I keep talking about a shift in the way we do business. How we connect with clients, especially new ones. Because as Sales Professionals (SPs) we all know that new biz is the lifeblood of any successful company.
Existing clients are extremely important and we have to do everything within reason to remain relevant to their business goals. We have to keep those relationships strong and viable. But WE MUST bring on new clients. Client bases have to expand and grow or the biz dies.
I’m witnessing every day this new reality pushing down on veteran SPs. They are literally scratching their heads wondering what needs to be done differently – why the message that landed the knockout punch doesn’t work anymore.
A great example for us all can be found at gapingvoid.com’s entry. So what’s all this new marketing stuff, anyway? I really enjoy Hugh McLoud’s blog and the insight I gain. But this post really makes sense. IMHO the basic idea here is…are marketing professionals really stretching themselves? Are traditional marketing departments, consultants, really ready for what the shift will bring?
Those of you who actually read my know I’ve been talking about this “shift.” I have been running around like Chicken Little saying the “the shift is coming, the shift is coming.” This shift is changing the way we do everything, and to survive we must adapt or disappear.
I see that our partners in crime the Marketing Department or Marketing Professionals (MPs) have to take some responsibility for changing as well. I see many of my fellow SPs taking the heat for not bringing on the new biz. However, if you don’t have a clear definition of what you’re selling can you be faulted for stalling out?
There has to be a new marketing message. These messages are interrelated to the “new” sales message. In most corporations the MPs develop and refine the product line/solution set, along with the message or spin around its awesome features, benefits, advantages, the sales message. The SPs will often make the marketing spin or message their own. But very few SPs are left to their own devices when defining this.
Now don’t get me wrong I’m not blaming marketing for leaving SPs in the lurch but if SPs have to rely on the Marketing Team to identify the target market, and the solution set what happens when the MPs don’t know? Does the SP have to come up the product solution message. Is this a good idea? How come all this feels like some sort of “top secret” covert op?
If our new target prospects are now immune to traditional messaging around products and services, then they are immune to traditional sales practices. It used to be that the services and products any sales professional had to offer would be introduced by a human voice, a real connection. Consulting services had real value.
But as I keep saying over and over again…the internet is the ultimate change agent expanding the reach of the instant answer without intervention. What do I mean by intervention? When a trusted adviser sits in front of a decision maker we can intervene on the thought process. We can be the influence and/or assist the decision maker with their task.
I see the challenge for SPs; especially those trying to survive in the traditional business environment as they embrace the NEW sales message. The message has to be about honest influence over the process. As I have shared in the past… most potential clients/customers have already done their research. You as the sales professional are becoming more and more the “implementor” not the “facilitator” of the sale.
Will the MPs take some responsibility here? Will we have the courage to sit in the conference room and ask the tough questions? Do we even know what those tough questions are in our respective sales organizations?
I really want to hear what your challenges have been if any, around possible disconnect with messaging and client/prospect. Do you feel you have the right “sales message?”