When you log onto your phone or computer to read something interesting, the first experience you are likely to get is a pop up ad or annoying video that has zero interest to you.
Why? Because the unimaginative, brain dead marketing types cannot get your attention with valuable, intelligent, thoughtful content so they interrupt you. Anything to get a click, even if you curse when it pops up.
It is not much different in enterprise, B2B software sales.
There are just too many undifferentiated technologies, with way too much private equity investment, chasing too few prospects (victims).
The result is an army of software reps who buy the same lists, attend the same conferences, hire the same marketing types and get measured on how many face-to-face meetings they get.
When a sales rep does what every other rep does, he or she will get the same results. Not much success. Prospects avoid you like a disease. People hiding their company email addresses using Gmail or Hotmail. Sound familiar?
So what does the intelligent rep do? Well, first, understand the terrain. If everyone is being annoying, try being thoughtful. Try delivering value or insight, not white papers homogenized into uselessness.
Our site discusses only disruptive startups. So if you work for Oracle, VMware, EMC, Dell, your customer knows pretty much about you before you darken their door. For better or worse. You are 100% profiled by the sales reps who preceded you.
But the tech startup is a different creature. Its perceived weakness is its hidden strength. The customer knows little or nothing about you. Thus you can tailor your message in a way that is completely new and different to the prospect.
You can be interesting!
Whenever you deliver a message to a qualified prospect that is different, new, he or she has not heard before, you are on the value road. You are delivering something they could not have learned by searching the internet.
Pretty good first step.
Do not then revert to selling. Selling is moving the prospect along the information capture road, or to conclusions before they are ready. Thoughtfulness, providing insight, particularly from sources outside your company, that the prospect would not have found—that’s the ticket.
With your provided insight, the prospect moves to the conclusion at his or her own pace. Sometimes that is quite fast, as when you are in a red zone deal. (Red zone deal means they selected or are about to select a competitor then they hear about you. Dynamics are very different).
When you are providing thought leadership, because you know your space so well, you know what articles are relevant, you studiously avoid giving out marketing material unless it is requested, you stand out.
Try yourself as a test. When was the last time you bought a complex product you did not know a lot about? A car, appliance, financial instrument, vacation?
You did your research on the web. They you engaged.
You felt the hair go up on your neck when you received incessant calls minutes after downloading a brochure. You got very irritated when you got email after email wanting to know if someone could help you understand what you just read. Maybe you got that call 20 minutes after downloading the document.
When you engaged you dealt with “hard closers” who were all over you demanding a close and telling you what you would lose if you did not make an immediate decision—how did you feel?
“Jack, look, if you can get this done before the end of the quarter…..”
Ever hear that one?
Remember the other person, the one who quietly laid out options, was there as a resource, knew everything about the category, gave you a couple of documents that were invaluable, showed you some hidden pitfalls you may want to consider.
Remember how you looked forward to learning more.
And remember who you bought from.