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Need leads? Target your buyers based on their view of the problem

Marketers who find it frustrating to source qualified leads might be surprised to learn that buyers are equally frustrated about sourcing qualified solutions. Assuming you’re marketing a product that solves a pervasive problem (a topic for another post), there is no shortage of buyers who are currently looking for your solution – provided that it matches that buyer’s specific definition of the problem.

Following is a true account of a recent interview . . .

The owner of a large printing company describes her need for an accounting system that can track her orders, from quotation through manufacturing and billing. She says the system would need to be customized with codes for the materials that are unique to her type of printing business. She currently has separate systems for bidding jobs, materials management, billing and accounting. Without an integrated system she can’t track the profitability of individual orders.

She doesn’t know where to begin. I suggest a web search but she doesn’t know what keywords to use. The websites she does find are talking about ERP, cloud computing and software-as-a-service. What does that mean, she asks . . .

Your target buyers may be far more astute than this example, but listen carefully to their stories and you’ll hear that they never trusted the vendors’ sales and marketing pitches. If we honestly consider the confusing array of options that confront our buyers, we might agree that it’s reasonable for them to default to the solutions their peers recommend, or live with the problems they already know.

Just imagine the buyer’s reaction upon learning about a solution that is a perfect match for his decision criteria. Think about the trust that would accrue to the vendor whose sales and marketing resources deliver unambiguous answers to the buyers’ questions at every step in the buying process.

Marketers who want to generate leads need to rethink their approach to targeting and messaging. Why debate the merits of email, social media, or other marketing tactics if we can’t ensure that our actions accurately address the target buyer’s needs, perceptions and concerns?

Aprimo is sponsoring a free webinar series on lead generation. They invited me to deliver the July 21 session, “Defining your Target Audience: Why demographics are insufficient — and how to succeed with a buyer-centric strategy.”  I hope you’ll join me to learn more about how to generate leads by discovering and answering your buyer’s questions.

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