Why ‘Trust’ is the most important (and least defined) concept in B2B Technology
Rejoice purveyors of tech products and services, the ‘Technology’ sector is once again listed as the most trusted industry sector in the Edelman 2021 Trust Barometer! (Read the report at www.edelman.com/trust/2021-trust-barometer) So all you High Tech BDRs, sales reps, marketing teams, product engineers, retention specialists and executives – take a bow, your job is easy, right? Wrong!
Tech may still be top of the heap, but it’s falling. And the heap is on fire. The reality is, trust in all sectors declined this year, and the tech sector declined the most. So why the decline? Oh, where to start: data privacy, crowded product landscapes, emerging technologies, power shifts from sellers to buyers, government regulations and a general political division that has a lot of folks questioning which way is up. The issue is real, and organizations better have a plan to address this or risk losing market share, revenue, and public opinion.
Ok, let’s move away from the doom and gloom talk, roll up our sleeves and start talking about what we marketers and sales teams can do to change the narrative. Start with what trust means in the context of what we do. For marketers our goal is simple. Engage prospects by positioning our brand and products in a way that shows value to buyers, beyond the competition. For our sales team, understand what value means to prospects and craft a narrative that demonstrates our products and people can deliver on it. The issue that we so often come across is that the value conversation is clunky and not aligned. Make no mistake, this issue is 100% on the marketing and sales teams. This is where trust starts to bend. How can I as a buyer trust an organization if that organization doesn’t understand me?
Maybe we need to start with redefining what trust is composed of, move away from surface level definitions, and provide a new way to think about it. If we have a more tangible definition of trust, we can surely start to build programs that articulate Building Trust in ways that connect far more with our prospects.
In that spirit, we focus on four key Elements of Trust that attempt to bridge the functional and emotional needs of buyers on a deeper level. By using these as a guide, we can create better stories backed by proof that close the trust gap and create engaged buyers.
Overcoming the inertia of the status quo starts with trust
With any new way of looking at a concept, the challenge is where do you start. A good place is a simple audit in the form of a workshop with marketing and sales, looking at each of the four elements to see where your organization / solution / product excels and where your deficiencies are. Based on this, you can start to map marketing tailored stories to your target prospects that both marketing and sales can get behind, strategically. If done, evaluated, and optimized against, this construct will build more engaged and less suspicious buyers. You’ll see the tangible impacts of trust: shorter sales cycles, growing deal sizes, and rising retention rates.
“Tech may still be top of the heap, but it’s falling. And the heap is on fire. The reality is, trust in all sectors declined this year, and the tech sector declined the most.”