With deal velocity grinding down and CFOs resuming their CFNo posture, it is little wonder that marketers are fixated on the old recession-busting trope: “Speed-to-Value.” The notion here is that if you can just convince CFOs that your product or service can deliver cost savings in 3-6 months—or better yet, increase revenue at >3x your cost in less than a year—then all objections will disappear and deals will get done.
There are two big problems with “Speed-to-Value.” First, most brands find it incredibly hard to prove without spending big money on third-party validators. Second, even if you can prove “Speed-to-Value,” it ignores the non-rational aspects of purchase decisions, especially for the end user who just wants to be recognized for a job well done. Instead, we propose you focus on “Speed-to-Hero” with these seven recession-busting steps.
Adopt a Help-First Mindset
At the beginning of the pandemic, uncertainty reigned. Savvy leaders called their customers and asked empathetically “How are you doing? and “How can we help?” Some offered these customers flexible payment options that spurred unprecedented loyalty. Why not revisit that help-first approach and call your customers again? Perhaps they need new payment options or help with some other aspect of their business impacted by the recession.
Form a Speed-to-Hero SWAT Team
Once you start calling all your customers, all sorts of new challenges will arise, many of which have little to do with your particular product or service. Rather than ignoring these, create a cross-disciplined SWAT team, perhaps buttressed with outside partners that can address each and every challenge raised. Imagine how your client will feel when you solve their biggest problems, particularly if these problems were taking their attention away from your product/service. Renewing your contract and providing a glowing testimonial will be the easiest way for the customer to say thank you.
Hero Up Your Case Studies
Instead of focusing on how XYZ company benefited from your product or service, zero in on the individual who benefited most. Emphasize how that person felt from the beginning of the relationship (perhaps they were afraid of the change required) and how your company helped your customer overcome multiple challenges. Encourage your customers to describe the gain of adopting your brand in highly personalized terms such as, “Thanks for making me look good.”
Open Up the Hero Hotline
Another way to make your customers look good is to give them access to new and innovative products or services. This can include beta testing, early access to new features, or even custom solutions tailored to their specific needs. If they’re the ones bringing innovative ideas to their leadership, they will be infinitely grateful and think of your brand in a truly differentiated way.
Develop a Hero-making Curriculum
In a recession, most individuals worry first about the impact it will have on their personal financial situation. This trepidation could include keeping their job or getting a raise and/or promotion. In your speed-to-hero playbook, identify opportunities to help your customers learn and grow. These could be as simple as insight-rich “how to” webinars or complete training and certification programs. Either way, look for ways to give your customers badges or other forms of recognition that demonstrate their commitment to personal growth.
Bring Your Heroes Together
One of the biggest challenges your customers faced during the early days of the pandemic was feeling isolated and disconnected. These feelings only get worse during a recession. By fostering a sense of community among your customers, you can help them feel supported and connected to others in similar situations. This can include creating online communities, hosting virtual events, or even setting up one-on-one coaching or mentorship programs.
Speed-to-Hero Demand Gen
Once you have truly helped your customers succeed and they are prepared to advocate on your behalf, you can reframe your go-to-market messaging. Instead of just speaking about the rational advantages of your product versus your competitors, you can instead speak to how quickly you can help individuals succeed in their roles well beyond their expectations. At this point, you are no longer selling widgets, you are making heroes.
Have other ways to deploy the speed-to-hero framework? As always, we’re happy to hear from you.