In the age-old struggle between marketing and sales, some have forgotten that you are on the same team. You both have the same goal. Marketing strives to attract potential customers, and sales is supposed to convert those opportunities into revenue, right? Not so fast. That's where the problem begins.
In order to feel like they are doing an amazing job, do you think that the marketing department wants to attract a small number or a large number of opportunities? Exactly. They usually want to attract as many potential customers as possible. Oops. By casting the net wide enough to not miss anyone, they are also attracting people who are a waste of your time.
The sales organization feels pressure to convert leads into revenue. But, if the net that marketing casts is too broad, then the sales organization wastes a ton of time sorting through garbage opportunities that are not likely to turn into revenue. It gets worse, though. If you spend too much time chasing garbage leads, you might overlook a good opportunity. It's time to stop falling into these traps and start attracting the right sales opportunities. I wouldn't just throw this out there without a formula for success.
Create Great Content
Creating great content is easier said than done. We cover the formula for success in Same Side Selling. It is based on my co-author Jack Quarles' buyer perspective, and on research for how executives make buying decisions. As we share in the book, buyers first need to know a) why they might need what you offer, or what problem it solves. Then they need to b) develop confidence over the likely result or outcome of that solution for their business.
Based on this, great content should follow a simple flow:
- Describe an issue that your ideal client would be facing;
- Explain the impact of that issue on their organization;
- Share why customers tell you it is so important to solve;
- Share the outcome of those for whom you have solved that issue (without talking about your solution).
- Be honest about alternatives -- especially the ones they can implement for free.
Notice that the formula leaves out what you did, or how you solved the problem. Oh, and leave out the call to action for them to contact you. If the audience isn't smart enough to figure that one out, they're not smart enough to send you a payment at some point, either. Your job is to educate and share, not sell.
The goal of the content is to attract the RIGHT potential customers who can identify with the issues you excel at solving, and might have a heightened desire to solve that issue after reading the impact and importance pieces.
What You Should Ask When They Contact You
When a potential customer contacts you, they will likely ask for a meeting to learn more about your solution. They might ask for a demonstration or for references. Don't take the bait. Just because they expressed interest doesn't mean you have a fit.
When they contact you, they might reference the article or case study. Once they share the article that sparked their call or email, you might feel excited about the opportunity and feel compelled to tell them all about your solution. Don't do it! The first step is disarm the notion that you are there to sell something. At this point, you don't know enough to determine if you can help them, or if their issue is worth solving (You might be thinking "They called. It's a good opportunity." Not yet. Patience will serve you well.) You might start by asking "What was it about that article that caught your attention? Then you work together to see if there is a FIT.
Keys To Remember
Getting a meeting, giving a presentation or scheduling a demo should never be the goal. Remember to attract the right targets by speaking about the problems you excel at solving, and by focusing on the fit and their needs at the first interaction.
It's Your Turn
Do you or your team fall into these traps? Do you try to attract a wide audience, or just the RIGHT audience? What steps have you found to be most effective?