Buyers are talking to colleagues, searching on the internet and reading over websites and sales and marketing materials far before the provider gains awareness that an opportunity exists.
In an effort to communicate all of the many technical competencies of their company and products, providers produce very descriptive sales and marketing materials – in high volume. This results in information overload.
Buyers find it challenging to sift through to understand the provider’s specific relevance and value to them. If they can’t tell you apart from others, they’ll no longer consider buying from you.
Gartner consistently sees a pattern of common messaging mistakes that span many technology providers.
Mistake 1: Targeting everyone
A fundamental component of business success is to understand your target customer. Very few offerings meet the needs of every business, regardless of size, industry, geography, culture or process.
Yet a significant number of providers claim they do. By trying to appeal to everyone, you often appeal to no one.
Embrace the power of focus. Even if your product or service genuinely has broad applicability, prioritise the types of companies according to who will benefit most and tailor your approach to appeal to them.
Mistake 2: Communication overload
Many providers feel compelled to reveal every feature of their product or service in excruciating detail or present a long list of possible situations and uses. Most customers don't have the time or patience to figure out what matters to them.
Get straight to the main point: how you can address their needs. Your job is to make the buying process easier for buyers, rather than adding to their workload.
Mistake 3: Empty claims
Buyers are often sceptical of providers’ claims, particularly if they’ve experienced projects or products that didn’t meet expectations.
Despite this, many providers make strong, bold claims without any validation – "the best," "the leading," “the experts” or "the only."
Keep it real. Don't make claims that aren’t backed by evidence, ideally from independent third parties. Promote case studies and customer references as much as possible as a proof of your company's value.
Mistake 4: Missing comparisons
Many providers talk about themselves as though they’re totally unique and there’s nothing out there like them. In reality, this type of messaging makes it more difficult for a prospect to figure out what your company actually does. This will eventually lead to the buyer disqualifying you.
Start with the problem that you solve. Expose the gap between your approach and the existing approaches to solving that problem.
Help audiences to transpose their knowledge and understanding of a familiar situation or problem-solving approach to the issue that your offering addresses.
Mistake 5: Exclusive self-focus
Providers love describing their products in detail — it's what you know best. Self-centred product messages, however, don't engage or give a customer a reason to contact you.
Buyers don't really care about your product architecture when they’re first deciding whether they even want to talk to you. They care about what they’re trying to achieve and how to fix their problems.
The right time to dive into technical architectural specifications is once the client decides to engage and ask you for more information.
Be explicit about the value a prospect will receive from every action or engagement with you. Will you advise them on how you can help lower costs? Will you provide a complimentary assessment that will help them progress their project? What will you provide that your competitors won't?
Avoid these mistakes, and you’ll much less likely be disqualified by prospective buyers.