anticipates customers’ needs and presents the brand’s expertise early on in the B2B buyer journey.
Equally important is sales-enabled PR, which uses these same resources to manage relationships between an organization and the public. Sales-enabled PR is fueled by consistency, time, and nurtured leads to create demand and drive revenue for the long term. As a result, PR builds credibility, establishes authority, and creates trust.
By building a strong relationship between sales, B2B marketing, and PR, businesses demonstrate their abilities to communicate effectively. This alignment also ensures buyers receive the same seamless customer experience at every step of the journey.
Building buyer trust
To build cohesion and drive growth, B2Bs must leverage the right tactics and channels to create synergy between sales, marketing, and PR teams.
Here are our top three B2B marketing and strategic PR tactics to foster collaboration across teams:
1. Get your messaging right.
Set your brand voice, identify your key differentiators, and create content regularly to provide a constant flow of information generated by your brand. Once established, turn to marketing and PR teams to deliver your messaging.
Use PR and marketing strategically to get core messaging in front of new audiences. Effective B2B marketing streamlines sales and marketing efforts by targeting specific industries and decision makers while also generating leads and identifying potential new customers.
Successful PR in B2B requires an understanding of your target audience and where they consume media. It also depends on patience. Some media outlets and stories require a lengthy relationship-building period. Others rely on an ability to quickly respond to trending topics. Both establish your brand as a reliable, helpful source of information for future media coverage.
Thought leadership is another aspect of PR that enforces your brand as trusted authority in your industry, generating more leads and resulting in more sales. Cast a wider net by contributing written articles to relevant publications, applying for awards, and submitting proposals to speak on panels.
2. Be consistent.
Not just in your messaging but in the frequency of your engagements. You should post on social media daily and blog multiple times a week. Engaging in owned media gives B2Bs control over their tone and messaging in ways PR can’t.
Although blog posts and social media provide more freedom than press hits, approach them with the same level of thoughtfulness. Use your established brand voice to share your company’s unique insights and perspectives. A steady stream of content will also show buyers your wealth of knowledge.
3. Leverage social media.
Just when you thought you had a handle on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn, a new social networking site pops up and generates buzz. Some catch on while others fizzle, so understanding the best social media sites for your brand will help you focus and avoid spending time building networks that might not make sense in the future.
In just a few short years, a global shift has taken over the digital space. TikTok is Gen Z’s Google, and social media is the new search engine. This means more and more people are relying on user-generated content to provide recommendations and information. Whether or not TikTok fits your brand, understand its impact and how to leverage it in your digital strategy. Use that information to reach your audience time and time again and add value with each interaction.
Amplify press hits on social media to build trust. Securing a press hit gets the wheel turning, but amplifying and repurposing it yields momentum. Publishing earned media in emails, social media, and across a company’s website are helpful tools in this process, allowing companies to deliver their messages to customers, employees, and the press, building trust as a result.
Overall, developing authenticity and credibility between brands and customers requires understanding the buyer journey and locating pain points along the way. Once established, B2Bs can identify where buyers might be resistant or reluctant to close a sale and step in with the right tools and resources from sales, PR, and marketing teams.
Ready to implement sales-enabled PR and marketing? Buyer-enabled strategies? Reach out today.