This scenario plays out every day in thousands of sales organizations each and every day. The result is poor to mediocre performance at best. If you think this is not you, or could not happen at your company, you could be right.
Sales and Marketing absolutely must align in these areas.
These 5 fundamentals need drive your recruitment, on boarding, sales process design, marketing collateral development, web design, and more. Imagine prospecting for business when you had little idea about your business, knew not much about the prospects, and what an insult it is to knock on someone's door and proclaim you're there to help when you have no clue.
Most companies have an excellent idea about who their competition is, how many there are, and in general what they do.
Yet these games companies don't know exactly what their direct competitors do to defeat them in the market place. Not knowing the fundamentals of your competitor's business is just as useless as knowing it and not sharing it with Sales, Marketing, Product Management, and Service. Most business owners the competition at some level, yet the sales team never learns the specifics until much later in their term with the company. A solid sales on boarding program makes all the difference for both sales, and marketing.
Segmentation implies grouping and separating based on explicit criteria. Great idea!
The problem in general is a lack of specificity in creating those segments, and weak principles behind the grouping. Click here for a visual.
When your segmentation goes something along the lines of "We build Widgets, so we Sell to People that Use Widgets", you'll include everyone and have a message for no one.
This result in a lot of "So What" messaging expressed by your web site, sales people, and consumer focused ideas that appeal to no one.
Trish Bertuzzi has an interesting 5 Whys test she applies that goes something like "Why Listen, Why Care, Why Change, Why Now, and Why You".
Review your web site, or your competitors' site, and after reading it see if you can answer the 5 Whys satisfactorily. Start by putting yourself in the role of prospect. Then begin the review. My guess is that you won't be able to answer all 5. Interview a few sales people, and see if they can answer these same questions satisfactorily. If they can, you are well on your way to success, yet if not there may be an issue.
When you got into this gig, you we're all alone, or one of a very select few. That was then, this is now.
Everything your sales team says, marketing says, and support says, sounds like everyone else. And there are many everyone else in your world - getting' kinda crowded! Its not that you're not unique, its that nobody can tell. Too many web sites promote new & nice shiny objects, use pretty pictures, and happy faces to imply that your customers are happy. Yet no one in your target market, including current customers could describe what you do that is better, relevant, or valuable.
And that really is a problem for sales and all marketing communications.
Why be a hapless commodity simply because you tell a me too story?
Does everyone on your team know why you charge what you charge? Do they know what value your offerings create?
Can everyone justify your prices? What do you bring to the dance that commands the prices you charge?
More often than not you'll hear a resounding NO to these questions.
Some feel that Sales does not need to know, all they need to do is Sell - Sell - Sell.
As if the customer didn't count in the equation. If only it we're that simple.
Your prospects have options, choices, and many alternatives. Frequently it comes down to budget, and it always comes down to Value.
Ask your team to detail all the sources of value they intend to create, and better yet, to capture the real value story in economic terms about the customers you've already helped. Few will know how, even fewer will have done it.
And thats just one of the reasons your sales and marketing efforts are failing. Its one of the biggest reasons why you sound like everyone else, and get pounded on margin, cost of sales, and a complete lack of forecast ability.
Can you reduce your message down to one or two points that your prospects will get, and your customers will agree is true?
Something like "we improve project performance by 3 - 8% while reducing Political Risk by over 40%".
Some people say that makes no sense.
Talk to a relevant C-Suite executive, and they'll say it does.
People talk too much when they lack confidence.
If you don't know your offering value story, if you can't support it, you can never be confident.
Sales process and marketing communications MUST reflect the distinct value you create for the executive and their organization. Past that, its all noise.
Lead with a bunch of stupid questions on topics you should have learned before you got there, and you'll never get back in.
Challenge the executive without a prepared business case, and security might escort you out. Who could blame them - wasted time can never be replaced.
Your message is your Advocate. Its not what you do, its whats in it for me that I hear. WIFM!
Imagine for a second that you were preparing to place a wager on one of two sales teams. Would you pick the sales team that:
In an ideal world. complex things would not only appear simple, they would be.
We promote a segmentation model based on 4 discrete elements that when combined crate a distinct and unique category we call a value segment.