Monday, April 23, 2012

Doctors and Marketers - Not so Different?

When you go to the doctor you expect careful examination of your specific ailments, right?  You have no interest in a template response that doesn’t evaluate your pain points or symptoms.  You do not want to be treated like a textbook.  So, why are there so many sales and marketers treating their leads and prospects like data and not like companies with individual needs?

If your doctor measured your weight, height and then factored your age to spit out a remedy for your problem, you’d probably be dissatisfied with that visit and quickly look for a new physician.  Let’s call those measurements, firmographic data.  On the other hand, if your physician sat you down and listened to some of your symptoms and engaged in a conversation that allowed he/she to understand why you are having the symptoms, they would much more likely be able to make an accurate assessment and provide you with helpful remedies. Let’s call these symptoms, triggers. Sales and Marketing is no different. 

This is not to say that at the doctor’s office they shouldn’t measure your height, weight and age.  It is a necessary starting point.  In sales and marketing, firmographic data is important.  We need it in order to begin the segmentation process, but you can’t stop there; there are other symptoms to consider. We like to call these symptoms event triggers.  What events have occurred that could factor into your leads buying process? Did they just have an M&A? Did the VP step down?  Did they just publish their earnings?  These are important questions to help decide what your next move will be.  Think of yourself as the doctor – how are you prepared to best help your prospects’ and leads’ pain points? Firmographic data will only get you so far; you need dynamic data to make an accurate assessment of your patient.  You need to research and listen to their needs to find the best remedy that your leads and prospects deserve.

How do you find that data?

Finding dynamic event data is much simpler now that there are automated solutions to help you discover which companies need your services. Not taking advantage of these services is like a doctor only looking at weight, height and age and prescribing you medicine that you might not need when you might not need it.

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

5 Ways Triggers Help to Avoid Negative Brand Equity

I am not sure if triggers could have helped in the BP oil spill, but certainly for United and Dell, they could have listened a little more closely to their leads and clients, preventing the negative backlash that now, they just can’t shake.

Here are our tips:

1. Provide personal, pointed messaging.  Take segmenting to a whole new level using event triggers. You just discovered that Facebook acquired Instagram; do you have something that Facebook needs?  See your opportunity to provide the right message to the right people, so that they respond.

2. Time your message.  When do you want to send your targeted message and to whom? In other words, read the writing on the wall.  Is it the right time?  Use technology to help you find the right person to send your message to and when. Did they just acquire a new company?

3. Remember: It's not about you; it's about them.  Don't proselytize your product, but LISTEN and commend your leads' and clients' achievements.  For example, Congratulations on your big sales win!

4. Show Authenticity. Be you, in your own voice, demonstrating a keen understanding of both, your product and your prospects’ pain points. Triggers let you show that you have done your research.  Your leads and clients will listen more intently, if they know you know a little bit about them.  Don’t send a template email that doesn’t highlight any of your leads achievements; they can always tell.

5. Create consistency.  Especially in B2B, consistency in the backbone of building trusted, long-lasting relationships with leads and clients at enterprise companies.  Event triggers keep you posted, and let you set up a system for when the best time is to reach out.

Take Away:
Whether it is learning to truly segment lead lists for marketing, or learning to send a personalized email highlighting prospect’s latest achievements for sales, the point is: it is time to pay more attention and be more thoughtful of your clients, leads and prospects. Why? Because this bolsters positive brand equity, letting you truly stand out from other competitors. How do you stand out in the crowd? You deliver a message that will get you heard.  And how do you discover the message? You use triggers to keep you in the know.

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Monday, April 2, 2012

Storytelling: Not Just for Marketers Anymore?

Can we measure up to some of the best storytellers of all time? There are some that can.

We all know that guy/girl at the party that attracts a crowd of eager-beaver listeners with merely the sound of their voice intonating that an anecdotal story is coming. What do we do: we, not only stop whatever it is we are doing to listen and laugh, but by the end of the story, we feel completely connected to our storyteller-at-large.  We may even reach out later on Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter to follow up with that existing relationship.  We feel like we know them and want to hear more.

Brands are told to create compelling stories too. Everyone wants to feel connected, even the most rigid and technical companies. Traditionally, it is marketing that is told to create the story: think Mad Men and the Kodak projector and Facebook with the introduction of timeline.  We can agree that the beginning of the funnel is the place for the storytelling process, but it is equally important to communicate a convincing story through out the entire sales cycle.

A compelling story that conjures up an emotional response makes your prospects and leads connect and trust you—it could make all the difference in shortening your sales and marketing cycles.

There are a plentitude of resources available to educate marketers on good storytelling techniques, but not nearly enough resources available to educate salespeople on the importance of a good story, and often this skill is over-looked entirely because closing the deal—the result, becomes more important than the journey.

So, how do you tell a good story?

Remember the 5Ws of Journalism?

Your story starts here. The 5ws will help you deliver the right message in both, marketing and in sales.  Furthermore, this is the chance for true collaboration with marketing and sales.  Discovering the Ws is much less daunting when using triggers.  As you build a relationship with prospects and leads remember that triggers can help you build trust.  You have done your research and because of that research your story just became that much richer.  Humanize your brand, your product and watch as your leads convert-- with just the intonation in your voice.

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