TALKING SALES 143: “Burning your brand”

burning-american-flag250“The way most of us generate demand results in us burning our brand – is there is a better way?“ – A ‘Talking Sales’ discussion with John Smibert

 

John Bedwany agrees that we have to continue talking to the marketplace to actually drive the demand – but not how we are currently doing it.. He claims that the way most of us generate demand actually leads to us damaging our brand.

John BedwanyHe explains that “the reality of what happens, no matter what type of demand generation we’re currently doing we hit 1,000 people and we’re lucky to get a 5% response rate”. Even if we get a 10% response, John points out that that means for 900 people “we have been disruptive at worst, irrelevant at best”.  We have in fact damaged our brand and make it even harder next time we reach out.

“Why is that? Because the messaging is stop-start and has no intelligence behind it to contextually take the person from one message to the next. Now, if you continue that demand generation type engine, sooner or later they stop taking phone calls, they stop turning up to events, they stop looking at your portals via the digital mechanisms, and you start to lose them because they opt out”.

John goes on to explain that there is a much better way.  Read or view the interview to start learning a better way.

The sales productivity strategies discussed here should be of value to CEO’s COO’s, CSO’s and sales leaders.

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John Bedwany is the CEO of The Database Dept.  He is a thought leader and a disruptive thinker who helps his clients achieve extraordinary productivity in sales and marketing.

Interview

John S.: Hello, I’m delighted to have John Bedwany with me again – welcome back, John!

John B.: Hi, John!

John S.: Hey John, we’re working through your challenges in the B2B sales area, and challenge number five is we often burn the brand with all the outbound type lead generation, demand generation we do.

John B.: Correct.

John S.: I understand that, and being a customer in some sense it really annoys the hell out of me, all these organisations coming to me. What’s your solution to that?

John B.: Before a solution, let’s understand what the problem statement really is, because demand generation is needed.

John S.: Of course.

John B.: We have to continue talking to the marketplace to actually drive the demand.

John S.: Without demand we’re not going to make sales!

John B.: Correct. But here is the reality of what happens, no matter what type of demand generation we’re currently doing, you hit 1,000 people, we’re lucky to get a 5% response rate.

John S.: We’re doing pretty well in a lot of cases.

John B.: 50 say yes. Let’s get the world’s best practice, 100 say yes, so 95 to 90 percent of the people we spoke to said no. Now, if we put our hand on our hearts and we ask yourself the question what type of experience did those people have with the touch…

John S.: Those 900-950 people…

John B.: Correct. Disruptive at worst, irrelevant at best, and sometimes we’re lucky and we get the lead. Why is that? Because the messaging is stop-start and has no intelligence behind it to contextually take the person from one message to the next. Now, if you continue that demand generation type engine, sooner or later they stop taking phone calls, they stop turning up to events, they stop looking at your portals via the digital mechanisms, and you start to lose them because they opt out.

burning-brandJohn S.: Because they don’t see you creating any value for them whatsoever.

John B.: You’re interrupting them, there’s no value. So the solution is really, really simple. Strategic sales and marketing coverage.

John S.: Okay, so define strategic sales and marketing coverage.

John B.: One, understand who it is you’re trying to talk to. Many times the demand agent is talking to the wrong people anyway. Two, understand the key messages that you believe are important to them. Three, give them the messages the way they want to absorb the messages. Four, follow up in a respectful way to understand whether it was of benefit to them. And then five, give them some type of heads up that in the next wave they’ll be expecting some things.

John S.: A lot of people teach salespeople to do that, don’t they? “This is how you do your lead generation, this is how you do your prospecting.” But you’re saying don’t do it with salespeople, but still do it strategically, the way a lot of salespeople are taught to do it.

John B.: Very good, that’s true. But again, I go back to the point that unless you’re able to have a roadmap of what you’re trying to say to whom and when and how they want to absorb it, whether it’s a salesperson – which is too high a cost today, as we know – whether it’s a marketing person or whether it’s digital, the important thing is understanding the roadmap of the message that you need to take to the marketplace to whom, and then send it to them when they want it, not when you want it.

A failing businesswoman wearing a box over her head holds her hands before her face.

John S.: And if I’m understanding it correctly, you’re saying let’s do it from the perspective of the customer, not the fact that we want to do demand a generation process for a product or a service, and therefore we’re understanding the customer, we’re understanding where the customer’s currently in their thinking and their buying journey and so on, and we’re working with them as they progress. So every person you contact, they’ll be in a different position and you’ll be handling it differently strategically.

John B.: Exactly. And the important thing here too, John, is some people don’t want to be contacted for six months, some people don’t want to be contacted in a month’s time, some people don’t ever want to be contacted. Have the respect to listen, and understand what they want to talk about when, and make sure you’re there when they need you.

John S.: Okay, I think I understand that quite well. And really it always worries me when we decide we’re going to have a demand generation programme or we’re going to go out and hit 1,000 people. Yes, every one of those 1,000 people are in a different frame of mind at that time and a different situation in their business and we’re not cognizant of that at all, so I like what you’re saying.

John B.: Correct. And you have to have the data to actually make sure you know what you’re doing.

John S.: That’s important, having the data, the research, everything you need to really do it properly. People don’t do that, they just make a phone call.

John B.: That’s correct. “I’ve got a pipeline gap, here’s $50,000. Give me 50 leads.”

John S.: Great advice, John. Let’s talk about challenge number six in the next interview, and then we’ll move on to marketing challenges.

John B.: Sounds great – thanks, John!

John S.: Look forward to it, John!

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More discussions with John Bedwany:

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John leads three related organisations, Custell, Strategic Selling Group and Sales Masterminds APAC. These help B2B selling organisations, who recognise the need to transform their sales capability, to respond to the tsunami of change that is starting to wash over us all. He works with people who recognise that to survive they must more strategically support their customer in their buying journey - and understand that they must become specialists in the customer's domain in order to be of value to them. He also helps sales teams build differentiated personal brands and leverage the digital and social worlds to engage to create trust and value.

  • Hi John and John, compelling video. i should really know all about this as I’ve known John B for decades and understand (and agree with) his point of view. But this video really gets across just how damaging many marketing and demand generation activities can be if they’re done in a haphazard or unstructured way.

    If you look at it from the perspective of the prospect, how much marketing blurb can they take before they just turn off and stop listening to you?

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