As the VP of Marketing for VantagePoint, I’m responsible for creating awareness, driving revenue, and ensuring a great customer experience. So today, as I was looking for interesting content covering those areas (to read and share), I was aghast at the amount of conflicting information out there. It’s overwhelming—and truly bordering on untenable. Here are some quick competing examples of what I saw just today off the “sales enablement” keyword in the news and on Twitter:
- How to close more sales deals with buyer personas vs. the four imperatives for sales enablement in 2020 (hint: buyer personas aren’t an imperative)
- A book promoting how people buy and a book promoting social selling
- Know your leads (including the MQL) vs why the MQL is dead
Let’s face it: if you were to read industry content on a regular basis as a guidepost for how to help your organization, you would make yourself crazy. And if you tried to implement all of it, you’d get fired. As a marketer, I’m here to say that enough is enough! We tend to latch onto an idea that works and make it not work by working it to death. Remember email marketing and how we spammed the living daylights out of everyone?
We’re now doing the same with content. It’s a shame because content used to help our buyers when very few organizations were doing it at all. Information was gold and those that were trailblazers in taking the time to make it meaningful helped their buyers succeed. And, there it is: the truth that we as marketers must never lose sight of. Our real job is to help our buyers make a good decision. I would argue that we are doing the exact opposite these days. Indeed, our incessant content generation is contributing to the rise in “no decision.”
How to Really Get to Know Your Buyer
Do you know the conversations your sales teams and account managers are having every day? Do you understand the objections they face daily? Do you know what their quotas are or how the accounts are divided up? You need to get to know your buyers—as well as your sellers–and the challenges both face to be an effective marketer. More to the point, you need to create content that supports the buying decision. Here are five easy practices that can help:
1. Participate in internal sales team calls
If your sales team has a standing call, join it. I attend our sales team call every week because it keeps me grounded in alignment and helps me stay focused on supporting their efforts to identify, develop, and close opportunities.
2. Dig to find customer objections
Chances are good that there are common objections your salespeople are hearing from prospects. If you know what they are, you can create content that addresses them head on.
3. Listen to customer and prospect calls
Sitting in on pitches and customer calls is an invaluable way to get to know your buyers. You’ll hear their concerns, who else is involved in the decision, and what your competitors have told them.
4. Attend events
One of the best and easiest ways to understand your customer is to work your conference booth, attend the conference event sessions, and branch out at the meals and networking events. If you’re only staffing your booth with salespeople and/or business development reps, you are missing an opportunity to get close to your targets.
5. Collaborate with the delivery team
It’s not just sales that can help you see the big picture. The team implementing a customer project or engagement can share how it’s going, what issues they faced, and how they’re planning to address similar challenges moving forward. And, that information is good fodder for compelling customer-facing content.
Once you’ve taken the steps to really understand your buyers–not just their personas–it is much easier to understand the mix of marketing tools and tactics needed to help them solve their problems. And, it may or may not be content generation.