Tag Archives: Effective Selling

Marketing’s Role In The Selling Process

Managing Your Role In The Selling Process Is Key To Marketing Success

You have all seen this before – the classic “Selling Process” (aka “the Sales Funnel”.  Any marketer you come across should be able to explain to you how this works – in theory.  The challenges happen when the marketing team’s idea of how this works does not align with upper management.  Unfortunately, this is a very common occurrence.

The Selling Process

 

What happens when the board or C-Suite have a different view of Marketing’s role in this process than you have?  At a minimum, you end up wasting precious resources.  At a more serious level, this can lead to some pretty tough discussions.  This can all be amped up if sales results are not meeting expectations.  So . . . getting alignment is key.  But how do you get there?

Aligning Expectations on The Selling Process – Three Simple Steps

Achieving alignment may not be easy, but you can get on the right track by following these three simple steps.

  1. Get to know how your sales team interacts with customers.  There is no substitute to seeing this live in the field, preferably right in front of the customer.  Are there things you could provide them with to accelerate this process?  Are they calling on true qualified leads, or are the “customers” glorified cold calls?  Ask your rep:  How do you define a qualified lead?  It is crucial you perform this first before jumping to step 2.
  2. Ask Executive Management what they expect from Marketing. Yes – you need to ask them.  Ask them to describe (in detail) how they see marketing’s role in this Selling Process.  This is not a 15 minute discussion.  It might not be completed in a single meeting.  Be sure you are asking many questions, and taking good notes.  Let them know you will be doing a lot of “capturing” and will need this great input from them as you develop your marketing strategy.
  3. Re-Define Your Marketing Strategy.  You are now armed with very valuable information from the market as well as the company principals.  Your marketing strategy will be centered on alignment.  First you include recommendations for changes in how you equip the sales team to drive new business.  Then the tougher one.  You have to point out areas in which executive management has to “modify” their expectations.  They will be far more accepting of this when you wow them with your field research.  Along with your updated marketing strategy and planned activities.

Having these valuable conversations with the field and executive management will begin the alignment process.  You will likely discover other nuggets/ideas in the process that should also help drive results.  Time to start having those conversations – and asking questions!

 

 

 

 

Effective Selling:  Guide Don’t Push

Resist the temptation to “impress the customer” with what you can do.  Don’t force solutions, the key to effective selling is understanding real customer challenges.

Part of effective selling is being enthusiastic. To grow your sales, you need to be genuinely excited to share what you have to offer. Your enthusiasm needs to be kept in check, however. Don’t let your excitement (look what we can do) dominate your customer meetings.   Get back to the basics.  Asking questions, being a good listener, and discovering true customer needs.

Effective Selling - Solving Problems
Note: The absence of “Jump to Conclusions” in the graphic

I just heard a story in which a rep was in a customer meeting, along with her manager and a corporate representative. The rep told the story of how the executives just could not wait to “impress” the customer with all of the things they could do for him. Basically “look what we can do!”  Ignoring the customer’s true needs, these executives laid out a plan of how they would deploy various tactics to make things better for him. The only problem: The customer did not perceive these as challenges! The sales team skipped the key element of listening (i.e. empathizing) and jumped right to a conclusion. These sales executives were effectively designing a solution for a problem that did not exist. This can be a terrible mistake.  Sometimes these things in your customer’s world are in fact developed and implemented by the customer themselves.  They may in fact be proud of their own solution.  Framing that same situation as a “problem” is along the lines of calling their kids ugly!  The customer ultimately described this situation as “The Circus Coming to Town”.

It is absolutely true that your role in sales sometimes requires you to “peel the onion”.  You may need to reveal challenges that are not readily apparent. There will be times when the customer needs some help uncovering their challenges (and perhaps admitting them!). But keep a lookout for signals to identify where you are treading on thin ice.  You will get cues as to whether you are entering a “protected” realm.  In these cases, trying to “solve” this “problem” will only lead to resistance, and push the customer further away.

Keep asking questions, try to reveal the pain points but don’t get hung up with too much “look what we can do“.  You are working to gain your customer’s trust as a solutions provider, not becoming their “knight in shining armor”.

Guide the customer, do not “push” them.  It is a subtle but important distinction that will impact your results (and income!).