Marketing needs to change. It’s time for marketing to bring some substance to the table. It’s time marketing add a research department and bring some banging information and insight to the table. Marketing needs to go beyond the telling message and begin to teach.
Last week, I wrote a post about the information sale and the importance of being an expert. In it, I shared how being an expert and having more information is the key to successful sales. Here is the key quote from that post:
Information selling is quickly becoming a must. It’s no longer a secret weapon of great sales people. Customers and clients are busy. They won’t give up their time for a “pitch.” They don’t want to do the work themselves. They don’t want to add anything else to their plate. They want sales people to bring a lot more to the table than just a “pitch.”
What makes information selling interesting is it requires a tremendous amount of information. Sales people have to know more than just their product. They have to be experts . . .
To be an expert and have the amount of information required to be successful in the “information sale” sales people are going to need help. That help will need to come from marketing and sales operations.
A new role or division needs to be created within marketing. This new role will be solely responsible for providing sales with the teaching materials required for the information sale. This role will be heavily research dependent. It will be their job to provide sales with deep, robust industry information including; where the market is headed, what’s influencing the market, what’s changing, what’s getting old and what’s coming down the pike and more. This role will need to be THE company’s industry thought leader. The role will need to supply sales and its prospects with all the data and teaching material they can.
The role will have to provide more than data. It will need to be creative. It will need to find information and solutions customers are unaware of. It has to find and provide information that is new, fresh and impacting. The role should look and feel like an internal Gartner Group. If done correctly, the company and its sales people will be percieved as a go to resource for critical, strategic decisions customers and prospects make around your products and services.
Supporting sales no longer means providing slick, glossy, product sheets or spec sheets. It’s no longer about providing a cool flash based website. More than ever, marketing has to bring some substance to the table. Marketing needs to teach the sales team to teach the customer.
Marketing, start thinking like this:
Create videos that shed light on a major external factor such as; a Senate bill, government mandate, new study or economic indicator and how that information could effect their business and the industry as a whole.
Do a study or survey regularly to get the pulse of the industry or it’s clients and publish the results on your website. Then provide an ebook or white paper on how to capitalize on the current industry sentiment.
Produce a monthly “state of the industry” newsletter highlighting what is going in the industry and how it is affecting your customers and their customers.
Do bi-weekly “how to” webinars targeting key industry challenges and how to solve them.
Create a “company college” or resource page on the website and load it up with useful industry information and resources; videos, ebooks, white-papers, links, book recommendations, webinars, podcasts etc. Establish your site as the place to go to LEARN more about what is going in the industry with the products and services you sell AND about the business challenges your company solves.
Teach sales how to use all the information you uncover.
Sales has to change. The information sale is demanding it. Therefore, it’s time for marketing to change. It’s time for marketing to bring some substance to the table. There is still room for flash in marketing, but NOT until there is substance. The substance is, valuable, relevant information your customers DON’T have.
Build a research department. Hire some industry experts, and start teaching your sales team and your customers.
Maybe we should call it the information identification and dissemination department? Nah, but that’s what they need to do. The market is demanding it!
This is a follow up to my post last week where I wrote about the information sale and the importance of being an expert.
Getting this information takes an incredible amount of time and effort and this is why the role of marketing and sales operations needs to change.