Archive | November, 2010

More Than 50% Of The Time You’re Not Needed

30 Nov

Wow, how do you feel now?

I was reading Adam Needles blog today, and he had an interesting stat. “XEROX sales trainer Robert Jolles for his book, Customer Centered Selling, indicates B2B buyers spend 79% of their time in the earliest portion of the buying process – i.e., acknowledging they have a problem and thinking through it, but not yet committing to the formal search for a solution.”

What I take from this is that you’re not allowed into your prospects buying process for almost 80% of it.  Take a deep breath, and continue reading.

Does this surprise you?  It shouldn’t.  With the ways that we use technology (social media, Google, reviews, news stories, blogs, etc.) are you at all surprised that before YOU make a purchase odds are you hit all of these, and more, then engage with the company or store when you’re ready to pull the trigger? I know my tolerance for wanting to talk with a salesperson has decreased over the years.

How many times have you purchased big ticket items, sight unseen, and had it shipped to your home? You read a lot of reviews (both on the retailer’s site and on other forums), read some blog posts, looked at other retailers’ prices and rankings then made your decision never once speaking to an individual.

Why should we treat our prospects any different? In a previous blog I discussed getting out of the way of our prospects.  With this recent information from Jolles it really goes to show that whether or not we embrace getting out of our prospects way, they are going to find ways to get themselves out of our way.

So now you get to make a decision.  Are you going to step out of your prospects way and give them the information they want, when they want it or are you going to interrupt their process and keep bothering them until they walk away?

It’s your decision!

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Does Your Web Content Speak to Everyone?

29 Nov

Initially, you may say, “My content only needs to speak to my target audience.”  This is true, but with more decision makers involved in purchasing these days it’s important to make sure you address all types with your Web content.

My personal philosophy (this is the route I choose), is to use William Moulton Marston’s, PhD, four quadrant behavioral model- DISC.  Here’s my Cliff Notes version:

D- Decisive, tough, impatient, strong-willed, competitive, demanding, independent, direct, does not listen (think CEO)

I- Sociable, talkative, open, enthusiastic, energetic, persuasive, spontaneous, impulsive, emotional, talks more than listens (think Sales)

S- Calm, steady, laid back, careful, patient, amiable, listens carefully, sincere, modest, indecisive, trustworthy

C- Precise, exact, analytical, logical, systematic, quiet, does not express emotions, careful, formal, disciplined (think Engineer or Software Developer)

Confused?  That’s okay.  Here’s a funny list of famous people and their DISC style.  This will help shed some light on the topic.

Using the DISC assessment, here’s how I’d suggest you layout Web content if you’re selling to all four types but the CEO is going to be the final decision maker.

The first two paragraphs, should target the “D”.  Get to the point, don’t sell features and benefits, tell them the business problem you’re solving.  Next, target the “I” and let them know a bit more about the company, and the product, then follow up with some third-party reports or customer testimonials for the “S”.  Finally, give the “C” all the information they want.  Have a hyperlink to the technical specifications and any other nitty-gritty details they may want to dig through.

This seems simple enough, but too often marketers ignore that different prospects want different information.  There are many ways you can configure your content on a page, so think about how you can include all four types above the fold and give them options to pick how they want to learn about your service or product.

Do you currently use DISC when writing emails or Web content?  Do you use DISC when talking to others?  Do you do already use something like DISC and are happy to see words put to it?  How does this help?

Do You Talk About Pain or Solutions?

17 Nov

Boot Camp U: Robyn Pettinger, Owner

I was struggling with what to write about today, then it hit me as I’m working on some job search stuff.  When talking about your business do you speak about the pains that you relieve (these can be personal and/or business) or do you go right into your solution?

A lot of people are trained to tell you what their company does, what their product/service provides and how to engage with them.  I dare you to spend one day and try only talking about the pains you address.

Take one of my favorite entrepreneurs, Robyn Pettinger.  She owns a small business, Boot Camp U.  Robyn is a great business owner because she doesn’t come out and say, “I can help you loose weight, inches and look great.”  Now, is that a side effect of her fitness programs?  Yes!  But what she does promise is that her small business can help you, “…transform your body and your life.”

I don’t know about you, but if someone offered me the opportunity to loose weight (I’d probably roll my eyes and think, “I’m sure I could handle to loose a few pounds.”) or transform my body and life, I’d choose the latter and have a ton of questions about how she does this.  Robyn speaks to the personal pains of her campers.  Throughout the Boot Camp U site she talks about having fun, taking on new challenges and even not paying the high costs associated with personal trainers.

Here’s what crosses my mind when I think of fitness:

-Is this something that is going to be fun or am I going to dread it and not want to make it a regular thing?

-Will I get bored and stop finding it challenging?

-Can I really afford a fitness program on my personal budget?

Answers to these questions are what will make me commit to giving my time, money and health to Boot Camp U over a gym, personal trainer or other fitness program.

So, think it over.  What are the pains (personal or business related) that your product/service addresses?

Do We Need To Get Out Of Our Prospects Way?

12 Nov

I was recently reading Adam Needles’ blog titled, Revising Our Demand Generation As B2B Marketers.  When discussing what successful demand requires he mentions “Nurturing the relationship between the buyer and the company/brand.”  He goes on to say, “Understanding that modern buyers increasingly don’t need a sales person between them and your company/brand, but yet they still need to have a relationship with you, which marketing must drive.”

I had to read this a few times, but then it clicked.  If I walk into a car dealer today I’m much more educated than my father walking into a car dealer 30 years ago.  Is it that I’m a car enthusiast or expert?  No.  It’s that technology gives buyers the ability to educate themselves well before you ever get the opportunity to speak with them about your product/service.  Articles, reviews, PR, social media, personal references, etc. are all easily accessible due to technology.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe in the value of a sales person but I do believe both marketing and sales need to take a step back and ask, “Am I getting in the way of my prospect getting to know my product/service?”  I look back at my marketing career and I can think of times where I was interfering.

My take away from Adam’s blog is that I need to find ways to place myself in my prospect’s path to finding a solution and not always interrupt their search to tell them I am the perfect solution.

What are your thoughts?

Is Generosity Part Of Your Marketing Mix?

11 Nov

My mother always believed in “Do unto others, as you would have others do unto you.”

Too often we forget that generosity should be part of our marketing mix. In recent years, we’ve learned to stop using the hard sell techniques and start looking like industry experts. This is a good start.

But how often do you ask your prospects or clients, “Is there anything I can help you with?”

You might be surprised how far this can take you, and there probably isn’t a check box or drop-down menu in SalesForce.com for this step in your sale process. But I challenge you to ask a current customer, client or prospect this question.

Generosity can also show up in your marketing efforts when you see a prospect or client struggling. You don’t always have to ask them if you can help but you can step up and give them the help they need.

I can list numerous companies that will forever have my business due to their generosity. Not only do I give them my business, but I ask my friends, family, colleagues and even strangers to support these companies.  Yesterday, I referred a friend to Zingermans.com.  The moment of generosity I shared with them occurred more than 4 years ago, I still share that story and tell people to visit their site.

I’m pretty sure generosity wasn’t listed as a channel in their marketing strategy but they have created a lifetime customer by acknowledging that generosity is what makes them successful.

How has generosity created brand or company loyalty in your life?

Advertising Placement: Have We Gone Too Far?

8 Nov

 

Unfortunate Ad Placement

Unfortunate Ad Placement

Men, you may want to skip this first paragraph. Women, keep reading.  I was at “a doctor” today and saw the most inappropriate location for a company sponsored ad.  It pains me to even type this, the stirrups had little socks on them with an advertisement for birth control.  You may have even experienced this for yourself.  I was a bit disturbed, amused and just bothered.  That was no time to advertise.

Back in the 90’s I was a recruiter for a local software company and was on the campus of Notre Dame.  In their daily student newspaper they had the best comic strip that has stuck with me for years.  In the background was the famous Touchdown Jesus and two students were sketched in front of the iconic piece.  The first student said, “Do you think the university has gone too far with corporate sponsorship?”  The other guy says, “Maybe.”  Underneath Touch Jesus is a sign that reads, “Touchdown Jesus Says, Raise Your Hands If You’re Sure.”  Back in the late 90’s, before internet marketing and branding had gone crazy, this seemed absolutely ridiculous.  Nowadays, I don’t think I’d be too shocked.

I found one online example of poor ad placement that made me giggle.  Do you have any favorites?

 

 

Poor Packaging

5 Nov

I need scissors to open my scissors.

I was washing my hair this morning and realized I struggle daily to open my shampoo and conditioner bottles.  I don’t think this is complicated.  When testing their packaging, didn’t someone at least get their hands wet and try to open the lids?  It baffles me.

This made me think of other items with poor packaging.  The worst offender- scissors.  Have you ever bought scissors only to see a picture of scissors on the packaging showing you how to open your newly purchased scissors?  It frustrates me.

How about the expensive private label sunscreen I recently purchased?  It wasn’t cheap and after three uses the pump system broke.   When I took it back to the retailer they told the packaging for the entire label was being redone.  Really, no one tested the product packaging more than three times to figure this out?

I know there are more examples of poor packaging, so help me out.  What have you come across that is poorly packaged?