You are either Selling or Marketing, that’s it!
Why have we complicated all this with Customer Experience, Customer Relationship, Customer Development, Sales Management, Marketing Funnels and Sales Funnels? Or whatever your choice or flavor of the month you have. Few of us even do a good job of attempting to mirror the customer decision process (wonder where you have heard that before). We are even supposed to determine our reaction and create a great customer experience. I have over few hundred blog posts on this subject alone.
The fact is most of us don’t even do a good job of any of this. Few of us even understand our customer decision’s path. Well guess what, it might be a waste of time to do it anyway, 70% of the customer decision is typically made before you are even invited into the game.
From the Sales Force ebook (embedded below):
We are in the midst of a social sales revolution. Buyers have more access to information than ever. As much as 70% of purchase decisions can be made before a sales rep ever gets involved. Are you taking advantage of the tools available to you to win deals in this highly competitive environment? These seven steps and case studies will help you get ahead of the competition and turn your company into a social enterprise.
When we review these pages, we are reminded that it is about engagement versus widening the mouth of the sales funnel. Think about how many times you have heard your salespeople exclaim; “Don’t give me these internet leads (or trade shows, or whatever) to follow up on, give me qualified leads.” Everyone will probably agree that we need to make our efforts more effective and efficient, we call it target marketing or differentiation. We may try that when business is good but……. We all know the answer: when business is bad we get on the phone, make cold calls.
You may be asking where is this simple 2-step Lean Marketing approach. Well the steps have never been clearer. Let me define it a bit more by the picture below.
Marketing is all about pull. We are either pulling prospects into our value streams to be handled by sales, or we are pushing them out of the value streams to be handled by marketing. This is not to say marketing is not collaborating or engaging with any customers; they are. Intimately is not the word though. Twittter streams, Facebook and LinkedIn are not intimate sales channels. They are channels that we influence others to decide to allow us to engage with them. However, we must remember, that 70% of the decision making is being done in this perspective.
The 30% is highlighted in the drawing by the Scrum-like diagram. It is where we engage with our customers on a regular and intimate stage. It is where we get to know them on a first-name basis. What I would propose is prospecting is not part of this sprint. It is not part of the engagement process. Where the handoff between Sales and Marketing occurs will be different from one organization to the next. If you have a standard product that is practically an automated sales process, a download or self-service, it may just go through the horizontal value stream.
If we need to nurture and get intimate (30%) with the customer, we go through an iterative sales process. As a result, the salespeople, will spend more time with existing customers (job to be done). Sales have been moving this direction for a long time.
Franklin Covey in their sales training define Trust = Intent + Expertise. I think the primary salesperson’s job is to develop the trust in the iterative cycles (Blog post, The Eagles always understood!). The first cycle could be called the intent cycle. You may be offering the customer a trial offer or an introductory product/service offering. This way, they can experience and decide if the expertise is there to continue. Demonstrating intent should be 80% of your efforts. Most often, we try to sell expertise way to soon.
The job to be done (Blog Post: Do You Know the Right Job For Your Products?) is where greater expertise is demonstrated and also where the greatest opportunity is to develop future sales. We do this through are participation and collaboration with the customer. We never lose the “open-mindness” of demonstrating intent but this is where are expertise should be developed within and across both organizations. If we do not develop that collaborative spirit, the customer will eventually filter back through the process and be handled by marketing.
I will expand into the sales area in upcoming blog posts. Additional information is contained with the 2 Info-graphics, Lean Marketing House Infographic and Lean Marketing for Service Dominant Thinkers.