Why do most B2B sales people miss their quota? At the top of my list is the failure to communicate. Just as in the classic movie “Cool Hand Luke”, when the (admittedly evil) Captain can’t get Luke to cooperate and he attributes this disappointing result to “a failure to communicate”, do we also see sales teams AND marketers failing to communicate effectively with prospects.
What must marketers and sales people know how to communicate?
1. A substantive understanding of the prospect’s business environment;
2. A knowledge of the technical, workflow, or business challenges faced by each constituent in the prospect’s decision-making process;
3. A differentiated benefits message regarding the value of the products or solutions being proposed;
4. A direct relationship between those differentiated business values and the customer’s problems/challenges.
Of course, selling and marketing is much more than just these four items, but without the ability to communicate effectively on ALL of these dimensions, it is unlikely that prospects will understand, and therefore purchase, even the best products.
Sales and Marketing must, therefore:
- know your customer’s business well, and learn to speak their language (using their acronyms, their industry lingo, and the terminology common to their business ecosystem);
- learn to listen well, so that when information is conveyed to customers, it is personalized based on what has been learned from the customer, and is thus relevant and useful;
- focus on why the product or solution being offered is better, in specific terms of solving the customer’s problems – not just a knowledge of the features and benefits of those features;
- communicate effectively about the meaningful and relevant outcomes that will result from the customer’s decision to purchase these specific problems.
Better communication always leads to better sales performance.