Third: Talk to your brand advocates
Within every buyer ecosystem, there exists a set of customers who will gladly share their success stories in support of your brand. They understand the benefits of your products or services, and they know why they chose you over your competitors. The valuable information that they can provide will help you take some of the guesswork out of your messaging.
When you talk with your brand advocates, look for common objections or stalling points in the sales cycle that could have been avoided if your sales team had the right message delivered in the right way at the right time. Ask them what led them to their decision to purchase, and if any collateral in particular influenced their choice. Drill down into the messaging that had the biggest impact. Also, take time to fully define each of your brand advocates, and compare them to your defined personas. Many times, you can strengthen your persona definitions by understanding your advocates.
If possible, continue this same process with those in the “loss” column—prospects who didn’t become customers. Find out what prevented them from signing. Dig for the root of their objections by determining why they chose another brand over yours, find what was missing in your messaging, and figure out how you could strengthen your collateral in a way that might have overturned their objections. Your ultimate goal is to discover the sales tools that are working and which ones can be revised or discarded.
Fourth: Create your (synchronized) sales tools
One of the biggest communication divides between sales and marketing revolves around messaging. Given to their own processes, marketing teams prefer to generate high-level, universal messaging that appeals across a wide array of prospects. Sales, on the other hand, prefers targeted messaging that speaks directly to the customer of the day in order to quickly close a deal.
The best tools, however, tend to sit somewhere in the middle, providing enough high-level messaging that your overarching strategy is supported, but targeted enough that they appeal to a specific buyer persona. For example, a CTO is going to be more interested in the impact your technology solution will have on their organization in terms of downtime, configuration, management and maintenance. A CEO may respond better to a quick video or infographic. However, the CFO will be interested in an ROI calculator that justifies the expense of your solution. Accounting may want to see charts or graphs. All of the decision makers need to know what your product is, what it does, and how it solves their problems, but they are going to want to see the information presented from a different angle. So, look at your current sales tools and determine the best methods to overcome specific objections from decision makers with different agendas.
That’s where synchronized sales tools come into play. When marketing is aligned with sales, and they understand each other’s goals, marketing is able to provide a portfolio of tools that supports sales at each touchpoint of the deal. A concise set of synchronized tools provides the high-level information that defines your products and services, but each individual piece of collateral gives a single buyer persona the answers to his or her specific questions. Five to seven sales tools will often work just as well as 20. Sales gets their pin-pointed messaging needs satisfied, and you are assured that the tools that sales uses are properly branded and contain complete and accurate messaging.
Also, remember that the customer will be using the tools that you’ve created to make their case internally to different groups. They shouldn’t have to modify these tools to do so. Instead, the sales team needs to provide a synchronized set of tools to overcome potential objections that is totally aligned with the customer’s needs.
When you provide synchronized tools, you will see some pretty amazing results:
- Your sales team will be satisfied, reducing their tendency to create their own tools.
- Salespeople become trusted advisors to potential buyers due to consistency in messaging. The tools will help make them valued participants in the customer’s internal sales process.
- Your marketing collateral will empower the seller and the buyer, which can strengthen your posture in your industry.
- The sales process will become much more predictable.