Product Camp Austin8 2009 Cowboy Messaging


Published on

  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide
  • I am Kurt Ballard, a partner at ZIGZAG Marketing. I have spent 25 years in sales and marketing roles for large and small firms including General Motors, Hewitt and emerging technology and services companies. I’ve started businesses, bought/sold them, and closed them in 4 countries. That is a true global rap sheet. Most recently I was CMO at a global software firm and ran the sales, branding and strategy worldwide.

    I am a story teller. And our story today is about Cowboys.

    I have a confession to make: I have been a Cowboy.

    I’ve worked with Cowboys in here in the US, in Australia and even the U.K. Cowboys are everywhere.

    Today we’ll discuss Cowboy Messaging and some ways to corral it.

  • There are 4 basic elements to a story – The Setting is the first

    Comment on the split: Most of the product people work hard to create sales tools and sales people are expected to use them

  • Recent studies have shown that 90% of marketing collateral is considered useless by sales.  This is according to Aberdeen. That means that up to 90% of the time and money spent on creating sales and marketing tools and collateral is being wasted. People are getting frustrated in marketing, sales and the executive suite. Imagine spending so much time and effort and not getting an uptick in revenue. The good news is there is a ton of upside for most !

    Wouldn’t it be better if people created marketing tools that sales people would actually use – and that worked?

  • What is “Cowboy Messaging?” Frustrated sales people feel like they’re not getting what they need to succeed from their product marketing team so they create their own freelance messages and sales tools., and before you know it, everyone is saying something different. Sales people just want to sell – to win deals.
    And, product marketing teams are equally frustrated because they expend tremendous efforts creating sales tools that aren’t used.

    Commonly referred to as “cowboy messaging” it can derail your revenue stream if not collared quickly. Ultimately, this rogue behavior wastes time, confuses buyers and loses sales not to mention potential misrepresentation should inaccurate messages become part of a contract.
  • Three of the most common risks associated with cowboy messaging are:

    Wasted Time. Product Marketing is creating tools of no value, while sales people spend valuable selling time creating their own messaging. This is costly on so many levels, especially time. In today’s economy sales pipelines are thin and qualified opportunities are more difficult to find. How much time and resources are lost creating tools that no one uses?

    Show study results.

    Lost sales. Confused buyers extend sales cycles and ultimately go to a competitor or do nothing at all. As buyers research potential vendors to learn who will best meet their needs they seek solutions to problems. Sales people too often talk all about the product and never mention how it will help the customer. This usually drives business away. Sales are being lost to competitors and to everyone’s arch rival “the status quo.” B2C - GM, Starbucks - missing the mark, B2B – Kodak – getting it right.

    Potential misrepresentation. Claims and statements of the cowboy messages often appear in proposals, statements of work and even customer contracts where the claims can become legally binding. Well-meaning sales people overpromise in the sales process and customers hold them to their words. Once the deal is won others must deliver on those promises while your sales person is off to the next deal. I’ve lived through this myself with a F500 client. Over promising and under delivering creates ill will at best and legal liabilities at worst.

    Any other risks come to mind?
  • The Resolution. Now, we need to discuss getting everyone on the same page. We need each hand to know what the other is up to.

    “It’s no longer about ears and eyeballs, it’s about hearts and minds.”

    So, here are 5 things that you can do.
  • First,
    Perform a quick collateral audit. Collect all the collateral product marketing created for sales and ask two questions of the sales team for each tool:
    When do you use this tool in your sales process?
    It is important to know if a tool is being used and if so, when. This helps with qualification, discovery, needs analysis – from the sales process. Important considerations from the buying process are research, comparison and commitment. Knowing when a tool has the greatest utility guides the development process of future tools.

    How useful is it in helping you win deals?
    This is the evaluation step. If the tools are used, yet are not helping sales close business take another look at their content. Maybe the message needs tweaking. Every job is easier with the right tools. Using a hammer when a screwdriver is needed is frustrating.

    Tools that are not used should be reworked to enhance their utility.

  • Next, create a “Stop Doing” list for product marketing that includes the time they spend creating tools that are not useful in the audit.

    I first read about the “Stop Doing” list in “Good to Great” by Jim Collins. He stated that one of the common themes of the “Great” companies is that they all looked at what they were currently doing that they needed to Stop Doing. Collins says, “You need a laser like focus on doing first things first. And that means having a ferocious understanding of what you are not going to do.”

    Make a list of the tools that did not pass the audit. Measure the hours and costs associated with them. This is your Stop Doing List and the time freed up can be spent enhancing the useful tools and developing new ones.

    What should be on your STOP DOING LIST?
  • Now that we have a list to stop doing those things that add no uptick in revenue; take a look at identifying your best tools. Your Top 5.

    Get the product marketing and sales teams together in one room and don’t let anyone out until they have messaging that works and consensus on the top five collaterals that drive higher win rates.

    Review the tools that garnered the highest support and stack rank them.

    Your list may include things like product brochures, case studies, testimonials, web pages & blogs, social networking, and SEO, presentations & demos.

    These are the tools that win business!
  • The secret is out: Focus on Buyers and you will increase your sales. My friend, sales trainer Kevin Davis likes to call it, “Getting Into Your Customer’s Head”.

    Take a look at your messaging. Is it all about the company and the product? Your products and messaging must be all about the problems and challenges faced by your target audience while offering viable solutions. How well do you know your market?
    What are the current trends and challenges to the organizations? List them out.

    Telling is not selling, asking questions is the best way to engage your customers.
    Your tool kit should include conversational questions that highlight the challenges, and the complications they cause.
    What has changed in their business?
    What do they think should be happening now but is not?
    Prepare your sales team for likely questions with open ended responses that lead to further discovery and qualification

    Remember, this whole process is for the buyer and they are looking for the answer to the following question, “Who offers the best solution to my problem?” When you are the best choice – you will win more deals. It may be stating the obvious, yet it’s often overlooked.
  • Finally, evaluate the ways in which you make your sales collateral available. Is it a random search process that becomes a time-consuming archaeological dig, or have you presented a navigation that’s built on the ways your salespeople think about collateral and answering customer needs? Do most of the documents deal with the front end of the buying process or the conclusion or commitment stage?

    It’s not enough to simply put tools on a shared network drive.

    Sales people are not Indiana Jones, sales people are the coin operated customer marketing is serving. Consider organizing it based on the customer problem solved or the industry vertical – not the product name. Make your tools easy to find, intuitive to use, and most of all compelling for your target buyers.

    By creating a sales tools library in this manner, you can lessen the time salespeople spend on collateral creation and keep your brand message on track
  • This is our framework, it’s a measureable, scalable and repeatable process product companies can use to build products and sales tools people will actually want.

    The objective is to get a process in place that works for you.

    They can be downloaded on our website.
  • This came to me from a buyer at WalMart 20 yrs ago. Simple and profound.

    In closing I offer the climax to our story, The key to all of this is collaborating with your salespeople.

    This outcome won't happen in a vacuum. Sales and marketing will need to actually talk to each other. The time savings is worth it. So are shortened sales cycles and more engaged customers. Your return will be a measureable uptick in revenue.
  • Register at  

  • more resources including:
    Tips and articles
    Webinar archives and
    other useful tools.

    And check out our LinkedIn Group to share with others.

    No one makes it easier to grow revenue by creating and delivering simple messages that differentiate. Than ZIGZAG Marketing.

    Thank you for your attention.
  • Product Camp Austin8 2009 Cowboy Messaging

    1. 1. Copyright 2009 ZIGZAG Marketing, Inc. All rights reserved. Cowboy Sales Messaging & Ways to Corral It Kurt Ballard Austin, Texas August 15, 2009
    2. 2. Copyright 2009 ZIGZAG Marketing, Inc. All rights reserved. The Setting Product Background Sales Background
    3. 3. Copyright 2009 ZIGZAG Marketing, Inc. All rights reserved. “90% of marketing collateral is considered useless by sales” Source: Aberdeen
    4. 4. Copyright 2009 ZIGZAG Marketing, Inc. All rights reserved. Cowboy Sales Messaging
    5. 5. Copyright 2009 ZIGZAG Marketing, Inc. All rights reserved. The Conflict RISK 1 Wasted Time! RISK 2 Lost Sales! RISK 3 Legal Exposure!
    6. 6. Copyright 2009 ZIGZAG Marketing, Inc. All rights reserved. Get on the Same Page The Resolution
    7. 7. Copyright 2009 ZIGZAG Marketing, Inc. All rights reserved. 1. When do you use it? 2. How useful is it? Marketing Collateral Audit
    8. 8. Copyright 2009 ZIGZAG Marketing, Inc. All rights reserved. Stop Doing List “…have a ferocious understanding of what you are not going to do.” - Jim Collins
    9. 9. Copyright 2009 ZIGZAG Marketing, Inc. All rights reserved. What are the tools that win business?
    10. 10. Copyright 2009 ZIGZAG Marketing, Inc. All rights reserved. Focus on Buyer’s Minds
    11. 11. Copyright 2009 ZIGZAG Marketing, Inc. All rights reserved. Easy to Find? Time-consuming archaeological dig?
    12. 12. Copyright 2001 – 2009 ZIGZAG Marketing, Inc. All rights reserved Product Management Product Management: A Framework For Growing Revenue & Market Share Solutions Marketing Design/Development/QA Solutions Marketing Assess Markets Create a Strategy Plan Product Releases Design & Develop Products Rollout & Launch Products Ideas Emerging Technologies Market Drivers Customer Needs Segment & Size Markets Quantify Revenue Potential Align Objectives with Vision Prioritize Target Markets Map Core Competencies to Market Segments Analyze Market Trends and Drivers Assess Competition Determine Most Viable Markets Identify Strategic Partners Align Operational Initiatives Identify Risks Approve & Communicate the Strategy Create Target Customer Snapshot Validate, Prioritize & Set Scope Create Product Release Plan Approve & Communicate the Plan Design & Validate the User Experience Create Functional / Technical Requirements Develop Product or Service Test & Assure Quality Validate Commercial Readiness Release to Marketing / Production Deliver Sales & Marketing Materials Deliver Training, Service & Support Materials Train Sales, Service, Support & Channel Verify Infrastructure Readiness Execute Marketing Plan Requirements Value Chain Define Business Requirements Create Product & Solution Roadmap
    13. 13. Copyright 2009 ZIGZAG Marketing, Inc. All rights reserved. Summary 1. Marketing Collateral Audit 2. Stop Doing List 3. Top 5 Tools 4. Focus on Buyers 5. Collateral Library
    14. 14. Copyright 2009 ZIGZAG Marketing, Inc. All rights reserved. “Communicate & Coordinate”
    15. 15. Copyright 2009 ZIGZAG Marketing, Inc. All rights reserved. Workshops Product Positioning & Messaging • San Jose – September 3 • Houston – September 10 • Los Angeles – September 24 • Boston – October 1 • Dallas – October 8 • New York – October 15 • Orlando – October 21 • Tampa – October 22 Market Assessment & Strategic Planning • San Jose – September 2 • Houston – September 9 • Los Angeles – September 23 • Boston – September 30 • Dallas – October 7 • New York – October 14 • Orlando – October 20 • Atlanta – November 11 Register at
    16. 16. Copyright 2009 ZIGZAG Marketing, Inc. All rights reserved. Resources for You  Tips & Articles •  Webinars •  Join our Groups • •