There are a million books out there on marketing and sales. Some good, some not-so-good. So when I come across one that I find beneficial, I feel compelled to share it.
I recently read David Meerman Scott’s book, “The New Rules of Sales and Service.” Some of you may recognize the author’s name. He also wrote “The New Rules of Marketing and PR,” which was an international bestseller and now assigned reading at many colleges around the country. As for “Sales and Service,” it has become required reading for our sales and marketing staff here at Wood Floor Business.
As the book (and Scott himself in the video below) explains, whether you’re in sales or marketing, we’re all in this together. Sales and marketing departments today need to be one cohesive unit, sharing information and working together to zero in on buyers. With the division between sales and marketing eliminated, the book offers a plethora of tangible information for marketers.
Here are three takeaways from the book:
1. The Rules Have Changed
Today, “buyers are in charge of the relationships with companies they choose to do business with,” Scott writes. That’s because today’s buyers have more information at their disposal than ever. They are educating themselves about their buying options before they ever reach out to a specific company to make a purchase.
With that in mind, the more information marketers can provide the buyer, the better. Allow the buyer to educate themselves about your products or services on their own time and do business with you on their terms.
For example, think about the last time you bought a car. Did you simply drive to a dealership and rely on the salesperson to tell you everything you need to know? Or did you do hours of research online, comparing specs, prices and features, reading articles, browsing magazines and reading reviews?
The companies that use their websites, emails, social media and advertising to educate their buyers are the ones finding success. Your sales staff exists to guide the educated buyer over the finish line, putting the finishing touches and recommendations on a sale. But it’s the marketers who need to arm the buyer with solid information first.
2. Know Your Story
“Telling your story” can sound like a bit of a cliche, but Scott breaks it down matter-of-factly. In marketing materials, you’re not creating copy, you’re telling a story. And that story needs to be true to resonate with buyers.
Maybe it’s one of innovation. Or proud tradition. Or excellent customer service. Whatever it is, your story should align with the thinking of your customer. i.e. I’m willing to pay more for a product that is more technologically advanced.
Some of the best stories have villain. Maybe your “villain” is the status quo, a misconception among buyers or a certain player in your industry.
When telling your story, cut the jargon and buzzwords that customers see right through. People want to be spoken to like a real person. Industry buzzwords, vague claims like “industry leading” or “best-in-class” only distract the buyer from the information they want.
“Your customers aren’t looking to satisfy your ego, and they don’t really care what you think about the stuff you sell,” Scott writes. “Your buyers want to solve their problems.”
3. No More “Making Stuff Up”
You can’t market to people you don’t understand. A successful marketer is not just an expert on his or her company’s products and services, but also the company’s buyers.
From the book:
Organizations filled with people who take the time to understand the needs of buyers they wish to reach, and then develop information to educate and inform those buyers, are more successful than organizations that just make stuff up.
I see it again and again. The way most salespeople, marketers, and product managers operate is by making stuff up… The worst part? In these making-stuff-up sessions, everyone in the room works for the company, and therefore there is no representation of the voice of people who will actually buy the products and services.
Get to know your buyers and everything else becomes a lot easier.
This blog just scratches the surface on the ideas in the “The New Rules of Sales and Service.” For the rest, you’ll have to read it yourself. From one marketer to another, I highly recommend it.