A lot of technical companies are gingerly getting back on firm financial ground after the little economic roller coaster we’ve all been on (and are still riding on). These companies need their hard-won capital for resources and assets. Certainly not for marketing or sales efforts. Guess you will wait to craft these strategies for later.
Later when? Hello. Hate to tell you, but it is later. That later you are awaiting is now.
Nobody really remembers who you were, before you fell out of the public eye, or downsized to the point of being unrecognizable to your former clients. And I say former clients because some of these folks are no longer in business. And others have had to morph and adapt in order to survive. Just like you have.
The sales paradigm has changed since The Fall of Fall 2008. You can see it in your business model. You can feel it in your corporate culture. And you are leery about taking the risk to market and sell your services, aggressively, again.
Good selling in the digital millennium is a combination of leveraging communication with excellent business development dynamics. In other words, it’s time to retool.
Going back out there and selling like you did in 2007 will not work anymore.
The internet affords you a means of doing extensive background homework on your customer base: the one you already have as well as the one you have targeted. There’s no better time to start a sales campaign than now, by focusing on who you intend to sell your products and services to. Hint: it may not be the same boys and girls you’ve been doing business with.
The internet also affords your potential customers and prospects an excellent means of checking out your company, before they make a buying decision. You may have been in the running, and eliminated from the final cut, without your ever having known anything about it. Unless you were tracking website activity.
And your website: does it initiate a conversation with a potential customer or is it written for you and the folks inside your company? Look at yourself from the outside looking in: your website may make you look dated, out of touch, or not interested in doing business with anyone due to non-intuitive navigation and a lot of gobbly-gook meaningless lingo which basically boils down to “call for more information.” Who has time to call? I’m interested in vetting your company, online, and making my buying decision independent of a vendor beauty parade… at least for the first cut.
- Does your sales initiative involve having reps out there rustling bushes and identifying leads? Sort of like bounty hunters. And once they hand over the bounty into your siloed infrastructure, there’s no more contact. Silos.
- Is everyone selling for your company all on the same strategy page? Are their messages and approaches consistent? Do they feel connected and vested to the success of your company? (note: how can those bush rustling bounty hunters feel part of the whole?).
- Is your corporate culture and infrastructure so exquisitely compartmentalized that no one really understands or cares about what everyone else is doing? Nor do they understand how important their input and throughput is to the individuals receiving it. Yikes.
Perhaps it’s time to hit your corporate “Reset” button. The last time I checked, the marketing and sales functions fell under the business development umbrella. Which is the front end of the cash flow cycle.
And yes, you can tell me that you can’t market and sell if there are no products to market and sell.
But then I’d probably have to ask you whether or not you created those products and services with a customer in mind? Or threw your product-and-service spaghetti against the wall and hoped it stuck.
That’s a subject for another blog post.
Babette N. Ten Haken, Founder & President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, brings entrepreneurial mojo and business- and revenue-producing collaboration and communication tools to small and mid-sized businesses and startups. Download her newest White Paper at her Free Resources Page. She was named one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers 2013. Her book, Do YOU Mean Business? focuses on technical / non-technical collaboration strategies and tools. You can download the first chapter here.