Everyone is involved in driving revenue through their company, no matter what side of the business development table you sit on. When’s the last time you took a look at your company’s website or read the latest sales collateral for your organization? Perhaps your company has you sold on how great they are.
Your customers may think otherwise.
If you are not actively talking with customers and finding out the nature of the ecosystem in which they make strategic purchasing decisions, you are on the inside of the equation looking outward. You don’t see yourself the way your customers see you: from the outside looking inward.
All purchasing decisions have strategic implications.
Every conversation you have with potential and current customers is a selling conversation, even if you are a sales or technical professional or the receptionist. Every time customers read something about your company (or you) in the news, on the internet, on LinkedIn, etc., this information serves as a marketing communications (marcom) strategy for you, your expertise, and your company.
Sometimes your company’s fantasy is not aligned with your customers’ reality.
If you are busy setting appointments and problem-solving, assuming that your customers and prospects need what you are selling or fixing, you may be out of touch with the real issues driving their need to seek solutions. While you are busy selling your solution at them, their problem may not involve your solution at all – in the long run.
Root causes often have rather large contexts.
Perhaps it’s time to read your website content and sales spiel stuff from the perspective of your customers. Does it really make sense to them? Is it relevant to their world? Probably not as relevant as you have been led to believe.
Start by asking yourself whether your company’s marketing stuff makes sense to you. Really.
While I’m not suggesting that you reject the marketing stuff, I am recommending that you augment it. Do your homework on the issues being discussed. Discover the industry, legislative, and economic trends whizzing around in your customers’ decision-making ecosystem. How astute and spot-on are your company’s website and marketing communications within the reality of their decision-making algorithm?
Otherwise, your marketing stuff may lead you to believe that selling and problem-solving are straight forward and parallel paths to one unavoidable conclusion: to sign a contract and do business with you.
Not so fast.
Selling is full of risk and uncertainty. Technical solutions can have a number of possibilities. How comfortable are you riding that crest of risk and uncertainty? How comfortable are you with the observation that business purchase decision-making sometimes appears to be random, rather than predictable.
Every conversation you have with potential and current customers is a selling conversation. Your marketing communications strategy (including website, email, social media, you get it: those all important powerful and not-soft skills) is a means of engaging both you and your customer in discovery and knowledge.
Bet you never thought being a sales person was an intellectual pursuit. Yikes, it almost makes you sound like a techie. You are: A business development sales / technical professional. Now that’s something to think about this year, eh?
Babette N. Ten Haken, President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, catalyzes business transition, startup growth, and professional development. She works with non-traditional sellers, engineers, manufacturers, and technical startups. Her book on sales and engineering collaboration strategies, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com.