People ask me all the time about the secret behind business success from the viewpoint of sales and marketing.
I have sat in some meetings where I listen to both departments of sales and marketing and their take on this subject, but the reality of most small and medium sized businesses is that both sales and marketing are tied closely together, so the action of lead development and proactive sales activity need to go hand in glove.
Ok, so marketing and sales go together, wow, I seem to say some obvious statements in these posts, but sometimes I have to say the obvious to get to my unique opinion that hopefully opens your eyes to a new approach that you can use.
Let’s look at the new environment we now find ourselves in.
The Internet has given businesses one of the best platforms to do business, and offers them more opportunities to promote themselves than ever before, but that also means that buyers have more choices to learn about products and services that are available.
The truth is, the Internet can be overwhelming and people are now choosing what content to consume, and when they want to consume it.
So businesses need to take a step back and think about their approach.
In my last post, I talked about the first 3 components of the sales process, but today I’m going to talk about getting your “relevant” content consumed by your engaged audience.
As any sales person knows, if your product or service is known in the marketplace and buyers are aware of your brand before the sales development process, the “Getting the Meeting” phase is a little easier, and even better, if the buyer reaches out and asks for the meeting.
So it’s crucial to look at the timeline of your marketing, and create a calendar to help you plan.
Step 1. Look at your historical sales data, if have some, and pick out any seasonal trends and use these as hot spots on your calendar.
These are what I call, anchors, and are crucial markers that determine the surrounding marketing and sales activities.
Retailers have major holidays, such as Valentines Day, Easter, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Mothers Day etc
Now you have those mapped out, put yourself in your buyers mind. The buyer has to be educated and made aware of your brand, your products and the benefits you offer.
This doesn’t happen overnight, and the buyer needs to feel comfortable and confident in your product and services.
The simple way to do this is to have consistent and strategic messages to be placed around the lead up to the Anchor Sales Markers we plotted.
“Repetition Builds Reputation” – I learnt this phrase when selling radio, and it transfers to general sales one-on-one marketing.
It actually has more relevancy in your total marketing mix than ever before, because you need establish your brand, your core messages and product or service features and benefits, on a consistent and regular basis, with the intensity turned up leading up to your sales anchor markers.
It’s Important to understand the buying cycle, to appreciate the importance of this.
- The Pain Point
- The Solution Discovery
- The Research Phase
- The RFP Process
- The Short List
- The Decision
The Paint Point: At some stage your prospects have a pain point you can offer a solution for, and it’s essential that you have educational content that puts you in front of your audience, this is content that showcases your differential benefit aimed at vertical sectors, and use case studies to give you credibility.
Solution Discovery: Your prospects will be looking for ways to approach the Pain Point , your educational content will be forefront of mind if placed in front of your audience. Surprisingly, the decision maker may be told about your solution by the owner of the internal pain point, so highlighting specific messages, across your target audience will generate leads.
Research Phase: This has already been done, the buyer already has information on the businesses that they are aware of, and this is usually because they are educated from what they have seen on a consistent basis and feel the business has knowledge that can help solve the Pain Point, in the most effective way.
The RFP Process: How many times have we heard, ” If we can help our prospect write the RFP we increase our chance of winning the business”? Well showcasing in the content we publish prior to this phase increases our chance of getting the opportunity of even being included in an RFP.
The short list: You can short cut all the above if you are visible and are established as a subject matter expert in the area that the buyer is interested in.
The Decision: If you have a great reputation and you are high on the radar of the buyers organization, plus you are consistent with your messaging, in some cases you may be able to create a direct sale.
So, Consistency and Repetition are the key words through all of the buying process. This gives the buyer confidence, that you are a viable option to include in any purchase decision.
This process has to start early in the year, laying the foundation for you to be contenders and to be considered in buying process.
By implementing your content strategy program you put your sales team in a stronger position for 2016, and you can increase your revenue significantly.