Commercial insight drives B2B purchasing

Last week I wrote (extensively) on the role of both emotion and logic in building successful B2B brands.  I tried to assist you to avoid the “One-in-Three problem” where you are one of three bidders locked in lowest price negotiation to win a clients business.

I proposed focussing on two critical elements- the commercial insight and the personal insight. The commercial insight focuses on the logical benefit of your brand to the clients business. The personal insight focuses on the personal value your brand offers the buyer either by increasing personal value or by reducing personal threats and risk.


Commercial insight, though, can really provide a reason for businesses to work with you exclusively.

What is the commercial insight really about?

All businesses have access to information, data, facts about the business they are in. Within that information, there is a hierarchy of usefulness, I’d like to push you to see how you can greater greater differentiation through really understanding that information as it relates to your clients.

At the outside there is general information, things everyone has access to, facts, information, data, rumours, disinformation.  Within that, we sift out that information that useful, relevant and correct- this we can offer to our clients, but its the stuff that everyone offers, it doesn’t set you apart.  Within that, there’s the information and data that is new or newsworthy, this is called “thought leadership” it lives in the “white papers” of big companies. Its used to often set them apart as thought-leaders, Its news but is undirected, general news about the category.  Within that, is the higher level of usefulness- if a business could take that thought leadership and distill it in such a way that it is uniquely or distinctly useful to their clients then it provides an insight and is increasingly valuable to clients.  And within that, something that can actively grow a single clients business or make it more valuable now that’s the commercial insight we have sought.  It takes thought leadership, puts it through the lens of a specific business and identifies how that  business can exclusively benefit.

commercial insight


So the process can be summarised as taking information, and a deep appreciation of how to rethink an industry, AND THEN apply it to the specific needs of our clients, giving them an often disruptive view of the future of their business and how only we can provide them with the assistance tot ake advantage of this disruptive opportunity.

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So how can we get that?

First we have to really know the business category our clients are in (remember its about them, not us) and have the analytical capabilities to understand the unique challenges each industry has. Second, we have to understand our clients business and business model well enough to recognise how this business information can assist. Lastly,  as an external party, we don’t have our Client’s internal hangups and blindness about the environment they are in. Bringing these three together- credible thought leadership about an industry, plus deep insight into a clients business and adding a dispassionate ability to challenge a client’s assumptions about the industry, provides the basis for creating great commercial insights.  Remember we are dealing with logic here, facts, and figures.

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Once we have this commercial insight that challenges the clients assumptions about their business, we need to use this to catalyse action inside the business.  And maybe scale this across a range of customers in different categories.

Here’s research from CEB that illustrates how powerful commercial insights can be in promoting purchase probability. It clearly demonstrates the progressing from general information, (not beneficial to progressing the decision cycle) to deep insights which definitely spur decisions.

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So when it comes to the logical support for choosing your company as a supplier, its essential to focus on commercial insights; your ability to understand your industry, your clients and how the two can interact in disruptive ways that will enable you to stand out form the crowd and avoid being “one-of-three” negotiating for the lowest price solution.