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16 May 2023 • 4 min read

The Power of Commercial Insight: Transforming B2B Marketing and Driving Change

Braden Dawson

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Dive into the realm of commercial insights and their potential to revolutionize B2B businesses. We've gleaned key takeaways from Pat Spenner's talk at the 2023 Tech Marketers Conference in Auckland. Spenner, the CMO & Head of Strategy at Capital Preferences, shares how to leverage unique strengths to reshape B2B customer perspectives. Discover ways to navigate through their change resistance and stimulate product/service adoption. Let the success of Capital Preferences in B2B sustainable investing inspire you to unlock your business's potential through commercial insights.

Transforming B2B

In the dynamic B2B landscape, it's crucial to create commercial insights that resonate with your customers by reframing their understanding of their business in a manner that uniquely connects to the products and services you provide. This targeted approach can effectively dismantle customers' resistance to change, paving the way for a smoother adoption of your innovative solutions.

In today's rapidly changing business landscape, creating impactful content that drives customer action is more important than ever. At the heart of this process is the development of commercial insights that not only reframe the way customers think about their business but also lead uniquely back to your company's products and services. This ensures that your sales team can generate high-quality demand while avoiding commoditization.

Insights Framework

One key framework for understanding this concept is the A to B model. In this framework, 'A' represents a customer's current state or status quo, while 'B' represents their desired future state, which includes the adoption of your products and services. To successfully drive change, you must first break down the customer's mental model in the 'A' state, which includes their thoughts, beliefs, and assumptions about how their business operates.

The challenge lies in making the customer realize that the pain of their status quo (the 'A' state) is greater than the pain of migrating to the 'B' state. To achieve this, your content should reframe the customer's understanding of their business, highlighting the potential negative consequences of not changing, while also showing how your unique solution can address those issues.

Qualifying the Outcome

A critical aspect of creating commercial insights is starting with a clear understanding of your own unique strengths. This allows you to tailor your content in a way that leads back to your company, ensuring that you're not merely providing free consulting to customers but driving them to choose your products and services.

Using Capital Preferences as an example, a company that uses behavioural economics, decision science, and gamification to reveal hidden insights about advice clients. By leveraging their unique strengths, they can create powerful commercial insights that resonate with customers, leading them to adopt their solutions.

Ultimately the power of commercial insights lies in their ability to reframe customer thinking and drive change. By understanding your unique strengths and crafting content that breaks down the customer's mental model, you can make the pain of the status quo greater than the pain of change, ultimately leading customers to adopt your products and services.

Creating commercial insights

To create commercial insight, start by understanding your unique strengths and capabilities. In the case of Capital Preferences, their unique methodology, game-based experience, and preference data insights set them apart. Next, map the A state mental model of your customer stakeholders through investigative journalism, detective work, and interviews. By identifying their customers' thoughts, beliefs, and assumptions, they can better understand their perspective and create a more effective B state.

In this case, the A state mental model was that end clients have mostly monolithic ESG preferences, leading them to focus on providing the best climate change investment products. The B state, however, emphasized that clients have highly individualized ESG preferences, and winning in ESG is more about the experience. The commercial insight is that clients need help discovering their preferences, and offering a personalized experience is crucial.

To validate their commercial insight, they conducted a market study with 1800 investors in six different markets, planning and focusing on specific hypotheses. By doing so, they aimed to find evidence that would help reframe the customer's perspective and create a connection between the B state and their unique strengths.

At the end of the day, creating commercial insight requires understanding your unique strengths, mapping the A state mental model, and validating your hypotheses through market research. By reframing the customer's perspective, you can demonstrate the value of your unique offerings and deliver high-quality demand to your sales team.

The Problem with Sustainable Investing

According to Spenner, sustainable investing suffers from several issues, including a lack of clarity around the definition of ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance), the prevalence of "greenwashing". These problems have led to a lack of trust in the industry and a general feeling that sustainable investing is not delivering the desired results.

Investors all over the world over are awakening to the importance of sustainable investing goals – two of every three investors now view ESG factors as important or very important in their investing. It will be a major driver putting trillions of dollars of assets into play.

The key problem and opportunity for the industry is that 65% of investors have high interest in sustainable investing, but only 20% have confidence their current portfolio is well aligned to their values. There is a massive opportunity to retain and win clients for those firms that are first to close this ESG interest-to-confidence gap.

The Power of Commercial Insight

To address these issues, Spenner’s company has developed a unique method, data, and insights-driven approach to sustainable investing. They have also conducted extensive research to understand investors' preferences and identify the factors that drive their decisions. This research has led to the development of a commercial insight that challenges the way the industry thinks about sustainable investing and has a shelf life of two to three years.

Driving Results with Commercial Insight

As a result of their commercial insight, Spenner’s company has seen significant success in engaging their target audience and achieving meaningful teaching interactions with key stakeholders. This has led to several proofs of concept and a major deployment with a global player in the sustainable investing space. The company is now working on further expanding their commercial insight to reach new markets and serve different client segments.

The Importance of a Strong Team and Unique Assets

Spenner emphasized the importance of having a small and mighty team to drive their marketing efforts, as well as identifying and amplifying their unique assets. In their case, these assets include their unique method, data, and insights, the thought leadership of their company's founder, and their senior advisor-led sales model.

In conclusion, the power of commercial insight in sustainable investing lies in its ability to challenge the status quo and disrupt the industry. By leveraging unique assets and amplifying them effectively, companies can create a lasting impact on the way sustainable investing is perceived and practiced. Spenner’s company's success in using commercial insight to drive their business forward serves as an inspiring example for others in the industry. 

At Web Antler, we help our B2B clients harness the power of commercial insights and develop effective strategies to drive their businesses forward. If you need a B2B marketing agency, then let us partner with you to create impactful content that resonates with your target audience and leads to lasting success.

Reference: The Challenger Customer: Selling to the Hidden Influencer Who Can Multiply Your Results