Thoughtful Selling™


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Turn greater insight for sales and marketing into clear differentiation and increased revenues

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Thoughtful Selling™

  1. 1. Turn greater insight into clear differentiation and increased revenues Thoughtful SellingTM 1
  2. 2. CEOs and corporate directors are facing a difficult reality: their organizations are simply unable to create and deliver a compelling story that differentiates their solutions from the rest of the market. The explosion of products and services has crowded the market and confused customers. Similar messages are coming from you and your competitors, despite massive attempts in messaging upgrades. Meanwhile, buyers are uncovering the vast majority of their information from the Internet and forming their own opinions before they actually engage with you. In fact, a recent study showed that customers and prospects find nearly 70% of their product information on their own. (The other 30% is split evenly between Marketing and Sales.) Finally, these smarter buyers expect customer-facing personnel, regardless of title or job description, to engage with a comparable level of understanding. They are less and less tolerant of suppliers who don’t appreciate their problems—and have zero tolerance for salespeople without a viable solution to these problems. Differentiation is critical—and difficult Hearing similar messages from you and your competitors Finding their information from the Internet Less tolerant of suppliers who don’t understand Thoughtful SellingTM Your customers are... ? ? 2
  3. 3. The ironic result? Companies are producing record amounts of content to support and combat the current environment. But when you get the content machine in full gear, you often diminish the quality of what you’re producing—not to mention the value it offers the person consuming it. Most companies are building high-level messages around what a company does or tactical messages about what products do. They’re speaking at the 20,000 foot level or the 2,000 foot level. What’s often missing is what’s in between. That “in between,” which we call the “insight gap,” is the place where dots get connected from brand to product. How do you connect your buyers with the information they care about? Our customers’ journeys have gotten incredibly complex. At the same time, your customer-facing teams are working hard to sell higher and go deeper into their accounts. And, your marketers and sales enablers are being asked to create tools and assets to help reach more targets in more ways. However, that’s no small task. Everybody is trying to be a trusted advisor to their customers, but most campaigns and conversations are not grounded in a way that supports the objective. That’s because brand pillars and product messages don’t resonate with buyers and budget holders. Connecting your buyers with your information 20,000 ft. brand positioning 2,000 ft. product messages Insight Gap Thoughtful SellingTM Insight Gap 3
  4. 4. They might say, “I need to know that the solution works. When it doesn’t work, they call me.” For these titles, we want to share insight that is focused on experience and expertise—things like lessons learned and best practices—because they’re looking for suppliers that can help them interpret “the now.” Most organizations know how to create content for this target. But, there are two problems to think about: the first is whether or not the percentage of the content you produce is too great and second is whether you’ve armed your salespeople with the proper context for using this content in their conversation paths. They might say, “I need to know that there’s a system and process for solving this problem. If it isn’t repeatable or if it doesn’t deliver on the goal, they’ll call me.” For these titles, we suggest insight that is focused on “applied perspective”: a data-driven strategy that is supplemented with understanding of that data by your subject matter experts. This is an area where many people struggle because it’s where invention happens and often requires support from parts of your organization that are outside your control. They might say, “I need to know that we’re making the right choice for the long haul, and that this supplier will help me plan our technology future.” For these titles, we suggest insight that is visionary. This is your executive-to-executive story and usually includes views from industry experts and thought leaders. How to close the insight gap SVPs/C-level executives are our Take Us Forward People. Directors/VPs are our Model It People. Managers/ directors are our Prove It People. NOW FUTURE Thoughtful SellingTM 4
  5. 5. You can mix and match these models depending on your goals. The point is to make more informed decisions about how you invest in perspective—developing content that’s aligned with the target you’re trying to reach and what you want to say to them. Additionally, it’s critical to ensure that salespeople understand how to use this information as part of a conversation path. Before Sales can be activated to carry its part of story into customers and prospects, however, you should build sales requirements. For example, you can’t send a new sales rep into a manager-level contact with visionary data. Likewise, the C-suite rarely asks about IT best practices. Sales leaders must determine what type of customer-facing individual should present a specific message. Maybe it’s a pre-salesperson. Perhaps it’s an overlay global account person or the everyday account exec. Whoever it is, that individual takes a narrative—a specific conversation—to the buyer. Instead of selling products, the rep is sharing insight—and walking into the account prepared with intelligence that prospects won’t find anywhere else. Thoughtful SellingTM 5 “If the sales team falls short of the goal, whose fault is it? Program managers need to identify what type of skills are required to bring a message forward and what the approach should look like.”
  6. 6. Connecting Sales and Marketing activities Marketing/ Sales Enablement “Hey Sales, Here’s a copy of a cool campaign we just launched. People can win an iPad. We’ll send you some leads. PS - Here are 20 questions you can ask them.” “Hey Marketing, Thanks for the stuff. We couldn’t use it so we made our own. Here’s what we made. PS - Thanks for paying for it!” Thoughtful SellingTM Once you’ve determined the kinds of insight you want to create for the different targets you care about, you’ll need to plan an execution path. Typical routes include inbound and outbound campaigns and sales conversations. The trouble is, these two sets of activities are often disjointed and disintegrated, which causes confusion. And, this confusion leads to missed opportunities. 6 Often, we see Marketing create a campaign and “throw it over the fence” without proper tools. Or, we see Sales develop its own messages and assets because it doesn’t like or understand what it’s getting from Marketing. There’s no wonder, then, that buyers (and even sellers themselves) are increasingly rating salespeople unprepared for the conversations taking place. After all, sellers have often only been part of the Sales-side of the process—and have little or no data regarding Marketing’s efforts.
  7. 7. Creating high-performance programs It seems obvious that a synchronized approach to marketing campaigns and sales enablement would produce better results. Most organizations aren’t architected to sustain this model, however. Professionals work in Marketing, Demand Gen, Sales Enablement or Thought Leadership. They have a specific budget and are tasked with specific responsibilities in support of specific group goals and specific corporate directives. And, they often don’t have the time or authority to move beyond. But no matter where you sit in your organization, we believe that you can spend the same amount of time, energy, and money on your strategies and produce content that your competitors won’t have. That differentiating content would be based on insight that other parts of your organization can (and should) leverage for their own efforts. We call this the Thoughtful Selling model for creating high-performance programs. Thoughtful SellingTM Investment Unique Insights Campaigns Conversations Revenue Unique Insights Campaigns Conversations Sales Readiness 7 Thoughtful SellingTM Model Thoughtful SellingTM Model
  8. 8. Getting started By following a Thoughtful Selling model, you can anchor your corporate knowledge in a way that’s valuable and easy to carry forward to your targeted audiences. In the process, you’ll eliminate confusion and create competitive advantage. And, you’ll truly become that trusted advisor we all strive to be. Thoughtful SellingTM 1. Look at where you have the opportunity to make a real impact. Connecting the dots between brand and product is where organizations struggle most--and where differentiation begins. 2. Align your efforts in a way that supports a longer, bigger conversation path. Executives are attracted to “forward-lean” perspectives that help them plan for the future. 3. Integrate across silos. If you’re in Marketing, think about what tools salespeople really need to have appropriate and meaningful discussions. If you’re in Sales Enablement, think about how thought leadership-driven campaigns can provide the foundation for better selling scenarios. 4. Identify a few metrics to measure. Make sure you have defined what success looks like. 8 Here are some things you can do now to become more thoughtful in how you approach campaigns and conversations:
  9. 9. Launch International is a strategy and services firm that helps companies build and execute high-performance, integrated marketing and sales enablement programs. We help our clients rethink the way they approach interactions with buyers— both through their campaign activities and their sales conversations—to make sure they are insight-based, customer-centric, aligned to the audience and need, and synchronized across both marketing and sales activities. Contact us to learn more about how Launch International can help you find your way to a more predictable path to revenue. (p) 215-230-4340 Thoughtful SellingTM 9 Think differently about the road to revenue