An old adage in business states: “It all starts with the sale”. Yeah but, not so much. Long before you’re sitting in front of an interested prospect there is a lot of work that has to be done in order for you to have the opportunity to sit with a person that is more than 50% likely to buy what you’re offering. The sale is the culmination of targeted marketing and great branding. If you’re going to get a commitment from the buyer, the work leading you to this opportunity is as important as the sales process itself and must not be over looked.
Part of the work getting you to the table for a sale, is your marketing. The other part is branding. Branding and marketing go hand in hand. As your closing ratio is important to reduce your sales costs, so is targeting your marketing efforts. Think about how often you see marketing. Even if you’re able to avoid ads on TV and you listen to public radio. Commercial signs are everywhere! Your mailbox is filled with it, as is your email box. There are truck signs, billboards even bathroom walls have got monitors with commercials! Good god, we North Americans can’t get away from advertising! It is ubiquitous, yet hardly any of it gets through to our consciousness. We have all gotten very good at ignoring marketing. For marketing to be effective, it has to have a very clear message that solves a problem, offers a solution, relieves a worry or fulfills a dream. Most of my clients are B to B meaning their customers are businesses. This ad from 1958 sums up their dilemma perfectly and it’s as true today as it was then.
The wording is hard to read but this is what it says:
I don’t know who you are.
I don’t know your company.
I don’t know your company’s product.
I don’t know what your company stands for.
I don’t know your company’s customers.
I don’t know your company’s record.
I don’t know your company’s reputation.
Now, what was it you wanted to sell me?
Moral: Sales start before your salesman calls – with business publication advertising.
What was true then is just as true today. But today, thanks to the internet, you can target your preferred prospects more closely and for a whole lot less money. Before the internet, you’d have to put out a lot of marketing and hope that a small percentage of it hit your target. Today there is a way to answer all the same questions this prospect had in the 50’s before your salespeople make contact.
It’s through content marketing; it’s inbound via emails, subscription to your blog, twitter followers, LinkedIn, Pinterest and much more. This type of marketing if done with the understanding that it has to be of value and respectfully offer solutions, relieve pain, stress, or answer dreams will expose your company as the thought leader in your industry and as a trusted authority. Through content marketing you can position your company as the preferred vendor and the one with the answers to the questions prospects have had since, long before 1958.