How B2B Leaders Can Navigate 2021 Uncertainties With Buyer Insight


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One of the most fascinating figures in American business history was that of Lee Iacocca.  Iacocca, who died at the age of 94 in 2019, was a visionary leader who was the only executive in modern times to lead two of the Big Three American automakers.  Ford and Chrysler.  At Ford, he was best known for his efforts in the creation of one of the most famous cars in auto history – the Mustang.  Iacocca, in both situations, had to overcome much adversity and uncertainties to lead.

Here is a quote from Iacocca on dealing with uncertainty:   

“So, what do we do? Anything. Something. So long as we just don’t sit there. If we screw it up, start over. Try something else. If we wait until we’ve satisfied all the uncertainties, it may be too late. – Lee Iacocca”

What made Iacocca unique was his ability to connect and relate to everyday car buyers.  At the time, a rare quality for a CEO.  This trait helped Iacocca to navigate uncertainties he faced both at Ford and Chrysler.

There has never been a more important time for B2B leaders in sales and marketing to connect and relate to their buyers. 

Uncertainty Is The Only Certainty

The COVID-19 pandemic, the Presidential election, and the economic downturn have created a large degree of uncertainty as we look ahead to 2021.  The uncertainties are making it hard for B2B sales and marketing leaders to plan.  Figuring out how to allocate valuable resources is most likely the toughest it has ever been for many. 

So, how can B2B leaders navigate uncertainties?  How can they connect and relate with their buyers?  Especially when uncertainty is the only certainty.

Let us take a look at important action leaders can take:

Connect With Buyers

Obtaining insight into what buyers are experiencing is one way to connect.  B2B leaders can do so by engaging in buyer research.  Buyer research can help you to understand how the goals of buyers are changing.  It can also tell you plenty about what new challenges buyers face.  And, even more importantly, it can open up discussions about the uncertainties buyers are also dealing with.   Putting you in a better position to bring value as a navigator of uncertainties.

Get A Read On Buyer Perceptions

The state of mind of buyers today are filled with tremendous doubt and uncertainties.  Changing the way, they think about next year and about the B2B businesses that supply them.  Making it important to get insights into attitudes, expectations, mental models, and points of view.  Knowing how your buyers think about today and the future has never been more important. 

Understand The Situational Scenarios Your Buyers Are In

The world for buyers has been turned upside down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  If you think about it, having the same pre-pandemic conversations with buyers will be terribly out of touch.  What can help is understanding the situations and scenarios buyers are in today.  This is how you can relate to buyers.  By relating to scenarios, they find themselves in and also understanding more about the ideal situations and scenarios they desire.  Buyer Scenarios, founded at the same time Buyer Personas were founded in 2001, are one of the most important tools in buyer insights management.

Navigate Uncertainty

There are a lot of questions that remain for the future.  However, B2B leaders can be in a better position to lead their teams through uncertainties. To also help buyers to navigate through their own uncertainties.  Using buyer insights to create a guidebook on how to navigate and to grow revenues in today’s challenging times.

If we look at the leadership advice of Lee Iacocca, the something to do is to get started with buyer insights.  If you wait, it may be too late. 

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Tony Zambito
Tony is the founder and leading authority in buyer insights for B2B Marketing and Sales. In 2001, Tony founded the concept of "buyer persona" and established the first buyer persona development methodology. This innovation has helped leading companies gain a deeper understanding of their buyers resulting in revenue performance. Tony has empowered Fortune 100 organizations with operationalizing buyer personas to communicate deep buyer insights that tell the story of their buyer. He holds a B.S. in Business and an M.B.A. in Marketing Management.


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