Almost all of your outbound sales and marketing activities are a waste of time for the simple reason that the vast majority of the people you approach aren’t ready to buy at the moment. The figure is generally thought to be around 97%.
This is a scary realisation for any sales-driven organisation. You approach the “prospect” and even if you are able to break-through the noise created by all your competitors there’s only a 3% chance the prospect is ready to buy. That isn’t “ready to buy from you” though, that’s ready to buy from anyone.
Therefore there’s a fundamental problem with all cold outreach, calling, emailing, advertising, targeted PPC, boosted posts etc and it doesn’t matter how much I fit your description of a lookalike audience, have the right job title and CV, and how much the product outperforms every other product in the market but at the moment I’m just not interested.
Micro-niching, journey-mapping, personas, lookalike audiences, are all well and good, but in reality they are just offering you a larger slice of a shrinking pie. And when the pie disappears altogether you’re in big trouble if you haven’t started another type of revenue generation .
So if we assume that’s true is there even any point in marketing departments? Yes, there certainly is. Not all marketing is a waste of time… PPC (Google/Bing), search marketing, content marketing and of course social media all are based on solving a problem, educating and helping.
We’re already doing that though.
“We generate loads of leads with our marketing” is a push-back that we get from marketing departments. When we ask “would more leads be beneficial” the answer is ALWAYS “yes.” The reason for this is that often outbound marketing in all of its forms is throwing mud at a wall. Yes, some of it sticks but the mud is getting more and more expensive and the wall is getting slicker and slicker.
Fundamentally a 97% failure rate is not a very good way of doing things. 3 out of every hundred buying (not even buying from you) is not a good place to be. So why not try to tackle the problem from the other direction? What behaviour do people have when they actually ARE able to buy?
What would you do?
Would you would Google the problem? Definitely.
So is the answer Google? Well, no, not really. Google is a great (possibly the best) starting point but it usually leads to the same place as an advert. Your website.
Would you believe an advert? Even if you would, 69% of people in a recent IPSOS MORI poll actively distrust advertising. But even if you were one of the 31% that do would you assume that if a website says “we make the best…” that the company does?
Is BMW the ultimate driving machine? I’m sure Ferrari would argue that it isn’t.
Is Budweiser the king of beers? Heineken would say theirs “probably’ is…
You see, the thing is that even if you Google the problem and I’m the suggested solution you probably won’t believe what I’ve written on my corporate website. Think about what happens when you buy a book from Amazon or book a hotel using Trip Advisor, or engage a plumber after reading on TrustPilot it isn’t the product or supplier you believe but the people just like you that have reviewed it.
So you would ask your friends? Yes because you trust their opinion. The internet means that now you can use your “friends” rather than just your friends. By “friends” (in quotes) I mean that anonymous plethora of people served-up by the web for you. The 675 million people on LinkedIn or the 2.5 billion people on Facebook…these are people who are just like you and have bought/experienced/used the product or service before you have and have learned lessons so you don’t have to learn them yourself the hard way.
Social enables you to see what people really think. Chatrooms, reviews, forums, user groups, contacts…all of those people who can share their experiences. These aren’t necessarily people you will ever meet or exchange ideas with and certainly not go out to dinner with but they offer a degree if realism and impartiality that simply isn’t ever served-up by the organisation themselves.
That is how people buy in 2020. It isn’t how they used to buy. It used to be a case of getting on the phone, cold calling, doorstepping, pitching…but today it isn’t. It simply isn’t. Your VP might tell you these tactics work. Your sales trainer might tell you that the old ways still work. Your salespeople might tell you they are using their skills that they developed 25 years ago and have been honing ever since.
But you know the truth.
You know sales and marketing has changed.
You know that 100 dials per day isn’t sustainable.
You know a 1% response rate from your email list isn’t sustainable.
You know that developing relationships on social media is the right way to do things (even if you can’t put your finger on why you now this is the right thing to do).
Change in this arena is a scary prospect but a necessary one. I’m not pitching…but if you would like a confidential chat to talk about some of the barriers and challenges you will need to overcome to make this a reality…email me here.
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