Educate, inspire, reassure

Educate, inspire, reassure


Three essential functions for 3DP marketing and sales

In our last article, the power of positioning, we walked through the steps you can take to develop, discuss and document your brand positioning. For the sixth installment in our series on sales and marketing alignment for innovative B2B 3D printer brands, we’ll cover the three distinct functions that your marketing and sales efforts need to perform: educate, inspire and reassure. We’ll talk about the ideal touchpoints for each function and how those functions change as your customers move along the buyer journey.

By now you’ve mapped out the buyer journey and have an understanding of how potential customers travel from awareness to purchase. As the graphic below indicates, your marketing and sales teams have a part to play along every step of the buyer journey, with marketing weighted toward the front end and sales weighted to the back end.

Your marketing and sales materials need to be either educating, inspiring or reassuring your potential customers, depending on where they are in their buying journey.

marketing and sales alignment, Toolbox Creative, Fort Collins Tech Marketing

Mutual benefit, shared responsibility

Your sales and marketing teams should not operate in silos. Rather, when they can see the roles they can play along the entire buyer journey, a view of the big picture emerges. Sales and marketing are no longer divisions, but interlocking components with shared responsibilities and mutual benefits.

When developing your sales and marketing messages and materials, consider which function each piece should be performing along the buyer journey: educate, inspire or reassure. 

1. Educate

Potential customers understand they have a problem and are starting to seek solutions. While you likely don’t yet know they exist, and they may not have found you yet, you have a golden opportunity to make a great first impression and position your brand as an expert in your industry.

Here, your content marketing strategy, search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) will come into play. Your website should provide lots of opportunities for the early-stage buyer to educate themselves through infographics, webinars and diagnostic assessments.

You’re on their radar. They’re on your prospect list. Now what? 

2. Inspire

You’re on their radar. They’re on your prospect list. Now they need a reason to care. How will your company make their lives easier? When judging your brand against the competition, will potential customers be able to tell if your values align with theirs?

At this stage, white papers, social media, eNewsletters and direct mail can be effective.

3. Reassure

Your sales team leads the charge, with help from marketing as needed. You’ll identify any remaining barriers to sale and work to break them down. Assure them you’ve got skin in the game and you’ll be just as available to them a year after the sale as you are when you’re working to close it.

Case studies, product demos, in-person events and customer testimonials can help bring home the sale.

A piece for every purpose

Now is a good time to review the communications pieces you currently have in play. With your customer journey mapped out, you’ll be better able to identify any gaps or weak points in your marketing and sales communications. Plot out which pieces educate, inspire or reassure, and adjust your strategy as needed.

Next up: Taking market share from the big guys

Hyper-specialized B2B 3D printer brands often find themselves in a David and Goliath-type situation. The big guys dominate the space. Their candy budget might be larger than your marketing budget. You can’t compete on the all-things-to-all-people angle, but if you can articulate the one thing you do better than anyone else, you can take market share from the big guys.

Other articles in this series:

Part 7: Taking market share from the big guys

Part 5: The power of positioning

Part 4: The benefit of sales and marketing alignment

Part 3: Mapping the buyer journey

Part 2: Long-shot, convertible and available customers

Part 1: Influencers and validators and deciders, oh my

About Toolbox Creative:

Toolbox Creative is a B2B Brand Engineering firm, helping the 3D Printing,  Ag Tech and Clean Tech industries change the world. We distill complex technologies into powerful identity systems, websites and marketing tactics that align sales and marketing efforts, create lasting impact and build brand love.