Choosing your Audience
Targeting the low hanging fruits, laser focus on customers that can highly benefit from your product due to the very nature of their business, e.g. for an organisation who sells Cloud solutions, companies/ individuals who have decentralised operations, distributed organisation, require remote access to information & have need for collaboration would be perfect bet because your product can answer their core business challenge.
Preparing the Marketing-Cum-Sales Pitch
Sell an experience to your customers not a product, demonstrating that your product is tailor made for them. At no point your marketing/sales messaging should imply “buy me because you need me“, instead it should be “buy me only if you like me after you experience me“.
Key Marketing Approach ( Through Partner Marketing )
All Marketing teams should get one thing clear, your sales force knows more about your audience than any Market research report. They are the true brand ambassador to the customer and know each & every pulse in the market. Before you freeze upon your marketing plans, always try to include your partners & sales teams early on in the marketing process leveraging their business expertise dealing with the customers and through that make your communication more relevant.
On the other hand, one of the best ways of marketing your product to the customers is by making your partners & sales teams an extended marketing force. It should be one of the key talks of marketing team to helping your partner to sell better through effective communication & by using latest technology & tools.
Imagine if a CEO of a company has 3 products in front of him, all of them answers the same problem, one of them is yours, what would you do? In this situation, often people trust referrals or live examples.
- Play by influence, along with your product demo, provide your sales force customer specific case studies in which product already benefit to people in same business that they drive.
- May the most popular brand wins, make sure your social media efforts are firing on all cylinders all the time, in order to create sufficient hype around the product in the business circles. Try increasing your chances, that your customer has heard about your product through some social forum.
Digital Play through Marketing Automation
A lot of business & marketing teams may not realise, that now your website is lot more than just a URL on your visiting card. It can become your virtual salesforce, but only if you would want it to behave that way. Your website should not just talk about your product but also about scenarios in which your product is beneficial to your customers. Increasing engagement on the website by showcasing more business relevant & audience re-usable content is super critical in today’s digital era.
Remember, your offices may be closed, your telephone lines may be down, but anyone can find you from anywhere through your website and when they stumble upon you, your website should behave as a good host. A lot of Marketing automation tools like Eloqua & Marketo would empower you to create a virtual marketing manager available 24*7 to churn quality prospects for your sales force.
Reciprocate your efforts on the social media channels by creating discussions around the key challenges faced by your customers and how you are working together with them to improve upon your product. Create an environment, where customers can talk their heart out about their experience ( good or bad ) with your product. Trust me you will be lucky to find 100 such customers who are willing to talk about you without purchasing your product. Keep sharing ideas with your customers around how to get the best out of your product.
Minimise the # of steps between lead generation & Opportunity generation, I call it Marketing optimisation. Think about it, what’s the point of doing lead generation if it lacks any intent to sell to the customer. In demand generation, we capture the intent to purchase and not just a lead. This is possible only if you have the necessary intelligence about the prospect customer from the experience he had about your product during marketing, which you can pass on to your sales force. Just passing the customer info details for cold calling would not suffice, marketing manager should also capture customer inputs like level of interest in the product, product experience ( if any ), customer’s key business challenge, knowledge level about the product etc. If all this can be handled at the level of demand generation, sales would be able to maximise conversions by customising their conversations to suit the client’s requirement.
Recommendation for Marketing: He is as much part of a sales team as a sales manager, but only when he brings an intent to contribute to the overall business objective aka revenue.
Recommendation for Sales: They should always lend a helping hand in ensuring ground level support for the marketing teams in implementing their plans, assuming both of them are working towards the common goal. Afterall, collaboration is the best form learning.
Let me leave you with some Hemingway as a food for thought:
“My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way” ~ Ernest Hemingway