How the world has changed. Yet, how things remain the same. One thing remaining the same is the gap. And, how the gap is filled.
What Is The Gap?
Customers and buyers, no matter the market or industry, are in constant motion to fill the gap. You see, they have a gap between what is currently happening and what they desire to happen. This happens on many levels. For consumers, the gap can be quite urgent. If your car broke down on a deserted highway, you will have an urgent need to fill the gap. A car engine running will do just fine.
For B2B customers, the gap can look murky. There is a need to accomplish or resolve something. Sometimes, the path to get there is not so clear. Or, the path is clear but how to traverse it difficult. The gap from where they currently are to where they want to be can look daunting.
The Customer’s Dilemma
This is the dilemma for customers and buyers. How to fill the gap between their current situations unfulfilled to an ideal situation fulfilled is the driving force. The dilemma is how to fill this gap with a bridge to an ideal situation, as opposed to a bridge to nowhere. Usually, when customers and buyers begin searching for help, they are searching to fill their gap.
Are You A Gap Filler?
Most organizations today, both buying and selling, are struggling to get a clear sense of how to fill gaps. Buyers struggle to articulate exactly the gap they have. Sellers struggle to articulate how they can best fill gaps. The wave of technology and social change swirling around buyers and sellers today means gaps are moving and changing as well. Making it harder for articulation.
Why am I waxing on about the gap in a philosophical bent you ask? You see, if you in marketing and sales leadership do not see yourself as a gap filler today, then you just might fall through the bottom of the gap. Never to be seen or heard again by a particular customer or prospect.
There is a tendency to get caught up today in terms like content marketing, social selling, insight selling, and more. Making it too easy to focus on how to do things better but have us missing the purpose of helping customers fill their gaps.
How Can I Be A Gap Filler?
In simplistic terms, sellers must enable buyers to see their gaps being filled. Without this vision, buyers are reluctant to commit to an unclear path to an ideal situation they desire. How can you then provide this vision and be a gap filler? Here are 3 ways you can be a gap filler:
Focus on Buyer Goals
Goals are a powerful force. We are, at one time or another, driven by our goals. Many companies today do not understand the goals of their buyers very well. One way to understand is to use buyer insight research. The core essence of buyer insight research and buyer personas is to understand buyer goals. The aim is to clearly understand the gap of how buyers are attempting to achieve their goals and the ideal ways they desire to achieve their goals.
This means everything. There are three things you must do to understand buyer goals:
- Understand what this gap is in terms of goals
- Help buyers to see what their gap is and how big it may be to reach their goals
- Help buyers see how you can help them fill the gap and get them to achieve their goals
Thus, understanding goal-directed buying behavior today is everything. Marketing and Sales leaders today need to become experts in understanding buyer goals.
Focus On The Scenario Not The Process
Buyers today could care less if you know about their buying process or buyer journey. Do not get me wrong. They care about you helping them be more efficient in buying. More so, helping them on their path-to-purchase. But, it really does not matter unless you can clearly articulate how their gap in fulfilling goals will be filled. I have a hunch most selling organization, due to not having enough knowledge about the gaps buyers have in achieving their goals, gravitate towards tunnel vision on process.
What selling companies need to get is how does the unfulfilling of goals play out in companies today. What are the scenarios, which leads to goals being unfulfilled and cause organizations seeking to get them filled. Buying process is more about how to buy efficiently, not necessarily about helping us understand the full story and scenarios of goals going unfulfilled. Marketing and Sales leaders need to get this difference.
Focus On Buyer Foresight
Insight. Insight. Insight. We have been hearing plenty about insight. So much so, we may be up to a thousand and one definitions of insight. And, there is much lost in translation. The purpose of insight is to help us translate. We seek to gain insight into the gap in goal fulfillment, which exists for customers and buyers. What do we do with this insight? We must translate it in such a way, it helps both sellers and buyers gain foresight into how gaps can be filled. Marketing and Sales leaders need not stop short of the goal of insight , which is to turn insight into foresight.
While we can all get caught up in the swirl of technology, buzzwords, recasting of old concepts, and much more, it is important to not lose sight of our purpose. Our purpose is to help buyers fulfill and achieve their goals. Without this ability, sellers are not aligned purposefully with buyers. Perhaps for Marketing and Sales leaders today, it comes down to two words, which describes your purpose: gap filler.
(Every once and a while you need to think philosophically. This is one of those times. Schedule time with me and a conversation to help you gain more insight into how to fulfill the goals of buyers today. I am very interested in getting your thoughts and perspectives as well as philosophy on the importance of understanding buyer goals. Please share widely – your peers and colleagues are trying to know the goals of their buyers.)