Nuisance or Partner: How will your message land?

The Buyer Engagement Spectrum is a straight-forward way to assess where your sales engagements are hitting the wall. Are you a nuisance speaking to generic problems, i.e. “In these unprecedented times…”? Or, do you offer a point of view, one so unique a buyer is willing to take action?

In part 1 of the series, we introduced the Buyer Engagement Spectrum. Here’s the big takeaway: your message can result in 1 of 2 buyer actions: delete or do.

A reminder of the Buyer Engagement Spectrum is provided below.

Diagram 1: Buyer Engagement Spectrum

Assess Buyer Engagement Potential with the Buyer Engagement Scorecard

In part 2, we take a look at a simple way for you to assess where your organization is on the Buyer Engagement Spectrum. We call this the Buyer Engagement Scorecard. To simplify, the scorecard is also on a 5 point scale. These 5 areas make the difference between the buyer deleting, or doing. Let’s take a look at each of these categories.

Buyer Engagement Scorecard

1. Leads with the buyer’s high priority business goals/challenges

Contrary to common belief, even the best sellers can’t sell ice to eskimos. This old way of thinking contradicts what we know about B2B selling in today’s world. Buyers are busier than ever and don’t have time to waste on engaging with you or your company, unless there is a high priority item that’s burning a hole in their pocket, right now! There are an endless amount of tips out there on how to grab a buyer’s attention. But nothing is as effective as sticking with the basics — hone in on what the buyer cares about most.

2. Offers a unique point of view to address the business goals/challenges

As it turns out, finding a buyer or company’s top priorities is easier than ever utilizing LinkedIn, company website, annual report, news, and more. So that means other smart sellers are approaching your buyer to address the very same issue. What differentiates you is not that you have stated the problem, but that you have offered a unique point of view on how the problem can be solved.

3. Aligns product/service value proposition to unique point of view

The large majority of buyers do not have the time/patience/ability to connect your “product pitch” with their challenges. There are always exceptions where you show up, lead with your product capabilities, and a light bulb goes off in her/his head. But these are just that, the exception. Don’t model your sales motion for this niche buyer. But if you’ve set the stage properly, go ahead and showcase the capabilities of your solution as proof that you can help solve their challenges. But the best proof often aren’t demos/screenshots. They are customer stories — centered on that customer’s problem, how you solved it, and the quantitative/qualitative outcomes.

4. Adapted the message for the appropriate stage of the buyer journey

Have you ever dialed in to support, been passed around to multiple agents, and had to re-explain your challenge each time. The icing on the cake is when they each give you the same “solution”, that you’ve already tried to no avail. That’s the same frustration a buyer feels in a disjointed buyer journey. There’s no shortcut here. The hard work has to be done to bring marketing, sales, and success on the same page. To further illustrate how difficult this can be, even within these teams, you often see a lack of orchestration (field marketing vs. product marketing, inbound/outbound lead development reps vs sales executives, professional services vs. customer success managers). Who or what team in your organization owns the buyer journey?

5. Enabled to deliver this message in context of my job

The ability of your teams to execute their job successfully utilizing the above framework is where the rubber meets the road. Programmatically training, certifying, and measuring the outcomes must be embedded into the operational rigor of your company. This operational rigor is what enables companies to scale effectively while consistently over-performing.

Your ability to deliver against these 5 points ultimately determines the level of buyer engagement and the buyer action — do or delete. Let’s analyze 2 real life examples from well known technology firms through the lens of the scorecard.

Real Life Example #1

The first example is a 3 part email outreach sequence. The intent of this email sequence is to get a prospect to take a meeting. See the series below.

For the purpose of this analysis, the name of this company has been hidden. But even the best known brands can falter when it comes to creating compelling buyer engagement. Let’s examine this campaign through the scorecard.

Scoring Email Outreach from Technology Firm

Ouch! The score speaks for itself. There’s no PoV on how to solve the issue, no mention of other customers as proof points, a relatively generic statement about the value of the solution, and this seller failed to create a compelling enough communication to get a meeting. Perhaps the most important thing to note: if you don’t set up the business goals/challenges from the start (#1 in the scorecard), you start from a deficit.

Real Life Example #2

The second example comes from another well known brand in the technology industry, ServiceNow. This time, we take a look at the updates to website messaging. The messaging addresses the challenges of managing the workforce during this current pandemic. Take a look at this page from their website.

So how did they do? Below is their score.

Is it obvious? We picked examples to illustrate the 2 opposite ends of the engagement spectrum. In the ServiceNow example, they clearly state managing emergency response is a major challenge for organizations. The subtle, but very effective PoV is that “digital workflows simplify complexity…” The emergency response apps below that statement support this PoV. In addition, a customer proof point is provided showcasing the value. It’s clear the creators of this page had the capabilities to successfully execute a highly engaging buyer experience.

Landing the Right Message Is the Difference Between Delete or Do

Companies continue to spend billions of dollars on marketing and sales programs designed to generate more leads/opportunities and accelerate opportunities down the funnel, only to be disappointed by the outcomes. With an average of 306.4 billion business emails (Migomail, March 2020) it is almost impossible to get noticed. That is why 75% of everything you send is ignored. And when they are read, 50% aren’t considered useful (Adobe 2019). Add the increasing bandwidth and budget constraints due to the global pandemic, and the numbers only get worse. This is why most people aren’t just deleting your emails, they are actively blocking or unsubscribing to them. As such, the ONLY way to drive Buyer Engagement is to focus on what they care about most…their business and their business outcomes.

Stop being a nuisance and let’s land with the message that drives true buyer engagement.

This is guest post by John Hsieh, Janet Gerhard and Michael Hvisdos. They engage organizations in optimizing their customer acquisition, retention, and growth motions. Reach out for a fresh perspective on how your sales, marketing, and customer success teams can create a unified focus that pushes your team to reach their maximum effectiveness levels. They can be contacted at