MarketingProfs B2B Forum 2023

How to Overcome the Biggest B2B Buying Barriers with Nancy Harhut

“We don’t need that, thanks.”

Nobody in marketing or sales wants to hear that from a prospect. You have great solutions—why can’t they understand that?!

But there are ways to overcome objections.

In this clip from her 2022 B2B Forum presentation, Nancy Harhut (chief creative officer at HBT Marketing) shares five common objections that prevent you from making the sale—and how you can overcome those objections with your marketing material.

To learn a few of Nancy’s secrets, simply watch the video or read the transcript below.


If you are here, I suspect it is because you have run up against certain B2B buying barriers that you would just as soon obliterate. Yes? All right, well, you are in the right place.

We’re going to reveal exactly how to do that.

But before we do, there’s one thing you need to know, and that is that what influences people and their decisions can be surprising. In fact, I would go so far as to say it can be downright strange, particularly when we’re talking about B2B. Because here in B2B we think, “it’s all about logic. It’s all about the facts. That’s how people decide.”

But it turns out that there are other factors at play that influence people’s decisions. And very often these people—our customers and prospects—are not even aware of the factors that are influencing their decisions. Once we, as marketers, get our heads around that concept, we are in a much better place to overcome B2B buying barriers. 

And I’m gonna prove it to you because I’m gonna take on five of the biggest ones. Does this sound good? Yeah. Alright.

So B2B buying barrier number one, your prospect won’t take a meeting. What you wanna do is, you wanna position the meeting as the opportunity to deliver desirable information. And the bonus is when people find out something they don’t know, when they close that information gap, it activates the reward center in their brains. And that releases dopamine, which is a feel good chemical.

So not only are you getting the meeting, but people are gonna feel good during the meeting. It’s a win-win!

All right, barrier number two of our five barriers: your company’s not the market leader. So what do you wanna do if you don’t happen to be the market leader? If you can’t point to that and say, “well, we’re the market leader,” you wanna highlight the effort that’s gone into developing your product or your service.

Maybe it’s the number of people it took to develop it, or the amount of time, you know. Maybe it took, you know, 15 scientists, two and a half years to create the prototype before they could bring it to market.

Or maybe you wanna talk about the number of customers that you interviewed before you, you know, issued the next iteration of this. “We talked to 1500 customers and they gave us input.” But you know, you wanna show the time and the effort that went into developing your product or service.

Alright, barrier number three. The prospect already has a vendor or a supplier.

So this happens a lot, right? And it can be kind of, it can kinda be demoralizing. It’s like, “oh man, I really wanna get to you guys, and yet you’ve already got someone. Um, I get it, you’re all set, right?”

But there is a way to overcome it. It’s not easy, but there is a way to unseat the competition. As a matter of fact, Accenture released a report recently that said over 80% of frequent B2B buyers have actually switched suppliers over the last 24 months.

Now, I suspect a lot of that had to do with supply chain issues and, you know, the pandemic. But it is possible to unseat the competition.

Alright, barrier four of the five barriers is the prospect says they’re not in the market.

And this is a killer, right? Because you’ve got a product or a service that you really believe in, and you’ve targeted your audience. And you know, you know that so many of them could benefit if they just give you a try.

But people are like, “no, no, no, we’re good. We’ve got our homegrown solution. We’re not in the market.”

It can be very frustrating. But what you wanna do is you wanna share stories of successful customers, right? And remember, it’s the customer who should be the hero of the story. It’s not your company, it’s not your product or service. The customer is the hero.

Now, okay, we’re up to our fifth and final barrier. And that is, the prospect doesn’t understand the value of what you offer.

So this can happen in B2B marketing, but you know, more so in B2B than in B2C. Particularly more so these days because of the great resignation, what’s happening is people are moving up the ranks quicker than they might ordinarily have had. They haven’t had the time to accumulate the experience that they might ordinarily have had before they get moved into a position. They’re still learning.

And so sometimes it’s a little harder to, you know, to get their heads around why this would be a good choice, why this is a good product, what the value is, that it’s really bringing.

B2B can be complex. B2B can be a little complicated, right? So you’re selling your heart out and people are like, “huh?”

So when you’re dealing with prospects who don’t get your value, make sure your copy is easy to process. Avoid jargon, text speak, acronyms. If you have to use any of those, use it sparingly. Use them sparingly and immediately define, you know, explain what the acronym means, explain what the text speak means.

You want to make things as easy as possible to understand. Use common accessible language. The thing to remember is what influences people and their decisions can be surprising. But now that you know, now that you understand what influences people’s decisions, you are in a position to overcome those buying barriers.

Published 7/19/23

B2B Forum is packed with marketing insights, strategies, and tactics taken from the real world experience of over forty industry experts, packaged into context you can actually put to use.

Join us in Boston for B2B Forum 2024 this coming November 12-14, 2024. Early buyers get B2B Forum tickets at their lowest rate, and discounted hotel rooms are available while they last.


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