Industrial B2B copywriters like me have always bought into the whole power-of-storytelling thing because most industrial buying decisions fall neatly into the three bits that make up pretty much every story.
So, if you sell or supply anything like enterprise software, industrial components, commercial machinery, or similar large-scale investments, the following tale is going to sound familiar. And in order to sell your products or services into these hectic B2B environments, your copywriter will need to know this story too.
The industrial B2B decision-making progress usually kicks-off with someone in a factory/project site/office/retail outlet getting a bit annoyed about how something in their daily working life was just not going as well as it could. Or they reckon that something really good could happen if all the pieces were in place (let’s call them Jim & Jane).
And Jane and Jim might even be getting a little stick from bosses and various busy-bodies (aka stakeholders) about this very situation. Sure, everyone was working hard, and being professional but it was felt they were lacking a certain something…some system…some methodology… some machine that could make life just a whole lot easier or more profitable.
One day lots of people gather in a room with Jane and Jim, and after some light-hearted arguing, finger-blaming (that’s a thing), score-settling, and a heap of positivity and vision, they figure out what the problem is. Now they just need someone who can do the stuff or sell them the thing to solve the problem.
Now to your copywriter…
Most importantly your copywriter really, really, really needs to know Jane and Jim, and needs to know who’s in this room, what their job is, and why the thing that needs fixing is such a big deal for each of them. If you’re helping this industrial buyer make a change for the better, they need to be sure you know what you’re talking about.
And for the stuff they don’t know, they want and need to self-educate. Great content like topical whitepapers based on insightful research will both educate and reassure.
At this stage, keep in mind that Jane and Jim are already having the conversation so you’re just joining in.
A little further down the line, some of the same people sit down again for another meeting at the factory/project site/office/retail outlet with Jane and Jim. Everyone now knows the problem and roughly what they need to fix it. And this thinking usually progresses into something a bit more formal like a product-specifications document.
Jane and Jim are then tasked with finding a supplier and ultimately working with the in-house procurement team to get it done – and are given a nice title to make up for the extra hours and existential angst.
In the coming weeks and months, this lucky duo will regularly bump into very senior people in corridors, lifts, and that place down the street with the great lunch deal – where they’ll be jokingly reminded that this new project is a major investment and only an outstanding result is acceptable. But their bosses ain’t really joking.
Jane and Jim are usually specialists in their field, with years of experience in solving serious organisational problems every day but they still need help. They set about developing a list of suppliers by talking to lots of people, and checking out websites, product reviews, case studies, white papers and consuming lots of information as they do.
Using their experience, expertise, and judgement, Jane and Jim are expected to find a supplier who can provide the best solution possible to enormously high standards. No pressure then. ..Gulp.
Back to your copywriter…
You need to make damn sure all your marketing materials and content clearly shows that you understand the situation Jane and Jim are in and how you, as the supplier, are in a position to help. Compelling web content and product brochures that focus on how the product fixes the big problem… well now is their time to shine…!
Everyone’s back in the boardroom and we have a shortlist! Research has been going on for a good while now. Jane and Jim understand the problem inside-out and desperately want a supplier to jump in, get it done and let them get back to their normal working life.
In the meantime, bosses hover conspicuously around their cubicle and wonder aloud why certain suppliers didn’t make the list. For people at the centre of a major buying or investment project, it can feel like everyone has an opinion.
Nerves are frazzled…..Jane has given up smoking to specifically avoid the opinionated production manager indulging his 20-a day habit in the alley beside the logistics bay (Every cloud…). Jim has taken up smoking again. Every meeting starts with a hopeful smile and ends with a supportive glance. Stress is building… Does anyone else think it’s hot in here?
Industrial buying is not easy and your copywriter must get that. If you’re supplying a product or service, you need to make this buying process just a bit easier for Jane and Jim and people just like them. Content that can illustrate how you have helped other buyers in very similar situations demonstrates empathy and understanding – and most importantly, you’re reassuring your particular Jane and Jim that there’s light at the end of tunnel. For example, a well written case study can do just that.
And then it’s over
A supplier is chosen (you, ideally). The solution is implemented. Jane and Jim can now go back to their regular busy working lives. The problem is fixed.
A good writer knows every step of the industrial buying process and prepares and writes copy and content that hits home at each and every stage.
To make a long story short, if you sell production equipment, enterprise software or hardware, industrial machinery, or any large-scale B2B solution, you better make sure your writer is someone who knows the tale of the industrial buying decision …and knows it really well.