Over the last few weeks I have had a bunch of meetings and workshops with a diverse groups of sellers, ranging from TV to radio to CRM. And it struck me that salespeople could really do with applying a truth of modern marketing.
I think it is fair to say that B2C marketers have, by and large, learned to place the consumer at the center of their communication plans. Most have moved away from a brand-centric -- or worse, a campaign-centric approach -- to reaching customers.
We are seeing marketers figure out customer purchase paths and/or customer journeys -- which, to nobody’s surprise, look quite different from five or 10 years ago.
Marketers are also finding better tech solutions to help them deal with the data needed prior to developing these new customer journeys, and to benefit from the data that spins off from the campaigns they thus deploy.
However, salespeople in advertising/marketing still don't take this approach. The majority seem to develop their sales pitch based on their perceived brand or service strengths, rather than having me, the intended buyer, at the center of their pitch.
For example, both the TV and radio sales teams I worked with were unanimously convinced that their strongest selling points were essentially the same as 20 or 30 years ago — namely reach, impact, brand-building ability, and so on. And while these arguments are undoubtedly true, they are not the things marketers care about most.
According to research published by OnBrand Magazine in March of this year, CMOs’ top three metrics and KPIs used to determine brand marketing
-- New customer acquisition (75%)
-- Social media engagement (72%)
-- Qualitative feedback from customers (58%)
The stuff that the TV and radio reps were using as arguments were not even in the CMOs’ top 10, and in fact fell into the “Other” grouping, which comprised only 9% of respondents.
We can argue at length whether these are the right metrics and KPIs, but that argument is immaterial because they simply are the right metrics -- because the CMOs say so. And since that's the case, it makes all the sense in the world to build your sales arguments around these criteria.
This doesn't mean that your product benefits are not relevant (or, perhaps, even “better”) than what the CMOs are using. But I have always believed that if you can translate what you are trying to sell into something that the other party wants to buy, you stand a much better chance to seal the deal.
Your problem might be a sales slump, an inventory overload or a sales target you are trying to reach. But that is your problem, not the buying party’s problem. If the buyer wants to work on “new customer acquisition,” you should build your argument around how you can deliver that with your amazingly appropriate platform. Y
ou will probably find an open mind if you come in with “Here's how we can help you deliver your goals” rather than “Please listen to why our product/service is so great.”
Salespeople: Put your consumer, your end user, at the heart of your pitch.