The importance of targeting (in bite-size chunks)
Isn’t it ironic that in this age of digital communications that it’s even harder to make a connection with businesses? Time is at a premium and we’ve become numbed almost deafened by the noise that technology has enabled and everyone’s become too busy to consider many approaches. We’re filtering out most messages that are ‘not for us’ in a split second without consideration and in some cases, people are switching off channels altogether.
Accountability is king so clients need very good reasons to bring in a new service or supplier and with strong evidence to support that decision. The decision process is likely to take longer, involve more people and you’ll need to already have a relationship simmering before a brief is received.
So, as I see it there are three main emerging challenges; getting initial attention, building up relationships over time and providing the proof needed (to reduce the risks of changing supplier and to influence others). What’s needed is a shift in the level of focus (bite size), commitment (fully committed), and approach (considered) to help equip a sales team to deal with these growing challenges.
Here are some practical steps and experience of being more selective:
Get there early - Trust is earned and nurtured over time and your sales and marketing process should reflect this and be ahead of the game. Have a dedicated person who will be there at key moments to influence the decision-making process and a content plan to build credibility.
Prioritise to get more value out - Spend most time on the most valuable prospects; before deciding how much resource to commit weigh-up the difficulty, length of sales cycle, size of project and cost of fulfilment.
Belief - Target clients that you have a better chance of winning in the first place. Those that you understand and you know you can help. That’s the sort of belief that makes you motivated to making contact and will make things really happen.
Plan - It’s more effective to align sales effort with marketing efforts. For example, capitalise on your event by having people networking around the show.
Be a specialist - This will help to raise your value, make you relevant and therefore easier to open the door. It’s too much to ask a cold prospect to tell you what they need, show them what you can do for them.
Focus - Only by creating much more relevant and personalised messages will you be able to achieve significant cut through. This means being really disciplined about who you target, researching individuals and spending more time on fewer people.
Short and sharp message - When your prospect has 10 seconds to decide if they should look further, your tone and language need to be precise and messaging relevant and punchy. It follows that the more selective you are then more likely you are to create a relevant message.
Knowing what the issues are - Understanding the target customer’s pain points, what questions you should ask and what you can help with in advance will make the conversation much slicker. If you understand a sector very well - it shows.
Proof – It sounds obvious but you should already have a short and a more detailed version of your experience prepared to send. So when the follow up arrives within 10 minutes it sends out a strong message and making the most of every opportunity before they go cold on you.