The traditional roles of sales and marketing have evolved, as technology has shaped and influenced customer buying behavior. Marketing now does more, but that doesn’t mean the role of sales is now irrelevant.
How many of us wake up and ask ourselves how we can offer LESS than our competition? Probably no one – yet that may be the most important question you can ask yourself about your small business.
Lead nurturing is the process of building relationships, reputation and trust with sales prospects in ways that are consistent, timely and relevant.
I don’t want salespeople repeating marketing copy or technical specifications from the website. If I want a parrot, I’ll buy one.
The vast majority of companies aren’t very good at producing marketing experiences that pass the “Fight or Flight” test. I’ll go as far as to say that I’m betting that your company is one of them.
Don’t try to go up against your customers when it comes to content for web search results. You won’t win.
Customers today are more demanding than ever before. They’re smarter than ever before. Because they have more knowledge – and therefore more POWER, than they have ever had. So why should they buy from you, as opposed to the company down the street, or the next town – or half way across the world?
“Assumption” and “risk” often go hand-in-hand. It’s like yin and yang, or whether the glass is half full or half empty. Salespeople are taught of the dangers of assuming something in business. To “assume” something, they’re told, makes an “ass” out of “u” and “me”. By assuming a particular intent, outcome, situation or interaction you are creating an illusion for yourself that you regard as fact. As a result, you are ignoring the potential risks associated with such a decision. I talk with many business owners who think that they have a handle on their customers’ wants. Not from research, mind you. Not from from actually talking with customers and prospects, or from observing how changes in the industry and technology may influence buying behavioral trends. But from what they would call their “gut instinct” – and what I call “risk-prone assumption”. These companies rely on assumption to build their business. “My customers liked it when I made a red version of my widget – surely they’re going to love it if I make a blue one, right?” Products or services get designed and launched. Expenditure is made – directly or indirectly – on marketing, promotion, human resources, service, support, …
Every couple of months or so I get together with a couple of ex-colleagues for what’s become known as a “Ruby Night” “Ruby”, short for “Ruby Murray”, is Cockney rhyming-slang for “curry”. After much research we’ve now found a fantastic Indian restaurant in the centre of Strasbourg that is happy to serve us what we all agree to be the absolutely hottest Lamb Curry this side of Mumbai. It’s magma-level, mouth-numbingly, sweat and tear-inducingly hot. In other words, it’s just how we like it. No pain, no gain… At the last Ruby Night the three of us got into a particularly heated discussion. I’m not talking about the meal (even though the chef on that particular night seemed to have a mission to defeat us in terms of how hot he could make the curry. Boy, was it a scorcher). I’m talking about Cold Calling. Cold calling, for those who’ve never been in Sales, is the soul-destroying process of calling-up people that you think could be sales prospects for whatever it is that you’re selling. I suppose you could think of it as the pre-internet version of spam. Every once in a while you’d get someone who’d take the call, …
Imagine that you’re in a sales situation with a potential client. The deal could be highly lucrative. Things are going well – you’ve done your research, they like your offering…but they also like the offering of one of your biggest competitors. From your perspective, it’s anyone’s guess as to who’s going to get the deal. Then something happens. The prospective customer shows your pricing proposal to the other company – or forwards them one of your emails, asking them for their take on it. What just happened? You lost the sale. For whatever reason your credibility, in the eyes of your customer, has been compromised. For all intents and purposes you’re no longer in the running. Of course you’re never going to hear that from your customer directly: they’ll continue to go through the motions of the sales process right up until they make the purchase – with the other company. There are 1001 reasons why you may lose the credibility of your customers. Maybe it’s the overly-pushy salesperson who needs to be the center of attention, dominate the conversation, or make it abundantly clear that they’ve been there and done that and (in the words of Stevie Wonder) you …