Audience Engagement – Why Sales and Marketing Have Changed Forever

Sales and marketing. Marketing and sales. So close, and yet, so different. The unique, sometimes contradictory principles of these two business disciplines are well documented.

There are countless treatises on this eternal conflict, many right here within in these pages. People with very big brains spend an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out how to bridge the gap between these two critical, but often conflicting business disciplines.

But are the pundits simply perpetuating a legendary feud, a culture of conflict that really isn’t relevant anymore? I mean, without this topic, what else would they write about? Are they like the dentist who doesn’t really want cavities to go away, at least not all of them?

I for one believe we can start burying the S&M hatchet once and for all. Because today, effective sales and marketing really aren’t so different. “Effective” is the key word, of course. But in the current business environment, the chasm that has always existed between those who create the brand and those who push the product seems to be closing.

In fact, the fundamental qualities of good marketing and good sales were never all that out of alignment. The most immediate goals of those practicing their respective crafts were, and that probably led to all the misunderstanding. But in the end, very similar principles applied. And whatever real differences there may have been are rapidly fading away, simply because both sides of the debate are now reporting to a new boss, one that has never been so powerful, so critical, so fickle and so unforgiving – their target audience.

THE AUDIENCE CALLS ALL THE SHOTS

In the past, we sales and marketing experts held most of the cards. Marketers pushed information to audiences through a relatively small number of communication channels – traditional broadcast, print, outdoor, direct mail, PR. Sales professionals were pitching prospects who had few, if any available options. Of course there was always competition lurking in the shadows; but they were relatively scarce when compared with today’s competitive landscape, where access to messages, promises, deals and promotions is virtually unlimited.

People just aren’t so easily persuaded anymore. The world is totally transparent to anyone who cares to look inside, and as a result, audiences of all kinds demand greater accountability from the companies they do business with.

Today there are endless options, and endless methods of accessing them. The reality is, we can no longer tell our targets anything they don’t want to hear. Because someone else is right there waiting for the chance to provide exactly what they’re looking for.

LET’S GET ENGAGED!

So what’s the answer? How can marketers and sales professionals alike get their respective audiences to say “yes”?

By engaging them.

“Engagement” is undoubtedly the word du jour of the marketing world. And while the term may not be used as frequently in weekly sales meetings, engagement has always been the goal of any good salesperson.

Just what is engagement? While there still seems to be no definitive definition, as a starting point, engagement is about building meaningful relationships with audiences (or prospects), on their terms. Engagement is all about involvement, entertainment, relevance, relationships, customer focus, listening much more than we speak, then speaking in our audience’s language rather than our own.

All of this might seem self-evident. But it’s easier said than done in today’s world of continuously shifting tastes, interests and communication/entertainment options. Both sales and marketing professionals have a lot to think about if they’re going to effectively engage their targets. And each can learn a trick or two from the other.

THREE ENGAGEMENT SKILLS MARKETING CAN LEARN FROM SALES

Nimbleness. Great salespeople have always been able to turn on a dime. They know that the prospect leads the dance, and if they are to succeed, they must be in concert with their partner, sensitive to their subtlest move and quick to turn and spin and dip whenever they’re ready. Many marketers still want to lead. They know about this engagement thing, but at the end of the day, still think they know better than the audience what the audience really wants. Learn from your sales colleagues. Give the audience what they’re asking for, even if it changes day-to-day. They decide, you provide.

Immediacy. There are no more long-term propositions, at least not in the way there once were. Everything is “now,” this moment. In fact, now is already old news. Super sales pros have always been ready to move when the time was right – before a competitor beat them to the punch. Marketers have traditionally been more deliberate in their efforts — research, develop, research again, refine, research. Take that tack today and you’ll soon be a footnote in the business history books. Think Wang Word Processors. “You snooze, you lose” is true more than ever.

Over-Service. The really great salespeople are never too proud. They’re always ready to bend over backwards for a valued customer – and hopefully enjoy a fleeting moment of customer loyalty. The successful sales pro is there whenever needed – nights, weekends, early mornings, holidays. Because that’s what customers demand. Marketers have always had it a little easier. Set the campaign in motion and watch as the audience eats it up. No more. Today, the most successful marketers are engaging audiences whenever and wherever that audience demands – in the street, on three screens, in their neighborhoods, on vacation. Don’t expect them to come to you anymore; they won’t. Go where they are and give them everything you’ve got!

THREE ENGAGEMENT SKILLS SALES CAN LEARN FROM MARKETING

Research. Marketers have always put a lot of stock in getting to know their audience, spending millions to understand just who they are, how they think and most important, what they’ll buy. Today, effective sales requires an equally inquisitive approach. Learn everything you can about your prospects – married or single; golf or tennis; Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts; where they were born and where they went to school. And of course, what matters to them in their career and their life. The more you know about your audience, the better you will be able to speak their language, and the more engaging your sales efforts will be.

Thinking Big. Master marketers have always focused on the “big idea,” the overriding brand benefits their audience values. They don’t sell a neat product, they promise a solution. Likewise, “solution selling” is all the rage these days, and for good reason. It works. Look for ways to provide big picture solutions to clients, ideally ones that encourage a long-term relationship. Don’t make their life better today. Give them the hope that it will be better tomorrow, for the next year, the next decade. Not with this sale, but with an understanding of their needs and an ongoing commitment to providing answers. That’s real engagement.

Strategy First. The most effective marketing programs have always been based on a carefully designed strategy, essentially ensuring that the right message is being delivered to the right audience in the right way, in order to achieve a desired objective. Sales has traditionally involved a bit more hip-shooting. And while “nimbleness” is listed above as an important sales skill marketers can benefit from, a strategic approach is equally beneficial for sales professionals in today’s chaotic selling environment. Before ever making the first call or sending the first email, develop specific, measurable goals, work to identify your ideal prospects, determine what’s important to them and craft your proposal appropriately. Determine just how they can be most effectively engaged and only then execute your strategy flawlessly. Plan your sale, sell your plan.

It all used to be easier, I think. People could be led to a desired outcome, even manipulated when necessary. Today it’s the smart salespeople and marketers who know, they’re the ones being led, and are willing to follow along. Ask what the audience wants and how they want it, and then give it to them. Whether it’s a brand or a product, a message or a service contract. Make sure it’s all part of an immersive experience that meets and exceeds all their expectations.

Only by being fast, flexible and completely responsive to the needs and desires of our audiences will engagement happen – and relationships thrive.

More Sales – Unmatchable Insurance Sales and Marketing Strategy Selling Tips & Ideas

Insurance professionals obtain insurance sales and marketing strategy selling tips and sales ideas to make more sales and more income. Key sales and marketing strategy tips are provided for you to use.

Selling Tips leading to more sales could be considered as a sales and marketing strategy ranging from deceitful to brilliant. Either way, the one characteristic they share is psychologically persuading insurance prospects to buy products. Here is a four pack of unmatchable selling tips and sales ideas, choose will ones you want to implement in your insurance selling.

Insurance sales and marketing strategy tips and ideas

GREED SELLING TIP: The majority of people believe that people of wealth got there because of a magical short cut. Vast knowledge and hard consistent work is why they are where they are today. Greed is an non-evil emotional stimulus that pushed them along. They possess a strong desire to become financially secure as quickly as possible. These insurance prospects are experts as spotting con salespeople and those trying to appeal to their emotional needs of fear, pride, or anything but greed to obtain financial security. There are at least 6 key emotions used in a sales presentation. You have to press the prospects RIGHT button, all others have little value. The GREED, accumulating wealth-selling tip will increase more sales with these style prospects.

AUTHORITY SELLING TIP: While watching television. You have certainly heard. “3 out of 4 doctors in the _____ study recommend using ______. This is what you need to research about the product you are selling, the better sounding the source, like an insurance study; the more credible you will sound. A prospective client tends to believe that if a study was done, then it must be true. This triggers the customer to also wanting to own this product. However, there is no need to make up a source or stretch the numbers. Using the authority selling tip you could even use you own study. “In the last _ years my clients have chosen the ___ product by a _____ margin”.

LIMITED CHANCE SELLING TIPS: Using direct mail, you want to receive the highest number of insurance leads possible. This can be maximized further using a selling trick like this. “The first 71 people responding will receive this offer.” People do not like to feel that they are being left out of an opportunity. This does not only work in acquiring direct mail leads. Applying it during a sales presentation will also work.. After all, there are only so many prospects that you or going to see and sell in the next month, right? So you say “I am only going to have ___ more people in the next 30 days able to get in on this offer, right now you are being given the opportunity to be one of them.

VERY BUSY SALES IDEA. Prospects are much more apt to purchase from a professional salesperson with a busy schedule. Whether you consider what I am going to present as an idea or as a Tip depends. If you think of yourself as a professional, it is a tip. Otherwise, you will think it is a sneaky trick. Think as you will, it rarely fails to help lead toward a sale. If you are ever going to become a sales professional now is the time to start! Professionals are busy selling, non-professional insurance salespeople are busy prospecting.

Here is the sales and marketing strategy: Find a large rubber band to wrap around a stack of 50 index cards or sales lead responses. Rough up the edges, so your pile looks well used. When you sit down at the table, before giving your presentation, you pick up the stack (with their name on the top) and gently plop them down. Then you commence by saying something like this. “I am glad I am getting this opportunity to show you how my product should benefit you.” “I have been very busy, and I still have to see quite a few interested people.” Your prospect automatically realizes that this is their only opportunity to get what you are offereing.. Watch how few times you now will get the “I want to think it over” or other stall objections. More sales.

ADDITIONAL BONUS SALES IDEA. An easy sales and marketing strategy to increase prospecting lead response and get more sales is to give away something for absolutely free. Not be able to appreciate receiving something for free, especially if your client thinks it is of value to him or her, is virtually impossible to ignorep It also transparently changes the physiological feelings of you client(s). You are given the hard to achieve marks of caring, generosity, professionalism, and trust all at once. What a giant positive leap in to your sales presentation!

Your give-a-way must be unconditional and be of value. Base your gift value on increasing your closing percentage and upping the amount per sale. At a bare minimum, it should be worth $10 to $20 per sales presentation. Your gift has to be one that it immediately redeemable and useful. Here are selling tips and sales ideas which work extremely well. A gift certificate to a local pizza store is closely followed by gift certificates to the nearby gas station, or fast food restaurants. A great add on to these is for agents owning their own website. You can give them the website and page url to a “thank you” download page. They can download recipes, cookbooks, or saving money Ebooks. Your onetime investment is about $50.00

Remember your clients are more apt to buy based on their impression of you, than on the product you offer. Make yourself standout from other salespeople.

How to Boost Your B2B Sales and Marketing Newsletter Open Rate and CTR

Sigh. Guess what? It’s that time again. The day the dreaded company monthly newsletter is due to go out.

It’s OK – all you have to do is simply throw in a bunch of random content, slap a flowery subject line on there, clock out and head home. Besides, any way the Apprentice is on tonight!

But before you head out of the workplace to observe Lord Sugar demolish the ego of Britain’s next wonderful entrepreneur, take a second to rethink your strategy.

As each aspirant business tycoon is aware of, the key to a flourishing business, and an efficient marketing set up, is to convey your innovative concepts to your audience.

And what greater place to begin than the newsletter!

Far from a bit of disposable promoting content, 68% of marketers agree newsletters are the highest email messages which help to realize their business goals. Consider it similar to a business Twitter feed via email.

So in order to assist you, begin seeing your monthly (or weekly or quarterly) newsletter as a blessing, instead of a burden for your B2B sales and marketing groups, we’ve place together half dozen tips to realize better and more focus driven newsletters to help increase open rates and click-through-rates (CTRs).

1) Divide and conquer – section your newsletter for additional targeted messaging

First thing to consider – who is your newsletter speaking to? Is it for prospective or current customers? If you’re targeting each, you’ll wish to make a newsletter for every one that illustrates how you solve prospect challenges and one that talks about all the company developments and updates for current customers. Segmenting is simple to do and makes a large difference in terms of making certain you are focusing your communication to on the proper audience.

2) Get their attention then reel em’ in by using attention grabbing newsletter subject lines

How many emails do you get daily that you barely look at? Then again there’s always that one special offer, great deal or promise that persuades you to click through and see what’s within. That’s the golden ticket! Each marketing manager ought to be aiming for this magic touch with every newsletter they sent out. The secret is to research the most effective stat, quote or revealing truth and write a theme line around it for example.

1. Subject line: are you on the HR frontline?

2. Subject line: Harness the Cloud…

3. Subject line: cost or quality?

4. Subject line: the future of Outsourcing?

3) Give your readers what they need – showcase your strongest content

Many businesses are tempted to ‘throw in’ any old promotion they have into their newsletters. However your newsletter isn’t a merchandising ground for your latest product sheet. A newsletter has to showcase your strengths as a concept leader- and this can be where your journal posts can actually shine.

Newsletters ought to be recent and current – have you ever been writing regarding the most recent scandal or development in your industry? Embody recent posts that demonstrate your experience and understanding of difficult industry-related problems. B2B marketing companies have found that newsletters made of non-committal journal and blog posts perform far better than those jam-packed with promotional material. Bear in mind to incorporate CTA (Call to Action) buttons at the end of each of your journals and blogs to guides/whitepapers so your prospects will continue through the sales funnel.

4) However don’t give all your information away – tease with promising language

Brevity is the name of the game – therefore check that you’re writing catchy headers and summaries. And don’t offer everything away within the newsletter copy – bear in mind this short little bit of copy is supposed to tempt users to click through to your website, therefore you wish to convey to them just enough to tempt their hunger however not enough to satisfy their appetite! A 40-50 word copy per link is the right enough length to induce your purpose across, and encourage clicks.

5) Build it to stand out – build call to action buttons large and clear

Visually, your newsletter has to POP! Use bright colours, thumbnail pictures, actionable language and large call to action (CTA) buttons to indicate to users where to click. Rather like a landing page, the addition of clean, clear and interesting visuals, the higher probability you have got of somebody clicking a link and then downloading a chunk of content (and turning into a lead). Though it may be crammed with a collection of wonderful content, a bland, newsletter with neutral colours and extremely little mental imagery won’t perform well.

6) Keep the journey going – add actions at the top of the newsletter

Make sure there’s something for users to do at the top of the news report – subscribe to, call for a free assessment, sign on to your list. No matter what it is, you need to ensure you are encouraging your readers to engage with your prospects from start to finish and taking advantage of each and every chance to keep them reading.