As plans continue to be refined for 2017, there is one area that I feel needs to rise to the top of sales and marketing priority lists–the identification and deep understanding of buying triggers for your products or solutions.
We spent much of the last few years talking about situational awareness being critical to sales and marketing. This is driving many to embrace account based marketing and sales strategies to gain a deeper understanding of their key accounts and to focus efforts on building awareness and interest across the key decision makers and influencers.
All of that is good–but it is meaningless if the enterprise does not have a reason to buy. Reasons to buy will vary widely, but are almost always related to some type of buying trigger.
Buying triggers vary widely and are linked to your solution area. A security breach is a buying trigger for some. For others, a security breach of their competitors is the trigger. New management could be a buying trigger. An application hitting the end of its support cycle often triggers buying. A company investing in another product could be a trigger for your service (or maybe its a trigger for your service in about 12 months).
One of the areas of potential waste in sales and marketing is overselling (or even over educating) when there is no trigger. Yes, we need to build awareness, but educating without a trigger–or exposing or creating a trigger–isn’t going to win any business today. It may help in the future, but, frankly, you probably should invest less in those areas than ones where triggers exist (or you can create them easily).
So, my recommendation for opening the new year more effectively is to focus on triggers. Build a list of the events or situations that trigger customers to buy your products or services. Then expand that list with ideas for how you can determine if the trigger is going to occur (or is likely to occur). Explore if there are ways you can use stories to create the trigger. Prioritize the list based on which ones are most important to you for success.
Then, take a look at your sales and marketing approaches. Are they tuned to triggers? Do you oversell when a trigger is not present (is downloading a whitepaper ever a trigger (or is it a signal that a trigger may exist?)?)? Can you look for patterns where triggers may occur and target you marketing and awareness efforts there?
Broad situational awareness of enterprises is very challenging. Could a step in that direction be an intense focus on buying triggers?
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