Introducing the 99 Questions Methodology

How to use 99 Questions to solve your “marketing” problem

Senior executives always have unique perspectives about what they think drives successful sales in their business. Perhaps it would surprise you to know that despite the fact their businesses are in totally different industries, with different business models, and different types of sales people, executives usually tell me the same thing:

“I don’t really understand what my sales team is doing to find more business”.

The words aren’t always articulated in exactly that way, but I have come to understand they are talking about attracting and acquiring new customers. In a word, they are concerned about prospecting.

Internet Buyer Behavior

We can all agree that today’s Internet-driven buying process has created new behaviors where buyers assess potential solutions by doing Internet searches, viewing websites, reading social media reviews and comments, and finding analyst evaluations. Buyers no longer allow themselves to be subjected to sales prospecting tactics like cold calling and direct marketing. It’s just more difficult for sales people to attract new customers because they are typically required to use prospecting tactics that buyers find objectionable.

Ironically, the same senior executives who complain about how sales team prospecting doesn’t result in more new customers also don’t believe they need “marketing” to solve this problem. If only the sales team would just cold call more; or we send out more direct mail; or we get more business cards at trade shows; or we just get more leads from our vendor partners – then we would get more customers.

Unfortunately, this mindset doesn’t align with what buyers want, so sales teams that execute in this fashion are rarely successful. If buyers depend on searches, social media, websites, and analysts to decide what they are buying, it seems that whatever messages a firm delivers via media channels at least in part determines whether buyers will be interested in their firm OR NOT. Continue reading “Introducing the 99 Questions Methodology”

Advertisements

The Integrated Bottom Line: Sales and Marketing for Maximum ROI

On Wednesday, May 15, I’ve been invited to participate in a panel discussion and speak at  CMSExpo, an annual conference devoted to all things content. I am an avid Joomla user  (the tool I use for my website), so I’ve been collaborating with a number of web developers and marketing consultants both to develop new business and to support them as clients. One such colleague is Avery Cohen, principal at Metrist Partners. Metrist and I are partnering to create new thought leadership around integrating sales and marketing content to produce revenue. Here is Avery’s recent article, also posted on the CMSexpo blog site, describing this new thought leadership. Many Thanks to Avery for allowing me to post his article here.

The Integrated Bottom Line: Sales and Marketing for Maximum ROI

integrated-bottom-line

It’s a typical day at the office: The Sales Team says that Marketing isn’t producing good, qualified leads. The Director of Marketing is trying to keep up with a changing technical environment and production demands for content.

The Marketing Team is working on advertising, online articles, email and print newsletters, social media along with brochures, trade shows, and presentations. Search rankings are falling, and the cost of customer acquisition is rising.

Marketers are asked to deliver more high-quality leads, at a lower cost per lead, without acknowledging that there is an integrated bottom line. Increasing costs of new customers can be an indicator that we aren’t getting the right messaging to the right people at the right time…

Often, there are disconnects between:

  1. What the sales team is saying (and learning) in the field,
  2. The problems and real needs faced by our customers and prospects,
  3. The messaging our marketers are pushing out through our content marketing initiatives,
  4. The response we are getting from our online community,
  5. The results we are getting from our marketing campaigns.

It’s time to get Sales and Marketing to collaborate on content. Marketing can support the sales team by providing topical content on a monthly basis. This gives the sales team a relevant perspective to share with prospects and their client network. Continue reading “The Integrated Bottom Line: Sales and Marketing for Maximum ROI”

“Pull” Demand

In today’s business environment, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to gain the attention of potential customers. I read more blogs, articles and white papers about the customer acquisition process and demand generation than just about any other topic. The common theme of these articles is about tactical execution: sending e-mails, building websites, doing blogs, creating fan pages, tweeting,  and getting SEO right.

I’m not suggesting these tactics aren’t important, but I think that marketing organizations often view their mission as being tactical execution. What is missing is the appropriate fundamental messaging. That is what enabling “pull” demand is all about. Continue reading ““Pull” Demand”