Last Friday, I found a post on LinkedIn from Dale Gibbons that warmed my soul - https://www.linkedin.com/posts/dalegibbons_i-was-asked-recently-how-long-a-home-page-activity-6712688720300007424-WBNQ.
In it he talks about the obsession with "counts." Whether that be second counts for a video, slide counts for a presentation, or word counts for a document. How often have you had someone comment on the length of your work---without ever looking at it?
[caption id="attachment_2603" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Photo by Castorly Stock from Pexels[/caption]
Don't get me wrong, I understand we live in an era of unprecedented distraction and short attention spans. As Dale mentions, it is about earning more attention. We call the ideal approach "Progressive Engagement"--progressively earn the right to go deeper and deeper into the story.
But, often when I talk to this, the answer comes back that people don't have time. They don't have time to research, they don't have time to think. They only have time to do.
Well, guess what. That is not a path to getting better. And, as I continue to dive deeper and deeper into our buying research it is a recipe to appeal to the mediocre.
As my last few posts have discussed, there are clear differences in buying approach and attitudes of those who are successful (achieve the value they wanted from a technology purchase) and those that are not. From those who are pessimistic and those that are not.
To put it simply, the mediocre aren't interested in putting in the work.
Are less likely to pursue a trial/POC before they buy
Consume less content
Prefer less in depth content
Seek shortcuts (only to discover that it ends up taking longer).
And while this group may be an unfortunate majority, it doesn't make sense to try to appeal to them. While on the surface they might seem like a lower effort sale, you are more likely to experience deal delays (as mentioned above) and challenges to retain and grow the business. Instead of encouraging this behavior, we should be looking for ways to make it easier for them to put in the work--like their peers that succeed.
How? Here are some ideas:
Apply Dale's guidance to content/engagement planning. Earn the right to go deeper--and be prepared to do so.
Stop making promises of how easy things are. Yes, work to make things easier and simpler, but don't imply that it is really easy or simple if it is not.
Use approaches like checklists and buyer enablement to remove the mystery from buying.
One final note, a common approach to winning initial attention is an eye opening fact or headline (for example I will paraphrase the classic from Challenger: "57% of the buying process is complete before a customer engages with a sales rep"). With the shortcut folks, you will experience conclusion jumping, misrepresenting, and misunderstanding. It is like making a buying decision solely from looking at an MQ graphic. They reflect the mediocre approach. Fight it with paths to go deeper and push for that.
Do you want to win the mediocre? Focus on guidelines that miss the point of the quality of information and the level of "progressive engagement" used.
Do you want to win with the "winners"? Expect and prepare for depth and true collaboration.
I know where I'd prefer to spend my time and resources.