The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

The #1 Reason Why You Will Fail At Selling Digital Marketing Solutions


It’s a pretty strong statement to say there is one thing that will influence whether you succeed or fail at selling digital marketing solutions. But that’s what I’m saying.

Pete Pitcher and Connie Consultant both work for Mel Manager at Digital Solutions Inc. Pete Pitcher learns about one new digital product each month that he can sell. He approaches new prospects and current clients with a one-sheet on why his new digital product is a perfect solution.

Pitching the "Next Great Thing" vs. Finding Ideal Prospects

Before Pete can finish pitching the new product to his list of 75 targets, his manager holds a meeting to “roll out” another great digital product. Pete is so excited because he feels that all the businesses that buy this new product will have great results. Pete’s plan is to approach all the targets on the list that didn’t call or email him back last month with this new, latest, and greatest digital offering. 

Connie Consultant has the same digital products to sell as Pete. Connie chooses to identify 9 targets that meet all of the criteria that make ideal prospects, and then she focuses on getting appointments with each one. She gets her appointments by demonstrating empathy, expertise, and problem-solving capabilities. She rarely mentions up front the new digital products she has available.

After each meeting, she gathers and sorts all of the information she’s learned about her prospect and focuses on developing a solution to address the assignment she and the prospect have agreed upon. She then develops a solution within the investment level she was given by considering all of her resources, including the various digital capabilities her company has, including the new product her manager just rolled out. 

Connie takes this approach with each of her 12 targets. In a few weeks’ time, she has met with five of these ideal prospects and has presented solutions for each.

Who Does Better: Connie or Pete?

Mel Manager decides to reward the salesperson with the best sales activity and new business revenue and calls both Connie and Pete into the conference room. Who do you think will receive Mel’s recognition? 

If you answered Connie, then you guessed correctly. Not just because it’s what I think would happen, but because it’s what does happenall the time. I could easily have substituted at least a dozen real names for our fictitious Pete and Connie. Managers share stories with me time and time again about salespeople who focus on selling solutions to win more business than do those who choose to pitch products.

Digital marketing offerings come in a number of different platforms—from more traditional digital such as email and desktop display to current trends in mobile, social, and search. Every digital product can deliver results… it comes down to how you use it.

So if you focus only on the products you have to sell rather than the solutions you can deliver, you are setting yourself up for failure. Ask all the Pete Pitchers out there. Those guys are useful only when they happen to have the digital product that fits the previously devised marketing plan. Digital hasn’t stopped evolving; the technology, data, and inventory available will continue to grow and change. The Connies of the world are much less at the mercy of specific digital products… because they have the expertise behind how to make digital work. That’s where success lies.

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Topics: Digital