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Sellers & Marketers: Have Them at Hello!

by Matt Bertuzzi on Thu, Dec 04, 2008


Sellers and marketers, are you losing them at hello?

What an important question to ask ourselves. Jill Konrath asks this very question on her Selling to Big Companies blog. Here is an excerpt:

Instead of capturing their prospect's attention, most sellers create resistance with their opening remarks and blow the opportunity.

Why do bad things like that happen to good people?
In short, weak value propositions.

If you're running into trouble cracking into corporate accounts, most likely the root cause is your failure to clearly articulate the business outcomes that customers realize from using your products, services or solutions.

A commenter combined Jill's perspective with some Seth Godin: "If you can't state your position in eight words or less, you don't have a position."

I would add to that a little David Meerman Scott:  "Nobody cares about your products and services except you and the others in your organization. What your potential customers do care about are themselves. And they care a great deal about solving their problems."

So what to do? Channeling Seth Meerman Konrath I would argue 4 things are key when delivering the message:

  • Be clear & concise - On the phone they can't see our gestures or read our body language. Our messages have to come through quickly and clearly. We also need to keep in mind that our buyers are experts in their business not in ours. We shouldn't use jargon, acronyms or industry-speak. Here's a quick test: Can your best friend/sibling/spouse understand your pitch? If not, chances are your buyers won't either.

  • Be remarkable - We sometimes forget, but...other salespeople are trying to sell our decision maker at the same time. When we sound just like the previous three sales calls / voicemail, we aren't worth their attention. Over the phone, it costs the buyer absolutely nothing to give us the boot. The bad call that might steam you for an hour, but the buyer has forgotten within 60 seconds.

  • Be honest - So we need to share how we solve their problems clearly, concisely, remarkably and honestly. If I claim to increase your visit to lead conversion rate by 200%, I better have rock solid intel on how you are performing today or have had other customers with those kinds of results. Otherwise, I look like a fool. Especially today, voicemails can be forwarded, emailed, blogged and generally passed about. We risk doing ourselves and our brands disservice when we stretch remarkable into dishonest.

  • Be relevant - In my opinion, a message targeted to the masses cannot be remarkable. We as sellers and marketers need to attack head-on the profile, problems & politics of each of our buyer personas. If we pitch the VP of Sales & the CFO the same exact message, we will lose them "at hello."

I bet most every organization has these 4 pieces to the puzzle already. Unfortunately, they exist in group mind and haven't been documented so they can be replicated.

So how do put the messages down on paper? Here are my thoughts:

  • Get your people in a room - Marketing, Product Management, Sales Management, Field Sales, Inside Sales, etc.

  • Pitch each other - Which messages resonate with which personas? Keeping trimming the fat.

  • Road test the results - Inside Sales a great place to test your message. In terms of dials & connects this is where the rubber (your message) meets the road (your buyers).

  • Track the results - What worked and what did not? Stay consistent on the message for a month or two. If you over tweak, you won't have enough data to know what is working.

  • Repeat - This process should not end. The market changes, you have multiple products, you open up to new industries, etc. keep it going.

Please share your thoughts! Are you a Seth Meerman Konrath-ist too?

Topics: cold calling, target marketing, branding

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