Using Differentiated, Customized Solutions to Gain Trust and Stand Out from the Competition

To reach more consumers and stay ahead of the competition, you have to build trust and offer customized, differentiated solutions to buyers.

Using Differentiated, Customized Solutions to Gain Trust and Stand Out from the Competition.

Marcus Sheridan, keynote speaker at the 2022 PIMA Summer Insights Conference, shared valuable information about exciting opportunities opening up in the sales and marketing space. Are you prepared for them?

As noted by Sheridan, buyers have become extremely educated, and most potential customers complete 80% of the buyers’ journey before even speaking with salespeople. For a frame of reference, this figure would have been 20% in 1997 when email rose in popularity. Today, consumers are more impatient and want to make purchases faster and more easily, which is why they travel through the marketing funnel at a breakneck pace.

Furthermore, marketing is the new sales. When it comes to which department of an organization has a greater impact on sales and revenue, it’s often thought to be the sales department. In fact, when an organization is trying to grow in difficult times, its leaders often hire salespeople and cut marketing expenditures. 

This approach is counterintuitive, however, because marketing and sales are becoming interchangeable. This is especially important given that another trend is the move toward seller-free sales. About one-third of all buyers would prefer to have a seller-free experience, and almost half of Millennial buyers have the same preference. Put simply, buyers want to purchase products and services on their terms.

How to Gain Trust Using Differentiation

As sales and marketing become interchangeable, new opportunities to reach customers and outdo competitors are becoming more obvious. The success of these opportunities, however, hinges on gaining audience trust.

To do so, try selling with a customized solution in mind for each potential buyer. This requires an understanding of their needs and pain points that competitors are not addressing. Here are specific ways your company can outperform competitors and reach audiences where they are using customized, differentiated solutions:

1. Conduct an honest audit.
Every so often, company leaders can set aside time to stop and ask, “How are we really doing?” Specifically, what is your company putting out there, and how are you reaching

If you are focusing on the same topics as all your competitors and discussing them on social media, your website, and other channels, you likely won’t set yourself apart. Instead, try focusing on a relevant topic that 95% of others in your industry are not talking about. That’s how you can break through the noise, occupy a space, and gain the trust of potential buyers.

2. Show potential buyers what others won’t.
Did you know that as many as 71% of B2B marketers use video marketing to engage audiences and sell products and services? Over the last several years, video marketing has exploded as a way to tell brand stories and show transparency with current and potential customers.

Be honest: Are you talking about your products and services more than you are showing them? Educated buyers are not only further along the marketing funnel, but they are also
more skeptical. They want to see products in action beyond static images. This provides marketers an opportunity to tell stories with video and show rather than tell. After all, seeing is believing.

3. Don't be an ostrich.
The pandemic fundamentally changed today's consumers. before the pandemic, customers felt less pressured by market conditions and made purchases on more relaxed timelines. After the start of the pandemic, however, consumers made purchases more quickly in response to extended periods of isolation, a contagious disease, and economic uncertainty.

In short, COVID-19 inspired a sense of buyer urgency that many company leaders had never experienced before. To adequately respond to this shift, it’s important to
recognize that these changes might never go away. You can’t just stick your head in the sand and pretend that people won’t be forever changed. Instead, seize the opportunity to respond to the changes and embrace a new approach.

As you know, audiences are comparing you to your competitors every day. Distinguish your company by offering customized, differentiated solutions for each buyer. All they
want to know is how you are different from everyone else in your industry. It might seem uncomfortable to try a new sales approach at first, but discomfort often inspires growth.

Sure, your competitors might feel comfortable doing things as they’ve always been done, but your goal should be to highlight your differences. Once you can illustrate how your company stands out from others, your marketing and sales teams can more effectively work together to surpass the competition and achieve long-term growth in a changing consumer landscape.

Stay abreast of other industry trends and gain insights from other great speakers, such as Marcus Sheridan, by attending a PIMA conference.

Published on November, 2, 2022.

PIMA® (Professional Insurance Marketing Association®) is a member-driven trade association focused exclusively on the affinity market.