Sometimes to be more productive and effective, you just need to take it back to the basics. But, often, that’s what takes the most time — and most days, we don’t have enough hours in the day.
If you could invest now to save later, would you do it? Ask yourself, if you could make a change today to reap benefits in the future, would you be willing to give it a try?
At The Center for Sales Strategy (CSS), we value sales and marketing alignment, and a lot of our efforts overlap; and therefore, we carry tips and strategies across departments. Why? Because they work.
In this post, you’ll find three valuable non-innovative marketing tactics that we’ve seen support the sales process. We call them “non-innovative” because it’s nothing you haven’t heard before, but the question and challenge we have for you is, have you done these things, or are you committed to putting forth the effort to adopt these tactics to boost your sales process?
3 Marketing Tactics for Sales Pros
“Yeah, yeah... I know, I know,” might be what you’re thinking. Or, I know my target audience, but not because I’ve spent time researching.” Or maybe it’s, “Why do I need to know this?” All responses are valid, and it's very likely a large percentage of you think one of these things. How do I know? Because as the Marketing Manager at CSS and our divisions, I’ve gotten these responses.
If you responded with one of these phrases, it’s okay!
But, why is this important? Let’s begin with a story.
Shara was a talented seller. Her colleague, who was also in sales (but a different industry), told her she was bringing in so many new, qualified leads from her social selling effort on LinkedIn! Wow! Shara was stoked to get started! And she did. She spent hours optimizing her profile, writing posts, responding and engaging, joining and being active in groups, and all the things her colleague told her she was doing. But guess what... no success in bringing in new leads that were worth her nurturing further. Why? Because her target audience doesn’t spend time on LinkedIn.
So back to you — Do you know where your prospects hang out? Are your people on social? If not, social selling isn’t for you. If they are, you should be there. But if you just guessed they are because YOU are, that’s not right. But it’s not just about social selling! Knowing your target audience digs so much deeper.
The reason marketing spends so much time and effort on defining their target audience is because it guides their strategy and ensures they’re not wasting time, effort, or precious dollars on something where there’s not potential to grab the attention of their target audience.
In the same way, sellers should adopt this tried-and-true tactic. It can take time and resources to invest in research, but when you have a clear picture of:
- Who your target audience is
- Where they spend time
- How they like to communicate
- Where they like to get information (even what kind of information they need/want)
You can then approach your sales process starting with the answers to these questions, so you cut out any unnecessary efforts you are spending time on to attract more qualified prospects in the right places, at the right time, the communicate and grow the relationship in a way they want to be nurtured.
DEEP DIVE: What is a Target Persona And Why Do I Need One?
2. Less Selling — More Storytelling
More than ever, the best marketing pros are preaching this, and really, storytelling all comes down to psychology.
Some points on psychology behind storytelling for successful sales:
- Stories allow human beings to draw conclusions. If a prospect is ‘in the market’ but might not be considering your company as their choice of product or service, a story could be the fastest way to convince a skeptical prospect.
- Social proof — a story is an easy way to get people to trust you because they can find out why so many people like you or use your product.
Today, storytelling in sales is a must. People retain 65 to 70% of information shared through stories, while only 5 to 10% of information is retained through dry presentation of data and statistics.
Because story retention is so much higher than data or stats, it’s important to tell stories that compel your customers to act by speaking to their desired business results.
Benefits of storytelling in sales include:
- Capture attention in a way the prospect would connect with
- Build trust and rapport between you and your company and the prospect
- Make data and results come to life and relatable for a prospect
What does storytelling look like to a seller?
Here are some ways we’ve seen sellers use storytelling successfully:
- A seller shared a recent success story on their LinkedIn profile and had a former client reach out who was at a new company and was interested in reconnecting on behalf of their new company, and eventually became a client. The case study on LinkedIn was the initial touch that compelled the prospect to reach out.
- A seller had completed a business needs analysis with a prospect. When the seller reached out following that, they sent a video case study that their company had completed and that spoke to the desired business results of the prospect and it helped further develop their conversation to the sale.
- During a proposal presentation, a seller put the onboarding process into a story and timeline that helped the prospect receiving the presentation comprehend what it would look like for their team when they became a client.
DEEP DIVE: The Best Sales Pitch Isn't A Pitch At All
3. Establish Trust and Create Value
Our goal in the marketing department is to provide value to our target audience through resources and content that address their pain points, answer their questions, and help them find solutions to needs they may not even know they have right now.
We strive to educate on the solutions we provide, while working to develop trust and rapport with our audience through content, email, and social marketing initiatives. At the base, what we do exists to establish trust and create value — and convert leads for the sales team, of course. But qualified leads don’t come if they don’t trust your company or value what you’re sharing.
In a similar way, the sellers who keep trust and value at the core of their actions with prospects develop relationships and build rapport that leads to big wins and successful sales.
How can sellers establish trust and create value to improve their sales process and close more deals?
- Be accessible and available so you can answer questions in a timely manner
- Bring value by putting them first — not revenue
- Demonstrate knowledge and expertise through content
According to Kurt Sima, a great way to establish trust and create value is to think like an owner. Instead of having the mindset, “Sell! Sell! Sell!” Shift your mindset to that of an owner and journey through the sales process as if you were thinking of it like you’re reading their mind.
In both sales and marketing, trust is a requisite for decision-making — especially when prospects have countless options available at the click of a mouse.
Sales and Marketing Alignment for a Faster Sales Process
At the end of the day being in sales is about building relationships — getting to know the other person, listening, and having genuine one-on-one communication. Both marketing and sales team share common goals and want the same things, they just often have different way of saying it. Marketing uses terms like “leads” and “the funnel,” whereas sales talks about “pipelines” and “processes.”
When you get to the core, these things are the same. The sales industry has experienced significant changes just within this year. One of these changes is the shift from product knowledge is king to customer knowledge is king. Suddenly, the basic tactics that seemed fit for only the marketing team make sense for sales teams.