3 simple exercises to strengthen B2B messaging

When you want to strengthen B2B messaging, you might sit your whole team down and start throwing out your best features and benefits. You get them all on the whiteboard and start throwing them on your website and in your sales pitches.

But it’s probably not getting you the results you want because what you come up with internally isn’t from your customers’ perspective. Instead, try three simple exercises that help founders and growing tech companies come out with a strong, clear message that grabs buyers’ attention.

These exercises work in a group, but they also work just fine for founders on their own. And they’re pretty fun, too.


The “Drunk at the Party” Exercise

What if you could say it like it is? What would you say?

What would you say to your competitors, your customers and your prospects?

The “Drunk at the Party” exercise gives you permission to be controversial and polarizing with your messaging. And it will help you to home in on your unique point of view and attitude — and why you’re different.

Here’s how it goes: Imagine that you’re going to an industry party after work.

It’s a cocktail party with an open bar. It’s Thursday, you’re really looking forward to Friday, and you forgot to have lunch. All of these things together mean you feel tipsy after one drink. So you have a second and start to mingle around the room.

Now imagine in this cocktail party it is filled with your competitors — direct competitors, indirect competitors — your customers, and your ideal prospects. The people who really need what you offer.

In your state — two drinks in on an empty stomach — what do you blurt out in conversation with prospects?

What do you blurt out to customers? What do you say to your competitors? Do you do any s%!t talking? Do you shout anything? What do you say that, the next morning, you kind of regret saying? You think “I probably shouldn’t have said that.” Brainstorm all these things. Really get into that state. What would you say?

I love this exercise because it really just gives you permission to be controversial. To be polarizing. To be bold. To say it like it is. To share what you really think. Because that’s what makes a great brand — having a real unique and authentic point of view.

Try it out for yourself and then marinate on it. Ask yourself: “Could I maybe say something like this?” Chances are, you could, and it’s really going to help differentiate your brand and help you connect with prospects and customers.

Because when we try to strengthen B2B messaging, we instinctively play it safe. But the best brands — the ones that grab and hold your attention — are bold.


The “Mom Pitch” Exercise

Does your product messaging feel rambling or too complicated? Try the Mom Pitch.

Why? Because pitching your mom is an effective shortcut to simpler messaging. And it’s not about dumbing down your technology – it’s about empathizing with your audience.

I work with a lot of tech founders who are really struggling to make their product sound simpler.

So when we work together I often ask them to explain their product to me as if I were their mom and something always shifts in them and they’ll give me this really nice analogy. They’ll say something like “Oh, I tell my mom our product is like a personal assistant for salespeople” or “I tell my mom we make life less chaotic for billing departments.”

I started calling this the “mom pitch” and nine times out of 10, it would actually be more effective than what was on their website at the time. Because a mom pitch is clear, it’s simple, and it’s really easy to grasp.

So why is it so easy to make things sound simple for your mom and yet we tend to overcomplicate when it’s time to talk to our customers or prospects?

It’s because you know your mom. You know her really well. You know what she’d understand.  You know what would confuse her. And so you naturally meet your mom where she’s at with your description.

Well, the same principle actually applies to great messaging. You really want to meet your prospect where they’re at.

So if they’re not a super technical audience, you don’t want to go crazy on the technical language. If they do use certain jargon, then it might be okay to use that in your messaging.

You want to meet them where they’re at, as if they were your mom. So try the “mom pitch” – and watch what it can do to strengthen B2B messaging for your company, your product or your service.


The “Smack in the Face Challenges” Exercise

Barfing technical features with your product messaging?

You need to get out of your head and into the mind of your customer. You won’t find features or functionality there. You’ll find benefit statements and value will help you to create simpler messaging that actually resonates with your audience.

I talk to a lot of tech founders who are struggling with their messaging, and they all tell me the same thing: “Emma I feel like I’m just barfing out technical features.”

You wouldn’t believe how much I hear people equate their messaging attempts with vomiting. But it makes a lot of sense. It’s a natural reflex to dive straight into the technical details and really get stuck on how it works.

This is where the “Smack-in-the-Face Challenges” exercise comes in.

Think about your customer and think about their “smack-in-the-face” challenges as it relates to your product.

This is a pain, a need, a challenge, an annoyance. Something that is just *so* obvious to customers because they live it every day.

For example, I worked with a founder who is creating a new database for distributed teams and one of the smack-in-the-face challenges that his customer had was “spreadsheet hell.”

When he would talk about spreadsheet hell, his prospect would nod their head and say they felt like that all the time. When he started kind of connecting the dots between his product and how it could solve spreadsheet hell, people got interested.

So get a piece of paper and write down as many smack-in-the-face challenges that your customer has in relation to your product.

Challenge yourself to get really specific — use the kind of language that they use. Get it all down. Once you do, try to turn each challenge into a benefit statement that shows how your product solves that specific challenge.

It doesn’t have to be perfect. But at the end of it you’ll have a list of benefit statements that look completely different from what you would naturally come up with on your own as the founder. 

And that’s actually a good thing because these statements are going to be rooted in the customer’s mind. That really is the key to effective messaging that resonates — it’s got to come from the customer perspective.

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