1. Turn greater insight into clear differentiation
and increased revenues
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
Less tolerant of suppliers who
Your customers are...
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
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
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
How to close the insight gap
are our Take
are our Prove
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.
“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. Connecting Sales and Marketing activities
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
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!”
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.
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. 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
Thoughtful SellingTM Model
Thoughtful SellingTM Model
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.
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
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.
Here are some things you can do now to become more
thoughtful in how you approach campaigns and conversations:
9. Launch International is a strategy and services firm that helps companies build
and execute high-performance, integrated marketing and sales enablement
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
Think differently about the road to revenue