By Jay Valentine, ContingencySales.com
Let’s begin with truisms upon which we can agree:
- Prospects do not want to talk with salespeople
- Marketing is ineffective reaching decision makers
- 65 percent of salespeople miss quota
- Sales cycles are longer
- “No decision” is the dominant outcome
- Cost of sales and marketing exceeds 50 percent of revenue
- End-of-quarter discounting is the norm
This is the landscape upon which today’s marketers cast their SPAM. What’s changed in 10 years?
- Buyers have too much information; they can search all tech solutions on their own
- Quarterly driven sales reps cannot let a sales cycle develop organically
- Transaction-driven sales managers made customers targets rather than partners
- Sales funnels are mostly useless, low level types who cannot buy but will take a lunch
Well, do I have it about right? I think so.
Being noticed is not the hurdle. Billions of dollars in CRM, Account Based Marketing, Marketo-SPAM, gets you noticed. The challenge is being heard.
Getting noticed and being heard are massively different outcomes. People notice car wrecks. LinkedIn notices the fool with blue hair or a mohawk posting useless videos. Listening is a different matter.
Listening means the messaging entity, that would be you, has struck “I need to hear this. It aligns with what I am trying to do.” People listen when they perceive value. They notice when they see something different.
Marketing-types believe noticing is the first step in being heard. They are wrong. Noticing can inhibit being heard. Let’s go there for a minute.
Noticing can be a distraction when that notice says “Oops! Looks like I just got sucked into another vendor sales funnel.” When the buyer’s mind “notices” that he or she is now a target in another sales cycle, it has the effect of putting up barriers to listening.
If you are a Marketo-SPAM, corporate marketing type working for a high-tech company you just tuned out. Good.
Let’s take an example. Try this at home.
You just brought home that nice, high end, new foodie restaurant dinner for you and your partner. It is almost 6:30 PM and both of you are famished after a day listening to QBRs. (Quarterly business reviews if you are not in high tech). You open the recyclable Styrofoam containers. The sweet smell of that new restaurant fills the room. You are about to take that first bite. Your partner is already on their third, smiling as they pour the Cab.
Your phone rings, and you take the call because it is from your area code. Then you hear it! The chirpy marketing voice! They scammed you with local presence dialing. You know what that is, you bought it yourself from SalesLoft.
Oh, crap! You hate this. Why won’t these people leave you alone? You just hang up and you are genuinely miffed.
You just noticed. Will you listen? Will you listen to that “value prop” the next day when they call your cell again and again? Will you ever let anyone have your cell phone number again? Ever?
Millions of dollars in “marketing technology” just got you to notice and it equally created a barrier to listening. This happens every day in B2B companies across the world. The next morning you are having that latte with almond milk, double cinnamon at the local Starbucks. Your bestie is also there and you strike up a chat. They tell you about a pretty cool new technology they are running on a trial that cuts their Amazon and Azure costs 90 percent making the apps run 1,000 times faster.
You listen. Measure the cost of that latte vs. the millions spent on conventional marketing technology. Millions got them noticed but you will never take their call. The trusted pal at Starbucks got you to listen.
Why not invest in trusted advisor marketing? There are two reasons. VC-funded companies do not allow it because it does not fit their model. Transaction Sales VPs cannot implement it.
Kind of a conundrum?
About The Author
Jay Valentine is the CEO of ContingencySales.com, bringing disruptive tech products to market without venture capital and the VP of Sales for portfolio company Cloud-Sliver.