If it feels like the very nature of sales and marketing is changing, you aren’t imagining it. Both B2B and B2C companies just can’t compete based on product and price point anymore. The line between consumer and B2B purchasing is beginning to blur, and most of your buyers aren’t just looking for a good deal; they’re looking for a partner they can trust and believe in.
It “starts with WHY,” says Simon Sinek in his book and TED Talks presentation. People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.
Industry giants like Apple and Nike have famously built their empires on WHY. Sinek adds, If Apple communicated like most of us, their message would sound something like:
We make great computers. They’re beautifully designed, simple to use, and user friendly. Want to buy one?”
Instead, here’s what Apple actually tells us:
Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently. The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use and user friendly. We just happen to make great computers.”
Apple is the world’s first trillion-dollar company. While it would be preposterous to suggest it’s entirely driven by a well-defined purpose, one can wonder where it might be today without one. And if you think this example only applies to consumers, it’s time to re-examine how you approach your buyers.
“B2B buyers are acting more like consumers every day,” says Forrester. “To meet the needs of the emerging B2B consumer, B2B marketers need to rethink and evolve every aspect of their strategies, programs, and tactics, from branding to lead generation and post-sale engagement.”
Why Purpose Matters
A true WHY orientation enables precise target market definition, clear marketing differentiation, and cultural alignment with purpose across the organization and the client life cycle. Yet, a mere 13% of organizations define and even know their purpose, their true WHY, according to a recent Mercer study — 87% do not. Nonetheless, I’d argue that the mere introspective process of trying to identify one’s true WHY is both insightful and worthwhile.
For companies that have clearly defined and communicated their purpose, 63% of employees say they’re motivated, versus 31% at other companies; 65% say they’re passionate about their work, versus 32% at other companies, according to PwC in 2019.
Additionally, Bain & Company concludes that if a satisfied employee’s productivity level is 100%, an engaged employee’s level is 144%. Meanwhile, the productivity level of an employee who is truly inspired by their brand’s purpose is a whopping 225%.
Aside from the quantifiable benefits, discovering and establishing your WHY is an essential step in developing your company’s culture. Likely, you already have a mission statement. This defines what your company does and for whom from an operational standpoint. Most companies stop here.
Unlike a mission statement, a “purpose statement” designates the reason your organization exists.
For example, Intel’s mission statement is as follows: “Delight our customers, employees, and shareholders by relentlessly delivering the platform and technology advancements that become essential to the way we work and live.” This statement demonstrates how Intel creates value and for whom.
If they were to turn this into a “purpose statement,” it might sound something like this: “We develop technology advancements that empower and connect people to help change the way our society works and lives.”
Generally, your organization’s purpose or WHY should reach beyond business metrics. It should demonstrate how your organization adds value to the world in a holistic way.
How MassPay Decided to Put People First
At MP, we sat down in late 2018 to define and incorporate our own purpose… our WHY. After analyzing the competition and doing a great deal of deliberation, we decided on the following:
We Believe People Make the Difference.
It may seem trite at first glance, but for us — and hopefully for our clients — our work extends beyond ‘our people’ to how we help our clients’ people make the difference, too. We want this purpose to drive everything we do, and it influences every project we take on, no matter the size.
Find Your Organization’s Purpose
According to a 2016 survey by PwC, 79% of business leaders believe that an organization’s purpose is central to business success. This makes sense. With a clear purpose, leaders and executives have a core set of values to rely on when making decisions and executing core strategies.
The real question is, why do 87% of companies avoid defining their purpose — their WHY — when there are such clear benefits?
Finding your organization’s purpose can drive measurable results, but it also adds an intangible level of value to your organization. Your WHY plays a significant role in your company’s culture and how you grow and change.
If you haven’t taken the time to discover your WHY, I highly recommend you do so before anything else.
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