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Adding Social to your CRM

Why Social CRM?

Knowing where your prospects came from (and why) out there in the big world wide web will help marketing fine tune its social campaigns and double down on the ones that are working.  This will lead to your prospects getting the answers they are asking (where they are asking them), then track them all the way through sales and customer support for a 360-degree view of your customer’s journey through your company.  This of course leads to happier customers and better reporting, accountability, and ROI.   It will help your sales get insight into their prospects from their very first interaction with your company up to and including theirs. 

Everything you know and love about your current CRM is still useful and relevant.  Now they have just allowed you to add your social efforts into the mix to make more educated decisions and provide better reporting for all your programs instead of just outbound campaigns.

These same tools can help you track and improve your branding efforts and make your responses more effective.  They can be used to better track your interactions with brand leaders and other influencers to improve those relationships as well. 

Before marketers jump into a big data discussion and shell out a great deal of money, I suggest coming up with a list of questions you want answered first, and then look for the best app to do those things first.   After all, analytics is all about making the best of the data that we have, and there are plenty of sources to obtain that data. 

 

What do they track?

All your social media interactions.

Imagine someone is really upset with your product and needs help, is frustrated and complaining online.  Social CRM can show you where, what is going on with them and why.  This allows online activities to be routed to your best resource to help them, and tells them where to go (twitter, Facebook, blog attack, or rant. You need to be there where your customers are, not waiting to read about it. 

Most of the commercial social CRM packages serve up the information with a full view of all that person’s online activity in one location.  They will make recommendations, and serve up actionable information.  I have used Nimble and Salesforce IQ, and I have to say I loved them both.  Both were about $25/mo. Since my marketing budget at this company was next to nothing, so cost was one of my main considerations in that instance.

 

Where do I start?

There are so many Social CRM applications out there to choose from, so many in fact that everyone answering that question online suggests you need to first sit down and figure out what questions you need answered. What problems are you trying to solve? What new opportunities do you think you are missing out on?   What does management want you to track?  How are you doing it today?

With your requirements in hand you will be better able to start narrowing down your selections.  There are dozens of great tools in each category to help with gathering, rating, sorting, and analyzing.  It will be much easier to start with the dozen tools that provide your most needed capabilities and go from there. 

So, the first step is to figure out what information you are looking for.  What problems are you trying to solve?

Example: Say you decide you want to start tracking your prospects much earlier in the sales cycle.  Instead of waiting for prospects to contact your sales. you want to start tracking them the moment they click on your online content.  You want to then follow them through their journeys toward deciding on a solution. 

Here are some other things you may want to discover with a new Social CRM solution:

  • What did the prospect click on first? What did they do next?  And after that?
  • Did they go straight to your online offer and get it, land on your website, or did they call sales?
  • Where did they spend time on your website before clicking the buy button?
  • Are they asking questions online that are going unanswered?
  • How many of your social media contacts turned into leads? What was the ROI for that social media campaign?
  • What is your social marketing effectiveness?

With this information you can now track the success of your social media programs, provide ROI to management, as well as allow your sales to observe your buyer’s journey from their first click onto your content page.  You know with this sales could better gauge where prospects are in their journey to make it possible to provide the right information at the right time.  This is the difference between inbound marketing and “spray and pray” marketing (which we all agreed was inefficient and annoying a decade ago). 

 

I have my list of data that I want to track with my new Social CRM app…what now?

Say you have a great CRM and everyone at your company already knows how to use it, but today it is only capturing outbound information, or lists of contacts to spam, or prospect contact info after they have talked with sales and have been entered into your sales cycle.  It is great at everything a CRM should be great at, but you are missing the entire first part of your marketing lead cycle and are having a hard time tying the ROI to the campaign it came from.  First thing you should do is contact whoever sold you your existing CRM to see if they have an add-on for social media.  If they have it and it provides what you need it should not be a tough sale to your management. No retraining, no rip and replace.  Just an upgrade or add-on depending on your provider.   Many of the existing CRMs are playing catchup so chances are if your CRM provider does not have it, they will soon.  If you are using salesforce.com for instance they now have add-ons, you can buy to capture social media results.  Sales IQ is only $25 a month and provides CRM capabilities as well as some basic social media tracking and information about your prospect’s online activities.    If your current CRM solution provider does not have social CRM capabilities, then you will have to look at some new apps.

 

So which ones should I start with?

With many social marketers still trying to figure out which metrics to track and which metrics management is looking for coupled with the fact that there are literally hundreds of new companies providing marketing/social media analytics solutions.  How do I start?  Which ones should I focus on?

With your social CRM wish list in hand you can review a few product matrices like these below to see if any have the feature sets you need.   I put together a shortlist here focusing on the ones I have been asked about in interviews (which I totally hadn’t heard of at the time), or which have overwhelming market share in this space so would be remiss to not mention.

Here is a short list I pulled off Capterra’s website Capterra.com  that takes the top 10 Social CRM software solutions and shows you what each contains.  I provided this because it helps you see at-a-glance an overview of what is included in these commonly used Social CRM packages.

 

Let’s take a look at the categories common to these applications: 

  • Type of deployment (PC or cloud)
  • Contact management (duh!)
  • Customer Support module (so you can see 360 degrees of your prospect’s experience)
  • Email Marketing
  • Interaction tracking – Manage all your social conversations. Make real-time responses to prospect posts when they happen. Move from sharing content to having conversations to closing deals, right from the Social Tab. (from Zoho.com)
  • Lead Management
  • Marketing automation

Nothing new here except for Interaction tracking right? A couple new categories, but nothing you can’t pick up easily. And wait until you see Interaction training.  Very cool stuff! 

And here is another shortlist of popular Social CRM applications This one is from Megan Adam’s LinkedIn skills online training. Her course takes an hour and makes Social Marketing CRM easy to understand from the perspective of a traditional marketer.  It was very informative and engaging enough to hold my interest even with The Big Bang Theory playing in the background.    That’s a pretty good training!

So with your list in hand Google Social CRM plus a few tags from your “must have” list.  Just past the ads should be your short list to start with.  Click on a few of them and notice how well those companies all start tracking and interacting with you from the second you land on their first page.  Try a few free trials to get comfortable with the genre and see what you like.  Most have really good online training and people happy to help you with your education.  You are well on your way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Job Search (What I Didn’t Know that I Didn’t Know)

The Job Search

They say to tell your stories in blogs without mentioning yourself in them, make them about the audience.  Well this my story, for you to judge and decide if any of this relates to you.  I’m going to tell you what I did, how I prepared, what I studied, then what happened.  The search, the training, the interviews, putting myself in front of dozens of companies to get to the “real scoop” of what they were looking for and asking about.  Then the time consuming process I worked through to go get the education I should have had before applying to even a single job.  Now, you can learn from my mistakes and hopefully shave two months off your next marketing job search.   

After my marketing consulting gig for a small Japanese software company finished recently, I started looking for a full-time position in which I could work as part of a team again for a high-tech company.   I love managing a team of like-minded marketers more than anything.  I mean, contract work from my home office is great -when it is great.  At times though I found myself putting in 16 hour days, falling out of touch with industry best practices, I stopped attending or being able to afford all the affiliations to great marketing organizations like the Business Marketing Association (BMA) and Gartner that I had become accustomed to.  Working for myself kind of sucked because my boss was a slave driver. Plus, with the healthcare scene what it is today, I decided to go to work again as part of a marketing team again.   I started applying for jobs online.

 

I initially did the following that everyone does:

  • Brushed off my resume, looked up resume best practices for 2017, and updated everything.   
  • Applied for no fewer than 30 positions per day spending extra time to make sure each application, list of skills, and cover letter had been optimized according to the position I was applying for.   
  • Made sure examples of my work are available on my website MadScinceConsulting.com, included my portfolio, and included links.
  • Called former bosses and referrals to make sure they are still happy to receive calls.
  • Updated my LinkedIn page and upgraded my LinkedIn account to LinkedIn pro.
  • Added my information to more than two dozen job boards like: LinkedIn Pro, Marketing Ladders, Virtual Vocations, Indeed, Glass Doors, Dice, Beyond, and many more.
  • Posted my resume and information on to more than 50 company career sections for consideration at all the places I wanted to work.
  • Submitted all my information to the local recruiters.
  • Notified my network of professional friends know I was available. If I find a position at their company, I would send them my information and the job to forward to their HR for me.  

 

As a result

I have had twenty-five phone interviews and seven face-to-face interviews.  Every one of the interviews went very well until they started asking me about my experience with new marketing technology, concepts, and applications.  I had heard or read about them all, but I would not lie and say I was an expert in marketing analytics, agile / scrum, inbound marketing, or digital marketing or social media marketing management experience. 

So, here was an opportunity.  On my resume I have listed several marketing titles so I was interviewing for a nice sampling of open marketing positions.  My last interview was with the President of a local high-tech product reseller.  He told me he had to cut off the applications for the one position at 250 resumes.  He selected the nine best to talk with.  I made that cut.  He said he would pick the three best out of the nine to come in and interview in person.  That’s some serious competition.  I was easily making it to the top 3% of the list for call backs for an interview, but had not made the final cut yet.

I kept hearing requests for tools I had never used, or asked about terms that no longer mean what they used to.  They say not to list things on your resume that will date you if you are in the younger or older spectrum of applicants.  I am here to tell you that this extends into the tools you are familiar with and certificates you keep current.

 

Put up or shut up

When I didn’t get any of those positions, I decided to do something about it.  I needed to not only become a subject matter expert in many new concepts and best practices, but I also needed to become proficient at using the tools that support these methodologies. 

So, here I am, an innovative, award winning corporate marketer.  I have made a lot companies a whole lot of money.  I’m talking hundreds of millions here.  Won a full ride scholarship for an MBA in Global Management with a concentration in International Marketing.  I won Phoenix Marketer of the year in 2012.  Also, through my company Mad Science Consulting I have implemented sales and marketing processes and best practices successfully for SMBs, mid-sized, and large enterprise customers internationally and domestically.  I have always stayed on top of the marketing industry and monitored the changes happening in sales and marketing practices, but obviously I had not been paying close enough attention.  I thought there would be social media marketers and traditional marketers and that companies might want both.  Aink!  Wrong answer.  I was unaware how quickly and how extensive the changes were.  New marketing methodologies are being practiced wholeheartedly by most companies now.  Even traditional marketing roles like Product and Channel marketing now require healthy understanding of inbound, digital, social media and analytics.  I have also come across requirements for agile marketing and SCRUM experience for product marketing positions. 

In tomorrow’s blog, I’ll share some of the amazing things I’ve found as well as ways to get yourself up to date and stay relevant in this fast-moving market.

Why TraDigital Marketing?

There is a lot of great marketing going on in both traditional and digital marketing disciplines, but people tend to stick to their own camp — either you are an old-school traditional marketer, obsessed with metrics and controlling the conversation, or you are a new-school marketer, putting up flashy social media campaigns and blowing past the old, boring techniques of the past.  Here’s the deal, though — in this new marketing landscape, it’s no longer enough to be one or the other.  It’s essential to become what we call a TraDigital Marketer, pairing traditional and digital methodologies to build something new and powerful.

So this blog is for you, traditional marketer that wants to learn more about new marketing techniques put into a context that should be easy to pick up for someone familiar with old-school traditional marketing techniques.  You can stay relevant in this new economy.  New marketer who may be interested in some nuggets of ancient marketing wisdom, well TraDigital Marketing is for you too. You can become more grounded in business concepts that broaden your marketability Let me tell you how:

For Traditional Marketers

The more I study current marketing techniques, the more relevant I see the experience we have as Traditional marketers is.  Concepts such as marketing for consultative sales reps is very in demand.  BANT is still relevant to the sales reps.  Inbound marketing is a deepening of what we used to call pull marketing (now married to current technology capabilities).  So many of the concepts I studied in HubSpot’s inbound marketing certification was stuff I had heard before, peppered with a new philosophy.  It’s a whole lot less mysterious than I thought it would be. 

If you are like me, a corporate marketing expert trying to bring myself up to speed on all new technologies and overcome decades of legacy internal sales and marketing processes at your company, the numbers and ROI are there and it all makes perfect sense.  If only you could get your legacy CMO to pull their head out of “the good old days” just long enough to see the world has changed and their methods have not.

I cannot tell you how many business owners I talk to that are desperately trying to re-swizzle and double down on their outbound efforts.  They keep getting less results, their teams are more discouraged trying to cold call or spam people that just keep getting less and less patient with them. 

Remember “pull marketing” vs. “push marketing” techniques that we all studied and mastered a decade ago?  Then remember “marketing for the consultative sales rep” studies we all started about the same time?  Well, just take all the cool technology available today and apply those concepts to it and you pretty much have what HubSpot and others are calling “Inbound” marketing today.  There are a lot of easy to use tools to help you get there.  Think about how much effort your teenage kid will put into learning a new app.  Well that’s the target market for these new apps, so how hard do you think it is going to be to pick it up?  Not hard at all! 

Like most of us, we can list old courses taken or old technology used, speak to a plethora of examples of relevant experience, but the next round of job interview questioning involves the names of current applications they use that they want the next marketing person to be experienced in.  Those questions stopped me cold every time. 

I did not recognize even the names of most of the applications they are asking for me to know.  To make myself relevant again, I have spent the last two months studying applications, downloading free trials, and obtaining new certs.    I will take you along on that journey and continue to report in how my job search is progressing to hopefully help other old school marketers shave months off their search by preparing beforehand, before you actually need it. Of course we should all be staying on top of this stuff anyway, but if you are reading this I imagine you are a fellow marketer who wants to read about this stuff.

For digital/Inbound/social media marketers

You are on the cutting edge, you know the hottest applications and you make it all look great.  That’s awesome!  That said, I too often see splashy new media marketing folks who don’t understand essential marketing and business concepts.  You can throw a lot of gorgeous stuff out there and get literally no response.  Or you can get a great response and miss it, because you aren’t checking metrics or don’t understand setting up KPIs (key performance indicators) or tracking ROI (return on investment). Okay, there is a lot of good stuff, great stories, and “foundations of marketing stuff” to be learned from traditional marketing. Pairing what you know with traditional marketing knowledge will make you formidable. A true TraDigital Marketer is priceless in the new marketing landscape.

There are many lessons to be learned from other’s mistakes, or the grey areas between push and pull marketing.  You have the benefit of new tools and better methodologies, but when it gets messy that is where traditional marketing techniques can help. There were books, seminars, trainings, and analysis that laid the groundwork for the new sales and marketing models that are every bit as relevant and useful for filling gaps today as they were 10-15 years ago. 

In future blogs, I will list my favorite traditional marketing resources, along with the modern marketing concepts they were laying the groundwork for.  Also, feel free to help a marketer out.  If you have firsthand experience regarding anything I am struggling with in this forum, please speak up.  I am doing my best to take something new to me and make it comfortable for others to learn from.  I am sure any traditional marketer reading this blog would welcome your insights and perspective as well.   

17 Email Marketing Rules You Must Break

Email marketing has the potential of being the cheapest, easiest, most focused type of marketing when done right.  The challenge is that it is almost never done right!  Courtesy of Marketo.com, here is a list of 17 “Rules” we suggest you consider breaking, challenging what you think you know about email marketing.

When it comes to email marketing, there are a lot of purists out there who say you should ALWAYS do this or NEVER do that.  Consider all the “best practices” that are floating around online.  From PowerPoint presentations to old white papers, archaic eBooks and other resources that are just plain outdated, they promote rules that used to be true.  The reality is, as long as you aren’t breaking any rules, not much is black and white.  (That said, we do strongly encourage you to consult counsel for anything legal; we are not attorneys!)

That’s why we made a list of 17 email marketing “rules” that you absolutely, 100% must break*!

  1. NEVER use words like “free” or “deal” or “discount” in an email subject line.
  2. ALWAYS keep your email subject lines between 30 and 50 characters.
  3. ALWAYS use double opt-in when growing your list.
  4. NEVER use a pop-up (or pop-over) to collect email addresses.
  5. NEVER send a mostly text email.
  6. NEVER send a mostly image email.
  7. NEVER send an email with one big image.
  8. ALWAYS have a good balance of images to text.
  9. NEVER send “ugly” emails.
  10. NEVER buy a list.
  11. NEVER have fun.
  12. NEVER use all caps in an email subject line.
  13. NEVER use animated gifs in the body of an email.
  14. NEVER put the unsubscribe button at the top of an email (or make it obvious).
  15. ALWAYS send an email in the middle of the week.
  16. NEVER send an email at the end of the day.
  17. NEVER send more than one email per day.

* “Break” is a fancy way of saying test to see what works best for your audience.  Don’t assume that all these rules will work for you simply because they worked for someone else.  Test. Tweak.  Then, break the rules.  Figure out the best approach for your community.

www.market.com

blog.market.com

For a great pdf of the above, click here: email marketing rules

The Language of Marketing

Marketing Terms Defined

First let’s discuss some marketing basics so we are speaking the same language (and feel free to call me on anything you do not agree with). Marketing is such a huge area and means so many things to so many different people. At the end of the day, I would like to walk away with a consensus that provides the “groupthink” perspective on the various subjects we want to explore. Also, feel free to comment on any additional commonly misunderstood marketing topics you have come across.

 

BANT Qualified Lead

A BANT qualified lead suggests the prospect you are talking to has:
Budget (There is a project with a designated budget),
Authority (they are a decision maker or at least an influencer on the project),
Need (they actually need or are looking for what your rep sells)
Timeframe (planned timeframe in which the project will be started)

Basically this is a “real” sales opportunity. If a lead is BANT qualified you have put your sales rep in the right place, at the right time, talking to the right person, about the right thing.

 

Bottom line and “net-net”

“The bottom line” is that line in a financial statement that shows net income or loss. On an income statement, “Net Income” is physically located at the very bottom of the form and is the last line on the form, thus it gets its name “the bottom line.” Net income (the bottom line) is the final accounting showing company profit or loss. The bottom line has come to mean “the final word on the subject” “get to the point,” or “I am about to say the only part of my long winded sales pitch that you will actually care about.” Bottom line should not be used in formal business accounting communication as it is a somewhat vague term when used in that context.

“Net-net” means to get to the point or “the bottom line”. It is the net result after removing all unimportant details. I may be over-thinking it, but I tend to use “the bottom line” when talking about reducing all the details for one subject. When providing a summary of multiple concepts and “giving the bottom line of several bottom lines,” the final result of those combined concepts would be “net-net.”

If a rep feels that a long-winded buildup is necessary in a consultative sale, you are either talking to the wrong person or have not done your homework. Your goal is to consult with a decision maker regarding the things that person is responsible for. If you are talking “speeds and feeds” to a CFO you are having the wrong conversation with the wrong person. If your bottom line is increasing their bottom line, a long-winded build up will not be necessary. You are in the right place having the right conversation with the right person.

 

Closed Loop Sales and Marketing

Monitoring the life of a lead in all its possible outcomes and acting optimally throughout its lifecycle. I.e. Lead entered in CRM by marketing, followed up by sales rep, determined “not ready to buy”, nurtured by marketing until ready to buy, followed up again by sales rep, sales lost, reason for lost sale determined and reported, information flows back to marketing where it can create better campaigns based on updated data.

On the marketing side we focus on launching and executing the activity that will hopefully lead to interest and orders. We compile research, customer data, demographics, results, BANT criteria resulting opportunities and whom they were funneled out to. On the sales side they see some of your information (the more the better) and have time to digest some of it. They track the stage of the opportunity (new, assess, design propose, closed won, closed lost, or call back later). They track the opportunity dollar amount by estimating in the early stages and looking at the proposal amount or closed order amount in later stages.

A closed loop system allows information to flow between your Marketing system and your CRM system so marketing can evaluate its effectiveness, adjust where needed and provide more value. Marketing can take deals that did not buy today and continue to maintain a relationship (lead nurturing) so the prospect will buy from your rep when they are finally ready. Marketing typically has various investors and interested parties looking for ROI for their investment and chasing down that information can become a full time job in itself. On the sales side there is a requirement to obtain the most useful ongoing touches and as much useful information as possible when going back into the account to follow-up.
Many marketing and sales systems do not provide the 360-degree view needed for the sales and marketing teams to work together to most effectively turn prospects into customers and report that success to necessary constituents.

 

Consultative Selling

Is focused on:
• Working with the customer to understand their goals, objectives, and challenges.
• Taking that information back to an expert team to determine the optimum solution.
• Explaining the solution in a manner that addresses each of the key influencers in their own language.
There are many formulas, acronyms and methods to help sales reps learn and remember all the steps in a consultative sales engagement, but these are the main three areas in which consultative sales reps are typically trained.

 

Demand Generation a.k.a. “Demand Gen”

Demand generation is conducted to bring awareness and interest of your company’s offering. A good demand generation effort from the prospect’s side matches the prospect’s need to an offering that fulfills their requirements. An ideal demand generation effort for your sales rep perspective is one that puts them in front of the right person at the right time with the right offering to provide a service that pays them.
Commonly used in business to business, business to government, or longer sales cycle business to consumer sales cycles, demand generation involves multiple areas of marketing and is really the marriage of marketing programs coupled with a structured sales process.

 

FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt)

Where you are selling fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) you are trying to play on your prospect’s FUD to “scare” them into buying your product or service. Many reps are good at twisting a prospect’s perception of a situation to convince the prospect that whatever they are selling will save their career, life, sex appeal or marriage. The more knowledgeable your prospects are about their situation, the less successful this method will be. Companies selling Tasers during riots may do well with this method, but if you paint an inaccurate “doom and gloom” scenario to someone who knows better, you lose all credibility as a marketing or sales rep.

There is a difference between apprising a prospects of the facts that will help them avoid danger that they may not have otherwise been aware of (education = good) and painting a worst-case scenario to manipulate them into buying (FUD = questionable).

 

KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)

Key Performance Indicators “KPIs” are a measure of performance for a company or group within a company. KPIs can be hard to measure compared to units produced or dollars saved but are key to a company’s success. As an example if your Board of Directors suggests to your CEO that the company must increase wallet share, cut costs, improve employee morale and become the leading company in your industry, some of these things are easier to measure than others. These would be the KPIs for the company that the Board wants to see the CEO deliver. It is how they will measure success. Successful movement toward these long-term organizational goals over a specific period of time defines how valuable the CEO is to the Board. The act of monitoring KPIs in real-time is known as business activity monitoring (BAM). This is where you will find the details regarding measurement, ROI, timeframes, decision makers…BANT stuff.

 

Lead Nurturing

Maintaining contact with a prospect that is not buying from you today, but which you believe may have a need for you in the future. Marketing can put processes in place that continue to follow up in a meaningful way until the prospect is ready to talk with the sales rep. There is a BIG difference between spamming and nurturing an opportunity. The more customized your subsequent follow-ups are, the more well received your efforts will be and the more likely your communication effort will put your reps at the right place, with the right message, at the right time to close the deal.

Sometimes marketing just gets there too early or sometimes the rep can see that the prospect will be ready at a later date. When there is a closed loop process in place marketing can take this activity on for the sales rep. When there is no process in place the rep must constantly remember to continue to follow up with the prospect until they are ready. Most sales reps do not have the time to do this and are not able to provide the most polished and relevant information on a regular basis.

 

Marketing

At the most basic level I believe marketing is “anything and everything you can do to help your sales team sell”. This includes: making their selling easier (market awareness, sales tools/kits/collateral, training, certifications), selling faster (door openers, more qualified sales engagements, compelling product positioning, competitive differentiation) and helping them sell more (lead nurturing, better processes, enablement to present the right product message in the right place, at the right time, to the right person. (BANT qualified leads).

 

Sales Enablement

Sales Enablement is providing the tools and technology your sales force needs to be successful. When a successful lead puts your rep in the right place with the right message at the right time; sales enablement puts the right information in the most useable format into the reps hands at the right time. They are the tools your rep will need to execute a successful consultative sale. Traditionally, marketing would throw a lead over the fence and expect the rep to pick up the ball and run with it. If you think about it though, the marketing person already has done much of the research and has obtained much of the enabling information the rep will need to approach the prospect intelligently. They just need to get that information into the reps hands in a format they can use.

Marketing can provide enablement material in a general fashion: sales content, collateral, case studies, competitive information, best practices, and product and solution materials. Taking enablement to the next step for a consultative sales rep would include: key financial information, identifying: decision makers, projects, champions, internal politics, determining that there is a budget and timeframe for purchase and that the interest for the meeting matches your offering. Basically, to really enable a consultative sales rep you want to provide a sales ready lead (BANT) and the information about that lead that will help them close the deal.

 

“Speeds and Feeds”

In a technical sales some reps try to focus on product features and benefits to impress the prospect. The words “technobabble” and “geek speak” come to mind. When this is done with little regard for the needs and interests of the person in front of you it falls into the “spray and pray” or “field of dreams” marketing categories. This technical barrage of facts and figures about your offering is meant to impress the prospect with “how fast” your product cycles or “how much pipe it can push.” Since competitive products typically leapfrog over one another every six months, counting on speeds and feed can work against you as competitors come out with new features and benefits. A better approach is to find out what your prospect needs (even at levels deeper than they do themselves) and match them to the offering that best solves their problem.

An onslaught of technical facts about your offering probably will not impress the “C” level person you are in the room with anyway unless they happen to be the CTO or CIO. Trying to establish a competitive advantage based on “speeds and feeds” shows you know a lot about your product, but probably is your way of filling the void left from not knowing your prospect. As stated earlier competitive advantage based only on today’s processing speed of low cost of disk space leaves you with nothing to say every six months when the competition comes out with their faster model, however focusing on the customer’s issues and solving their business problems never becomes a dated and limiting approach. This is the difference between selling “speeds and feeds” and a more consultative approach.

Additionally we all know that you want to meet with decision makers as high up the food chain as possible (where the approvers and check signers live). When you speak to a decision maker who does not understand or care about what you are saying, they will invariably push you off to the person in their company you sound the most like (especially if they have no idea what you are talking about). If you do not wish to be herded off to a lower level engineer to argue “feeds and speeds” or to try to convince a worker bee that your application is better than the one they are using, then to try to climb you way back to the decision maker at a later date, you need to focus on solving the problems that interest the person you are meeting with. How do you determine what that is? Listen to them and study them. Typically a “C” or “VP” level individual is much more interested in addressing their: KPIs, ROI, bottom line, top line, profitability, cost control, compliance, competition, or their board of directors. Bottom line…you should be speaking their language

 

“Spray and Pray”

The closer you get to the decision maker within a company the less time or patience they have for this type of marketing or selling. It is the opposite consultative selling.
Spray and pray, from a marketing perspective, is conducting a campaign to the masses in hopes of having a small number of them care enough about what you are selling to contact you to hear more. This is the opposite of targeted marketing, in which you are sending information to the select group you believe will care or benefit from your message.
This is not an ideal lead generating scenario for a consultative sales rep unless you somehow collect information from the “spamee.” The reps do not have the time to research, qualify and then explain to a large number of prospects information and relevance that (had your campaign been conducted correctly) should have been handled by marketing in the first place. The more targeted your audience is, the better you explain your offering, and the better you qualify in advance for the consultative rep, the more meaningful the engagement will be for both parties.

Spray and pray marketing is fine for younger reps searching for any contact with a potential prospect to practice their pitch. It is, however, a complete waste of time for more senior consultative sales reps.

From a sales perspective “spray and pray” happens when a rep has not taken the time to determine exactly what aspects of their offering would be most valuable to the prospect and proceeds with a “canned” sales pitch or script that they hope will have some relevance to the prospects. Unless your company is offering the fountain of youth in a can, it is rare that every company is an ideal candidate or that every person you talk to in that company will respond to the same features and benefits of your offering. We have all been on the receiving end of an eager sales rep trying to drone on about their product before finding out if you need, want or care about what they are selling.