An End to Generic Benefits in B2B

Recently, I copied a client’s existing benefits bullets from its web site, and scrambled them up with its competitors’ benefits, and made one long, alphabetized list. The client couldn’t identify which benefits came from its own content and which was the competitive stuff. It all looked the same.

If you’ve read my articles on Benefits vs Features in the B2B world (here’s one) you know my bias against the generic benefits blather many (most?) B2B companies spill. The notion that our markets need to be told about the benefits of a product category is fundamentally flawed.

B2B markets buy the way the average consumer buys a car. It’s a major investment. Few of us get up in the morning and on the way to the golf course decide we’ll stop to pick up a little Maybach. We think about it long and hard.

When we go the dealerships, we already know what a car does. We’d be stunned if the salesperson started to talk about how it gets us from here to there faster than walking, or that it goes forward and backward, or that it can play music while you drive. We know all that. What we want to know is:

1. Why is this Ford better than that Honda?

2. Why is this dealership better than Across the Street Motors?

The first of those is a features question, pure and simple. From gas mileage to seat warmers to autopark: a features game all the way.

The second is the benefits issue. Not the benefits of the car, but the benefits of the business. Their services. Their warranties. Their personality. Benefits statements specific to that company, not generic to that car.

This is how B2B operates. When someone shows interest in a B2B product, they know what it does and why it has value. That’s why they’re talking to you. They want to know why your product is better than someone else’s (the features) and why your company is a better one to do business with (the benefits).

Take a look at your own benefits statements.

Are you telling your marketplace that your cars go forward and backward?

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