Benefits Over Buzzwords: Why Features (Usually) Come Second in B2B SaaS Marketing

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It's easy to toss around buzzwords like “UTM tracking" and “natural language processing”, assuming everyone knows or cares about what they are. Educating curious clients on what goes on behind the scenes of a product is one thing. But explaining how those features benefit businesses should be top priority.

Benefits come first, features come second — almost always.

Let's use the smartphone as an example. We're willing to bet you've rarely, if ever, considered how your phone's hardware works. You care about having a device that makes it easy to shop, work, and stay connected to your loved ones.

When you're shopping for a new phone, how long do you spend reading the list of specs beside the display? Chances are you scan the price and main features, like battery life and camera quality.

But you likely don't know or care whether your phone has an AMOLED display or a lithium-ion battery. You care most about what those features provide: crisp, clear graphics and a long-lasting battery life.

The same goes for virtually any kind of software, including web chat for local business. Many of our clients don't care about complex natural language processing concepts. 

Sure, that blog post might make for good weekend reading if they're into that kind of thing. But they care about having a chatbot that interprets and answers their customers' questions quickly and correctly. Features like integrations and UTM tracking are just added bonuses.

But the potential lies in how you position those bonuses. Instead of bragging about how easy it is to set up webhooks or UTM tracking, opt for something like, 

  • “Log leads automatically with CRM integrations.”
  • “Discover which campaigns and search queries are driving prospects to your site.”
  • “View your chat data in context to your marketing goals with integrations.”

Seems pretty simple, right? Here's how to do it.

Quick tip for emphasizing benefits over features

Make your customer the subject of your message. 

That's it. That's the tip.

This involves two simple steps. First, use “you” instead of “we”. Next, start with strong verb phrases that describe the benefit.

Instead of: “We help businesses build better relationships with their customers so they grow.”

Try: “Improve relationships with your customers to unlock explosive growth.

(Well, don't try this tagline exactly, ‘cause it’s ours.)

The exception to the rule

Prioritizing benefits over features is almost always a safe bet for shortening the sales cycle. But don't disregard features entirely. Tech-savvy customers will probably want to know the ins and outs of the program.

Returning to our smartphone analogy, an engineer or professional photographer would take their time browsing and comparing specs. Their in-depth knowledge means that product differentiation does matter to them. They have more specific needs than the average customer.

This is why knowing your prospects' and customers' individual needs is crucial. Your real customers will deviate from even the most detailed ICPs.

The bottom line

To quote ZyraTalk CEO Ahmad Saleem, product- or service-based differentiation alone is dead. Attempts to one-up the competition by showing off more advanced features might backfire. Prioritizing the customers' problems and needs will drive exponential growth.

Remember, those problems and needs are individual. Should you assume every customer knows what those behind-the-scenes concepts mean — or most importantly, why they matter to their business? No. But you also shouldn't assume that none of your customers will care about features. 

One last tip: build a robust knowledge base. This can help your prospects and customers understand how features work to make their work easier.

The key takeaway: Emphasize benefits in your messaging and answer questions about features as they come.

Want to see this approach in action? Check out our post “5 Ways Chatbots Help Home Service Businesses Scale Faster & Improve Conversion in 2020 and Beyond”.