3 min read

The 95:5 Rule Unveiled: A Lemonade Stand's Guide to B2B Marketing Success

What do you do when only 5% of b2b buyers are ready to buy at any one time?
The 95:5 Rule Unveiled: A Lemonade Stand's Guide to B2B Marketing Success
Photo by David Trinks / Unsplash

If you sell products or services to other businesses (B2B marketing), understanding when and how customers decide to make a purchase is crucial. Recent research, particularly the work by Professor John Dawes and further insights from Peter Weinberg and Jon Lombardo introduced a compelling concept known as the 95:5 rule. This rule highlights a fascinating reality: at any given moment, only 5% of your potential customer base is actively looking to buy what you're offering, while a staggering 95% are not immediately in the market.

This statistic is a game-changer, suggesting that businesses might often focus their energy on trying to convince the vast majority who aren't ready to buy, rather than nurturing the few who are. But how do we make sense of this in a way that's as simple as understanding the operations of a neighbourhood lemonade stand?

How Would You Sell Lemonade to Neighbours?

Imagine you've set up a lemonade stand in your local area. Based on the 95:5 rule, out of every 100 people who pass by your stand, only 5 are thinking, "I could go for some lemonade right now." The other 95 people? They might like lemonade, but they don't want it at this moment. They could be full, not thirsty, or maybe they just had lemonade yesterday.

What This Means for Your Lemonade Business

1. Don’t Try to Sell to Everyone: This is like shouting "Buy my lemonade!" to everyone who passes. Instead, focus on making your stand the one people remember when they do want lemonade.

2. Make Your Stand Memorable: Decorate your stand with bright colours, play fun music, and maybe even offer a quick fun fact about lemons with each cup sold. This way, you're not just selling lemonade; you're creating an experience people remember.

3. Educate, Don’t Just Sell: Share interesting stories or facts about lemonade. This way, you engage even those 95 people who aren't buying right now, making it more likely they'll think of you when they're in the 5%.

4. Understand When People Want Lemonade: Notice when and why those 5 out of 100 decide they want lemonade. Is it particularly hot out? Are they just finishing up a game at the park? Use this information to be ready at the right time.

5. Be the Friendly Lemonade Stand: People remember how you make them feel. Be kind and friendly to everyone, not just the buyers. This goodwill makes your stand the one they want to support or recommend.

6. Work With Your Friends: Tell your friends what makes your lemonade special. They can help spread the word, so when someone mentions they're thirsty, your stand immediately comes to mind.

Bringing It All Together

Just like running a successful lemonade stand, effective B2B marketing isn't about convincing everyone to buy your product immediately. It's about ensuring that when someone is ready to buy, yours is the brand they remember and trust. By focusing on making your brand memorable, engaging, and responsive to the real-time needs of your potential customers, you're not just selling a product. You're building a relationship that could turn the casual passerby into a loyal customer, even if they're part of the 95% today.

To boost success, zoom in on these three simple strategies, including a smart approach to sharing great content:

1. Know Your Customer's Steps

Understand the steps your customers take from needing something to buying it. Make sure your online content (like articles and videos) helps them at each step, answering their questions and offering useful information.

2. Connect and Build Trust

People buy from businesses they trust. Use social media, emails, and other online tools to talk regularly with your customers. Share helpful tips and insights to show you know your stuff, making them feel more comfortable choosing you when they're ready to buy.

3. Check What Works and Change What Doesn't

Keep an eye on which of your marketing efforts are hitting the mark and which aren't. Use tools to see how many people visit your website, engage with your posts, or open your emails. Use this info to do more of what works and fix what doesn't.

In short, understand your customers' journey, build strong relationships through regular and helpful communication, and always be ready to adjust your plan based on what's working. This straightforward approach can make a big difference for businesses looking to grow.