Developing truly great messaging and communicating it to an audience is tough work for any business, but for B2B technology companies it’s especially hard. That’s because, unlike a new car or household product that is used every day, a novel or disruptive technology may not be as easily understood or have as much context. You’re building meaning from the ground up.
That said, plenty of companies have done it with great success. All it takes is the right approach. That starts with understanding the top challenges that can crop up, which is what we’ll focus on in this blog.
Explaining a complex technology
Many B2B technology companies create messaging for ‘insiders’: experts in a specific field that know the technologies and space intimately. Obviously, this audience already has command of the technical nomenclature involved. But they usually aren’t your main buyers. You need to target business decision makers and other people outside of your specific space, meaning you have to ‘translate’ what you do, what you’re selling and how it solves their problems.
In those cases, avoiding jargon is a must. The best messaging always speaks the language of the customer. And the truth is, even technical experts appreciate simplicity and clarity when they’re trying to get their heads around a new offering. The less work they have to do to understand what you’re about, the better.
…avoiding jargon is a must. The best messaging always speaks the language of the customer.
So can you talk about your product or solution without sinking into the weeds of engineering-speak? What does it really mean for people? The more work you do up front to boil it down in a plain and easy-to-understand way, the more effective your messages will be in the marketplace.
To help people ‘get’ the concept, try drawing parallels between your offering and other technologies that are already understood. They may not be exactly the same, but any adjacency helps bridge the gaps and speeds up how quickly your audience grasps what you want them to.
Most importantly, as I indicated above, you need to explain how your complex technology solves the buyer’s problem. Especially early on in the buyer journey, at the top of the funnel, “What can you do for me?” matters way more than, “How does it work?”
Making sure you don’t sound like everyone else
While there are advantages to saying, “Our solution is like such-and-such,” the disadvantage is that people may automatically think, “Oh, you’re just like that other thing,” and discount your unique value proposition. It’s a delicate balance, setting a frame of reference so people know what you’re talking about and at the same time making sure you stand out.
The key is to focus on where and how your solution is different. What makes it unique? Why is it better? What does it do that no one else can offer? Once you identify these key attributes, you can emphasize them in your messaging.
An effective formula is to say, “Our product is like so-and-so,” which everyone instantly understands, “but it’s specifically designed to solve problem Y in a better way because of these unique traits.” BUT is a powerful word here as it helps the buyer understand how you are different.
BUT is a powerful word here as it helps the buyer understand how you are different.
And remember, as you explain what sets you apart, keep using language that’s simple and clear and as non-technical as possible. Also take the time to translate each of your product’s features into benefits for the customer. That will resonate more and can be powerful way to approach message development.
With all new technologies, the market changes quickly, and competitors are trying to figure out their messaging, too. The minute you go out with yours, somebody else is going to be saying something different and new, and you’ll get internal pressure to update your messaging to say the same thing.
While it’s tempting to jump on the bandwagon of new terminology, be careful. Chasing new shiny objects breaks your focus and can undo the good work you’ve already done to get your unique messages right.
You also don’t want some people in your organization using their own messaging because they’re trying to be trendy. Everyone needs to stick to the script, and if you’ve been diligent and disciplined in creating it, have faith it’s saying the right things. Inconsistency can have a far worse impact than being uncool.
Put yourself on the customer side of the situation. They are trying to figure out if your solution is right for them, but every time they go to the website it says something different about the product, and none of the salespeople sound like they’re telling the same story. At a minimum, the buyer will come away unsure, and in the worst case, they will start to feel distrustful.
That’s why you need to ensure everyone in your organization understands the messaging you’ve developed and uses it when they are talking about your solution. Of course, from time to time you will need to update your messaging, but those changes need to be considered carefully and not made so frequently as to leave the audience wondering if your product is still the right one for them.
That’s why you need to ensure everyone in your organization understands the messaging you’ve developed and uses it when they are talking about your solution.
Be confident and compelling
Following a well-defined structure to create your messaging ensures you are thinking about your story in a way your audience will understand, stands out from the competition, and can be used by everyone in your organization.
We’ll be covering more on how to do this over the coming weeks, including additional blogs, videos, a webinar and the first Zinc Academy course, so stay tuned on my socials for more.