Despite the fact that I am an entrepreneur and founder of my own company, I am not a natural-born salesperson. I don’t like sales and never have. I never liked having to work so hard to get someone to listen to me, especially if they aren’t really interested.
I started my company with the belief that if we produced high quality products and delivered top notch service, we would grow.
How quickly that bubble was burst.
Twenty years ago I wasn’t a member of the ‘good-old-boys’ network. In fact I was barely 24 years old and still wet behind the ears. I had no idea what it really takes to build a successful business. I did, however, have one thing going for me: I was then and still am genuinely passionate about the Internet and the combination of technology, communication and marketing. I love learning more and also sharing what I’ve learned with anyone who is interested.
In short, I’m an Internet marketing nerd and proud of it.
Sales Paradigm Shift
As an entrepreneur who has been forced into a sales and marketing role, it seems almost fateful that the very industry that I grew up loving – the Internet — would change the way the sales business operates.
I’m talking about the paradigm shift that put the burden of new business development squarely on the marketer’s plate. The Internet gives on demand access to so much more information than ever before at the same time that technology created obstacles for traditional interruptions – voice-mail, DVRs, satellite radio, … you get it.
The responsibility for the sales funnel shifted further when email became the preferred communication platform. Unfortunately, so did less savvy capitalists, creating masses of unsolicited commercial email or spam. Technology has caught up a bit, now filtering 90+% of these unwanted messages from my mailbox.
In my opinion, a sale requires three things. First it requires an opportunity or a problem. So many times I’ve said to myself, “why can’t I do….” Or “why is this so difficult?” Those thoughts drive inventors and innovation every day. If there is no demand for a product or service, you may as well shut the doors. You must provide some value or at least the perception of value if you hope to sell your wares. Once you have a viable offering, the second requirement of sales it to create awareness. Without knowledge that a better option exists, consumers will continue doing things the same old way, complaining a little but knowing no better. If marketing had no other purpose, it would be to create awareness. People can’t buy from you if they don’t know you exist. For over 150 years, businesses have been trying to get the attention of possible customers through various media outlets.
Today, with so many products and services available, it takes a lot more than awareness to attract a new customer. Today, you must also earn their trust. Trust is the differentiator that attracts smart buyers. Today, buyers find sellers 80% of the time. They do their homework, often using the Internet as their primary research tool. If you want to get their attention, you better know what you are talking about.
What if there was a way to create awareness and build trust in an automated fashion? I believe that Marketing Automation solutions offer exactly that – a way to attract attention and nurture a relationship, often before any of the parties have been formally introduced. If you want to improve your marketing success, develop and nurture the relationship before your sales team gets to them. You’ll close more business, faster, with higher average sales and lower sales and marketing costs.
Want to find out if you’re ready? My team at Biznet has created the “Marketing Automation Health Check,”a free online assessment created to help you evaluate your own sales and marketing preparedness for the next step.
Please check it out and let me know if you thought it was valuable.