Earlier this month, I attended a Technology & Manufacturing Association (TMA) peer group in Chicago, Illinois that was hosted by MXOtech. The discussion was based on the challenges with getting a foot in the door as a salesperson in today’s market.
Every day it becomes more clear that executives and other personnel are developing ways around having to meet with traditional sales teams that are still cold calling or going door-to-door unannounced—multiple layers of security checks at corporate reception areas, screening calls, and even email filters that send you to the folder that was forgotten the moment it was created. This gives rise to the question, why is it so hard to get in front of these prospects if I’m trying to help them?
The Right Content, Prospect, and Time—Every Time
It is no secret that civilization as a whole has become accustomed to a lifestyle that requires convenience, efficiency, and relevancy at all times. Making a cold call and having a conversation that is not pre-tailored to the prospect’s needs or challenges risks creating a feeling of wasted time and inconvenience.
Sales and marketing teams need to collaborate on how to get the right content in front of the right prospect at the right time, every time. This poses the question: How do I make sure I’m are offering convenience and relevancy early on in our conversations? How can I develop a strong relationship with my prospects right away?
Successful marketing teams have been adopting and utilizing CRM software, or Customer Relationship Management software, to implement content marketing strategies that help collect information from potential prospects. This can include survey responses that trigger a relevant email blast, which then points them in the direction of a downloadable ebook that provides them with answers to their questions.
I recently reviewed the 2019 Research Report from TREW Marketing, which states that after about three or four strategic touch points (clicking on an email blast about a webinar, registering and watching the webinar, and then downloading a supplemental ebook) a prospect’s challenges and pain-points should become more clear. Once these are clear, the prospect will transition into a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL), which is a lead who has indicated interest and is ready to be handed off to the sales team.
Shock and Awe: Establishing Trust and Building Relationships
Tradition says that the second you get your MQL, you call to set your appointment, right?
Joanna Sobran, CEO of MXOtech, believes differently. The standard process for a lead at MXO Tech involves sending what Sobran calls a “Shock and Awe” box that includes a number of marketing materials, samples, and other trinkets or giveaways.
“You can really use this for any industry… it’s really to educate them, to build that credibility, and to establish a relationship,” she says. The key is to send items that allow the prospect to get to know your company, your product, and even yourself before the meeting.
“People connect with people that they know, that they trust, and that they like.” It's those quick and simple efforts that your prospect notices—and it makes all the difference.
Some of the top items to consider for your Shock and Awe box include:
Handwritten/personal note or a short URL to a video or web page that tells the story of your company, your company’s mission, and why they should choose you over the competition
Case studies relevant to their challenges and needs—if you can, include a money-saving study, time-saving study, and a Hail Mary study where you were able to save someone in a tight spot
Testimonials that can put their concerns to rest—if they’re concerned about expense, provide a testimonial that unveils significant savings you helped a company achieve
Product samples or a 3D-printed version of your product so they can physically interact with your product
Include whether or not you have worked with their company in the past, and any highlights from those projects that may help them remember a positive past experience
Helpful, branded trinkets or giveaways like screen cleaners, chargers, and water bottles
Colorful packaging—you are more likely to have someone open a colorful envelope or a small box than the traditional white envelope
“This is a great way to differentiate yourself… nobody is really doing [this],” says Sobran. This strategy has been a proven method that allows you to cut through all of the digital clutter and jump right into solving problems before you are even in your prospect’s office.
Once you sit down with your prospect, you will want to segway into a discussion surrounding the box—“Did the package I sent over arrive okay?” Simple questions about whether the information you provided was helpful or the items were useful are the type of feedback you can use to optimize what you include. It also lets them know that you care about whether you were helpful or attentive.
Advancing Ahead of the Competition
Knowing who your prospect is and what their challenges are before you make your first contact is an important element to getting your foot in the door for a sales call. Sending helpful materials in a Shock and Awe box ahead of time gives you a competitive advantage. With a large number of companies successfully transitioning to CRMs, you don’t want to be under-prepared when bidding against the competition.