The Golden Circle is an innovative concept presented by Simon Sinek in his TED Talk "Start with Why". It's super inspiring and challenges the status quo at its core for identifying your purpose for what you want to do in business, and in life.

The thesis of Simon's "Start with Why" is his discovery of The Golden Circle. There are three parts of The Golden Circle: Why, How, and What.

Why?

In his TED Talk, Simon suggests, "very few organizations know why they do what they do. And by why I don't mean to make a profit: that's a result...I mean what's your purpose?" Very few B2B professionals can answer this question: why does your organization exist?

How?

Some B2B companies know how they have achieved success for their customers. Some may have written a value proposition, looked at sales data, and have a few keen insights into how they can deliver their offering to the best-fit customers or sales opportunities.

What?

Every B2B company knows what they do. They know what their mission is, the product or service they're offering, and what they charge their customers to do business. The "what" is what most companies live and die by.

And these questions apply directly to the B2B buyer's journey and extends into the overall customer experience. The way B2B organizations traditionally have interacted with prospects follows the same path.

This means marketing teams start with explaining to prospects what their company does, how they do it, and maybe (if they're lucky) the prospect sticks around long enough for the salesperson to have an actual conversation.

There's clearly something wrong with that model, which is why B2B marketing teams have to start with why by putting the customer first.

For B2B companies, the conversation with prospects must begin with why the business exists. It's about finding those best-fit prospects who care about the same things. Then marketers can support salespeople as they begin to have those conversations about how they might be able to solve a pain point or need the prospect is experiencing, finally presenting what the solution is in the form of a company's product or service.

That's how B2B marketing and sales teams should focus on "why"

Like with Simon Sinek's model, you know why your business exists: to service those companies that are your best-fit customers. To add another layer, you should also know who you want to target in those companies using the buyer personas you've created.

Despite having this knowledge, B2B marketers, in general, do a terrible job of targeting only the best-fit prospects. Historically, the only way marketers knew how to engage those folks is by blasting them with emails and calling them repeatedly.

Sadly, B2B marketers get caught up in the "what" with all their activities, calls, and emails, instead of focusing on the "why" and "who". In an era where our executive stakeholders are expecting real revenue on a shoestring budget, B2B companies can not afford to throw money down the drain with little results to show for it.

It's time for marketers to start by clearly defining their ideal customer profiles and personas. Then, create messages that specifically target those companies and roles. Finally, engage them on their terms across all channels -- online and offline.

Why should you market this way? Simply put, it is how your customers want to be marketed to and that is what will ultimately yield you the best results.

And we arrive at the "why" of account-based marketing (ABM)

The good news is it's easy to apply Sinek's Golden Circle for ABM. First, start by finding your best-fit customers. That might seem like a daunting task, but trust me, it's not as hard as you think because you're starting with your own data.

Unless you're a brand new company just getting off the ground, you have a CRM filled with data on your customers. Start by examining your own customer base to find who your "VIP" or best-fit clients are for your business, then ask yourself The Golden Circle questions:

  • Why did they decide to do business with you?
  • How are they succeeding as your customers?
  • What defines these companies in terms of industry, market vertical, and size (employees and/or revenue)?
  • Who is the end user in terms of job role and responsibilities?

From there, you can look for prospects who match the same criteria, and this becomes your target list of companies and people for marketing.

Why start anywhere else?

Published on: Apr 30, 2017