An arresting Biznology article by Ruth Stevens, “How do you sell when your buyers can’t buy? Mounting dysfunction in the B2B buying process” has interesting implications for creating videos geared to the customer journey. The article recounts an interview with Brent Adamson, Principal Executive Advisor on Sales, Marketing, & Communications at Gartner. The cause of the “mounting dysfunction” Adamson identifies is the growth and complexity of buying groups, averaging 6.8 individuals (up from 5.4 just two years ago) and representing 3.4 functions.
Yikes. The probability of getting any decision drops dramatically as soon as the second member joins the buying team. And — bad news for vendors — it takes just about as long to reach a decision as it does to end the buying process by deciding not to decide. Adamson recommends trying to understand what makes it hard for the customer to buy. If you can identify the issues that prevent them from reaching agreement, if you can pinpoint when “analysis paralysis” takes hold, you may be able to offer help — a workshop, for example, or decision analysis tool.
A different kind of video for the customer journey
“When customers are considering a purchase, they receive an overwhelming amount of content from vendors. So designing information and deploying content in a way that makes buying easier can be just as powerful as prescriptive selling,” Adamson notes. Most videos, of course, are designed to prescribe what a solution is for, not to address issues that people disagree about. Marketing content, including video, designed to knock down competitors‘ claims is not unusual, of course, but I’ve seen very little content that acknowledges and seeks to resolve internal conflict. Yet, video storytelling thrives on conflict. Overcoming obstacles is essential to the “hero’s journey” structure of most storytelling in literature, film and video.
So, at the very least, next time you think about making a video, you may want to ask “what do buying committee members disagree about?” It could make a good story. At least, we plan to add it to our list of good questions to ask subject matter experts.