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Benefits Versus Features: B2B Selling in the Age of the Informed Customer

Benefits Versus Features: B2B Selling in the Age of the Informed Customer

Do customers really care about your product’s features?

Will a customer buy from you if you gave them a rundown of all the bells and whistles of your solution?

You probably know the answer. No.

The industry adage is that features tell, benefits sell.

In B2B selling, prospects are looking for solutions that would improve their business’s performance. They are not looking for the product with the most features, they’re looking for a solution that would benefit them most.

The difference between benefits and features

Many salespeople don’t thoroughly understand the difference between benefits and features. This lack of understanding can cost businesses a great deal of revenue. In today’s world of consultative selling and the informed buyer, those who can sell based on benefits win. Well, that said, what is the difference between features and benefits?

Most businesses engaged in B2B sales will have a product with a wide range of capabilities. These businesses take pride in the bevy of functionalities their solution possesses. This poses a problem for sales and marketing. Sales and marketing professionals are so attached to the features or the specific details about functionality, special characteristics, and other ways to describe the product objectively that they lead in with these details when talking to prospects or creating marketing materials.

They are focusing on features when they should be focused on benefits. Benefits answer this question: What can this feature do to help the prospect? How will the customer benefit from this feature? These are often expressed in time saved, revenue generated or lessened risk.

Leading with benefits

Some salespeople think that once they tell the prospects about features, the prospect will automatically make the logical connection and realize the corresponding benefit.

Don’t leave this up to the customer. This is your money pot–exactly what you should be harping on. Especially for technical features, there’s a big chance that your customer won’t be interested in the slightest if they’re just hearing about functionalities and not actual benefits.

So, when selling, lead with the benefit. Make sure it is a benefit the prospect cares about. If you’re able to deliver quantifiable increases in revenue, lead with that. Next, you emphasize the advantage. This is simply how you can deliver better benefits than your competitors. The customer may be interested in what gives you this advantage, this is the time to talk a bit about your features that deliver the particular advantage.

Actionable techniques

If selling through benefits hasn’t been your practice, it takes a bit of effort to keep yourself focused and ensure you’re taking the right steps.

Before talking about the specifics of your product, your first mission should be digging deep into what your customer’s challenges and needs are. Make the prospect tell you what these are. If they’re not quick to volunteer the details, ask them about the specific problems that your product addresses. Ask them if they’ve been experiencing these challenges. Only at this point can you tell them that you have a solution to their problems.

When you get to discussing the solutions, make sure you quantify the benefits your product will deliver. Pull out the big guns and talk about existing clients who are experiencing these benefits. Customers love hearing about revenue growth so if you have testimonials mentioning that, make sure to take advantage.

When these things have been laid and set, make sure you are ready to differentiate yourself from your competitors. It should be clear to the prospect why they’d buy from you and not from another vendor. Make your answer as quantifiable and specific as possible. The more convincing points you can provide, the better.

Features versus benefits

Focusing on benefits instead of dishing out features is hard work–but it gives you the best chances of success as you go from phone call to phone call. It’s so easy to talk about the nitty gritty of your product’s features, industry jargon, and acronyms. It’s difficult to take the time to get to know your customers and find out how exactly your product can help them.

Nothing is easy in sales. The hard work, however, does pay off.

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Aki Merced

Aki Merced

Aki Merced writes about B2B sales and marketing as a content marketer for Tenfold. Follow her on Twitter @akimerced!

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