Path To B2B Starts By Emulating B2C
But what about businesses selling green products to other businesses? Automotive and truck manufacturers selling hybrid and electric vehicles. Office equipment manufacturers? Green building services? The list goes on and on.
If one of the biggest barriers to consumer green product adoption is the price premium, the same and more is true for businesses buying green products, where price multiples can reach two and three. How do you convince a purchasing agent who is handcuffed to a limited budget and a mandate to extract value to spend more on a product that most likely cuts into an organization's profit margin?
Surprise, surprise ... the path starts by emulating consumer green marketers who have already found success and by relying on B2B marketing fundamentals.
First and foremost, you have to be honest about your green promise. Be genuine and don't overstate the impact your product will have on an organization's greenness. In many cases, the product you are selling is a small portion of a company's overall green initiative -- not a major game changer.
More importantly, don't lose sight of the fact that green is only one of your product's attributes. Businesses are not going to buy on green alone; they need to know that your product meets or exceeds their core functional needs, or is at least better than the less-green alternatives.
We have a client who is introducing an electric delivery vehicle and, while eco-friendly is part of the positioning, it is not the sole focus. Our client smartly realized the need to balance all of the product attributes and landed on "Made for the Planet, Built for Business." This platform allows us to easily promote the superior functional attributes that make the truck a better business decision and also support the emotional appeal of contributing to a company's corporate green initiatives.
With more companies establishing sustainability policies and allocating portions of their operating budgets to green spend, the sales process is continuing to evolve. The typical purchasing agents are sharing seats at the table with sustainability officers, which further complicates a typically fractured consideration and purchase process.
It is common for B2B marketers to cater to multiple influencer groups with unique contact strategies and message platforms. Acknowledge the influence the sustainability office has on the ultimate purchase decision and cater your messages to its priorities.
Our electric truck client decided the sustainability office is the catalyst to get its product into the consideration set. Initially, its message skews, "Made for the Planet" and as the process progresses and other influencers are engaged, the message evolves to, "Built for Business."
As more businesses start to market green products to other businesses, the successful will separate from the pack by remembering B2B fundamentals and heeding lessons learned from consumer marketers.