Create More Demand – Keep it P.I.T.H.Y.

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I’ve received a significant amount of response regarding my thoughts on why Senior Sales People won’t create their own Demand.  After all, if they won’t who will and what impact will this have of revenue production? The obvious answer is that successful sales organizations have to change how they structure themselves to reflect this new reality. It’s the classic stick vs. carrot argument; either make them do it or do it for them.

I have a client that has a one-to-one ratio of inside sales “demand creators” for the outside senior sales people.  Needless to say this division of labor works out well for the outside guys – however they have much more quota responsibility. I have another client that has the entire demand creation process automated through an e-mail aggregator and dialing responsibilities with ConnectandSell.  Those are great examples of carrots.  When it comes to sticks, I have a client that has created MBO’s and compensation around demand creation productivity.  

No matter how your organization chooses to go to market, if you use a multi-touch / multi-media approach to campaign, keep your messaging pithy. You will want all of your correspondence to be pithy or short, concise, and to the point. You will also want to use P.I.T.H.Y. as an acronym:

P. Pain solving

I.  Introductory

T.  Time Specific

H. Highly Strategic

Y. You 

Pain solving: When creating messaging for demand creation, we must first think of the person who we are selling to and the most pressing issues that individual faces.  We want to uncover where and why they are feeling this pressure  without any regard to what we sell. This is how we create empathy in our messaging and link our solution to solving these pains. Buyers want to hear from individuals who communicate with them in a langauge they understand. This is peer to peer selling.  

Introductory: As Jake Atwood, CEO of Ovation Selling once told me, when creating demand keep the purpose of the call the purpose of the call. What he means is that successful demand creation separates the activity of selling the solution from selling the appointment.  Our entire goal for demand creation messaging is to secure a short meeting to sell them on an evaluation of our solution.  Therefore, we are positioning ourselves for a first call – not to purchase our service.

Time Specific: When reaching out to busy executives for a first call, always give them two or more times when you would like to meet. This takes the guesswork out of their participation and fixates their attention to WHEN they will meet with you, not IF they will meet with you.  This isn’t a new concept to most of us because it has withstood the test of time.

Highly Strategic:  Empirically, we know our buyers are inundated with requests for an audience and do not have enough time to entertain every solicitation they receive. Therefore and just as we do, they triage their efforts in getting back to their suitors. Put yourself in their position; how would you decide to best utilize your time? Your messaging should be around the highest level of impact your solution can have on an organization. What sounds better; eliminating manual process or better client retention? What about best of breed vs. providing a competitive advantage?

You:  As in not you. The biggest mistake I see made in demand creation is when sellers leave their list of superlatives on a voicemail or e-mail.  Busy executives are looking for empathic solutions to their problems and original ideas from outsiders.  They do not and should not link your awards, financials, and even competitive differentiators to solving these pains.  Put yourself in their position; they are not evaluating your solution so why would talking about your company spark any interest?

In conclusion, even those this posting is not, keep your correspondence for demand creation P.I.T.H.Y.

Digital Body Language / Lead Generation for the Complex Sale

 

An amazing book has been written by fine folks at Eloqua and a follow up White Paper that you can download here called Digital Body Language. The premise is that by using Eloqua’s tracking capabilities, sellers can now know when their prospects hit their website, what pages they go to, and how often they do so. By creating an algorithm that weights all three – our prospects score themselves and sellers use that score to triage their selling efforts. As an example, pages on your website that indicate cursory interest like the home page result in a low score. Pages that reflect deep interest like an online demo and customer testimonials reflect a much higher score. The number of times that individual returns to these pages acts as a multiplier thus giving them their final tally.

Brian Carroll of InTouch writes a fantastic book and subsequent e-book entitled Lead Generation for the Complex Sale. You can download it here. Brain describes lead generation as multimodal in that successful companies are working in 9 different areas to create demand – and I will add a 10th for Social Media:

1. Branding – Advertising, Associations, and Sponsorships
2. Public Relations – Editorials, Public Speaking, Press Releases, and News Coverage
3. Web Site – Search Engine Optimization, Landing Pages, Blogs, Podcasts, E-books, and RSS Feeds
4. Events – Seminars, Workshops, Webinars, Tradeshows, and Conferences
5. Phone Calls – Cold Calls, Top-Down Dialing, and Voice Mails
6. E-mail – One to One, One to Many, and HTML updates
7. Online Marketing – Organic Search, Paid Search, Newsletter Sponsorships, Portals, and Banners
8. Direct Mail – White Papers, Post Cards, Invites, amd Personal Letters
9. Referrals – Vendors, Consultants, Customers, and Partners
10. Social Media – Twitter, Facebook, LinkledIn, YouTube, and MySpace

 
By using the multimodal approach we can ensure that we are engaging our prospects in a manner that they prefer and before they are ready to make a purchasing decision. Then, we can track their digital body language as they begin to show interest in our solution. As a longtime sales person who has driven blindly for so long – all I can say is Hooray! As Mike Scher of Frontline Selling has so aptly framed, “Successful demand creation should be a farming exercise, not a hunting event. After all, we as a society began to progress when went from hunter / gatherers to farmers.”

Demand Creation for The Complex Sale (2.0)

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Demand Creation in a Complex Sale 2.0 world can be summed up in one word: touches. We don’t know how our prospects want to be communicated with so we cast as wide of a net as possible. We also don’t know what message will resonate so we offer many. We don’t know when our prospects are ready to hear from us so our outreach is constant. The techniques that are available to us will not replace the telephone as the primary means of communication – it will enhance it.  Sellers don’t want to make a cold call as much as buyers don’t want to take them. We want buyers to tell us when the right time to contact them will be.

The Complex Sale uses an e-mail aggregator called Manticore Technology to communicate en mass with our clients and prospects. There are other aggregators available with great integration into Salesforce.com such as Eloqua. When used correctly, these tools place a cookie on the recipients computer that will then track what the recipient did with the e-mail you sent them and where they go on your website. I can’t express how efficient I have seen sales forces become by allowing the prospects themselves to express their level of interest in your service. Inside of Salesforce.com, we have created a marketing activities tab that allows me to see who was on our website and what pages they were on. Their activity is tracked at the contact record.

Forward-thinking salespeople also use the litany of tools available on LinkedIn. My LinkedIn profile is a virtual billboard about my accomplishments, people who network with and recommend me. LinkedIn allows you to view up to three degrees of separation to see the mutual contacts you have with your connections. It also allows you to communicate with your network individually or one-off. There are a number of applications one can add to their profile that raises awareness about what you are reading, shared presentations, polls, and personal blogs. LinkedIn also allows its members to form and become members of other liked-minded groups. The Complex Sale, Inc. has created its own group called the R.A.D.A.R. alumni association.  Our members are updated via e-mail on group discussions, shared best practices, news links, job openings, and Complex Sale points of interest.

Today’s buyer needs to hear from you before they need your solution. WebEx and Gotomeeting.com are both great tools to share thought leadership via a webinar or recreate a podcast. We also have created a company blog entitled the Sales Page to stay top of mind and a Twitter account for those that prefer communication in that median. For social-media to be effective it must be relevant and consistent. One must be willing to connect and follow people that connect and follow you. If you want people to comment on your blog you must comment on theirs.  

Jill Konrath in her best selling book, Selling to Big Companies, coined the phrase, “use the news.” What she is referring to is allowing your prospects to tell you when they are ready to buy. Organizations offer press releases about new appointments, quarterly earnings, partnerships, new initiatives, and many other reasons in an effort to generate positive public relations and investor interest. Lead411 offers daily e-mail showcasing trigger events on selected companies by using spider technology. Savvy sales people take this information to be the first knock on the door to help facilitate these enterprise-level issues.

Google allows its users to create a personalized home page to consolidate social networking sites and RSS feeds of industry content, all placed on one page. The Google reader feature allows for centrally located content to be catalogued under various headings without having to go directly to a variety of news, industry, or trade websites. The Google finance feature shows up to the minute stock price of your publicly traded clients and prospects.  I recommend setting the personalized Google page (called iGoogle) as your home page to be notified of “trigger events” every time you log onto the web.

Selling to the C-level

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbTC2EPM7to

 

The above Youtube link is an interview with Jeff Immelt, CEO of GE on his vision of the future of his company and the world as a whole. Now this should come as a surprise to no one but think about this – what if he is wrong? Or even worse, what if he is right but he can’t capitalize on this vision?

The higher you rise in an organization the lonelier it gets. You are asked and well compensated to predict the future, read the tea leaves, and forge a vision into the great unknown.  Successful companies have boards of directors to guide the C-suite, talented VP’s to execute the strategy, and access to the best management principles available. But know this – ultimately the C-suite is held responsible for the decisions they make. Not only in the strategic direction of the company but how successful have they executed upon that direction.

Case in point:

GM quite correctly predicted the appetite of the world’s need for fuel efficiency when it created the EV-1 electric car. However the timing was wrong because oil became extremely inexpensive and the EV-1 was scrapped to make way for the Hummer.

Sony quite correctly predicted that family’s wanted to watch “recorded video” at home when it unveiled Betamax video cassettes: JVC cornered the market with its version of VHS video cassettes to make the Betamax obsolete.

 

On a very real, but smaller scale, your clients are judged by the same risk versus reward model for predicting the future of their industry and capitalizing on it. The question we as sales people must ask ourselves, “How do we tap into that risk vs. reward mindset to position our service as the best solution?”

 

We must first think like our customer.

 

  • As an individual, my very fate could lie in getting this decision right.
  • I don’t look at you as a vendor – I look at you as a means to an end.
  • Are we sure we even need to look outside the company to do this?
  • How can I trust this guy when I can’t even trust my own people to tell me truth?
  • I need a partner that has been down this road before.
  • I don’t want to be a product of the Peter Principle.

The average executives receive 57 meeting requests a week from sales people. Couple this barrage of requests with the average executive’s history of receiving “little to no value” with sales people they did meet – it is no wonder you aren’t getting access. The sales people the exec saw in the past did not understand how they thought and spoke about product, feature, and functionality.  

 

Reverse this trend – get sponsored by someone that the executive trusts to introduce to you. This will cut through the clutter. When you do get a meeting with them – tell them something they don’t know about their business, their competition, or their industry and then speak to them in the language of risk vs. reward.

 

 

 

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