Mainstream adoption of mobile devices, search engines, social media, and selective consumption (Netflix, iTunes, Sirius XM, and the Google Play Store for example) has led to a world where people are used to getting exactly what they want, when they want, 100% on their own terms.
It wasn’t always this way. It used to be that you could fill your sales funnel through print advertising, broadcast media, direct mail, trade show sponsorships, cold calling, banner ads, and cold emailing (a.k.a. spam). Back then, your prospects began talking with your sales team when they were 10% to 20% of the way through their decision making process.
Today, it’s vastly different. Prospects and clients now do tons of research on their own, before they’re even willing to speak with your sales team. So much so, that in many cases, prospects and clients are 70% or more of the way through their decision-making process before your team is even looped into a potential opportunity.
This is an enormous problem for legacy sales teams that are used to calling high (CEO or equivalent) with a static elevator pitch.
But it’s also an enormous opportunity for those companies that are able to get found by the right people, in the right places, at the right time, and most of all, in the right context.
By getting found early, your company can earn a seat at the table as a trusted advisor. Resistance to your sales team, like it’s the plague, drops tremendously. You’re able to position your team as subject matter experts and educators. This can have a dramatic impact on how prospects and clients define their problems and goals and evaluate their options (your competition).
Old-school companies focus nearly all of their resources on differentiating at the absolutely tail end of the buyer’s journey: during the final 30% of the decision-making process -- when it’s too late. When preferences and loyalties have already been formed.
The problem? By then, your company is just seen as a “vendor” -- subject to nasty price wars and profit margin destruction.
None of these words like “vendor,” “bid,” “price quote,” or “proposal” have four letters. But they might as well be four-letter words in today’s buyer’s journey. Because if your prospects and clients only see your company in that light, your company is pretty much screwed and ripe for disruption by much more aggressive competition.
So the question is: How will your company differentiate not just in the final 30% of the buyer’s journey -- but in the first 70% of the decision making process?
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