Friday, June 11, 2010

Everyone Wants a Discount!

How many times have we bought something and then realized we could of gotten it cheaper? The avoidance of this pain and embarrassment is what typically fuels our need for discounts, often more than the need to actually save money.

In B2B, many sales reps rely on discounts near the end of the sales cycle as a way of getting stalled leads to take action. For example, it’s the end of the quarter, they are close to making quota but need more sales on the books quickly to make their bonus.

Many marketers however realize that as soon as the “D” word is mentioned, it immediately changes the game. The buying decision process moves from a pragmatic, long-term needs-based evaluation, to a short-term emotional decision. And while the sales rep is happy he/she's made the sale, C-levels need certain margins to keep the Exec Team happy. Isn’t there a way to make the sale and keep the margins higher?

SiriusDecisions recently offered this advice:

  •  Avoid turning to financial levers and discounts too quickly and look at “information voids” which may be causing deals to stall.
  • Try leveraging tools such as online savings calculators, gap templates and feature/functionality side-by-side comparisons as stimulus offers, which successfully match the needs of the prospect.
By delivering these types of assets at the right time, you will help satisfy the emotional needs of the lead by proving that your product/service will solve their problem and eliminate their pain. If you don’t have these assets, create them ASAP.

Eliminating long-term pain (right solution) is far more valuable than eliminating short-term pain (right price) and the better your assets are at communicating this, the further down the funnel your leads will go, and usually the more loyal they will become.

BTW: Offering a discount too soon is often more harmful as it raises several concerns to a potential buyer:

  1.  “I don’t even know if I want your product/service yet, why are you already offering me a discount?”
  2. “Now that you’ve given me a discount, what else can I get?"
Apple doesn’t do discounts. You want an iPad? iPhone? MacBook Pro? You will pay retail for it – but it offers a proven long-term solution.

Apple has done a great job training consumers that retail is the price everyone pays. There are no discounts to be had. Still, despite this, Apple managed so sell over 2 million iPads in less than the first 2 months since its release.

Updated 5-8-12
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 Steve Kellogg

-Demand Generation/Marketing Automation Consultant, Astadia
-Eloqua Certified Marketing Best Practices Consultant

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