This article is the third in our series on the Challenger sale. If you haven’t already, you can read the first two parts of this series here:
When done right, sales and marketing should set your company apart. They are the forefront of your brand – you need to convey who you are, and why customers should buy from you. As we’ve covered in our previous Challenger articles, the essential part of sales success today involves delivering and demonstrating value. With 57% of the sales process occurring before customers have their first conversation with a sales rep and 53% of customer loyalty being driven by the sales experience, the way in which your organization markets and sells is more important than ever. You need to ask yourself: how can we develop the right content for our sales process?
Marketing and Sales = Teaching
Success in sales today is about more than just closing deals; it’s about how you treat your customers during the process. Happily, excellence in your process should lead both to stellar results and to increased customer loyalty. Working hand in hand with the marketing team to ensure congruence, sellers must evaluate their target market to glean a core group of industry insights that can be applied to various customers. From there, it takes three things to be successful in the sales process:
- Tailor your pitch to connect with the key issues driving customer’s decisions
- Teach your customers new information about the market or problem
- Challenge the way your customers think about the problem
If you develop these skills and work on your sales technique while also highlighting the unique strengths of your company brand, you can achieve excellence in sales. Furthermore as we’ve shown in our previous articles, you can effectively use your marketing materials to lay the groundwork for this conversation. Done right, the sales process turns into a consultative conversation where sellers help customers avoid potential pain points and unblock the sales process.
To achieve these goals, you must learn and apply “commercial teaching:” the process by which sellers teach their prospective customers to think about their needs in a way that leads to your organization’s unique strengths. Successful commercial teaching serves as a catalyst to action, and if you’ve applied learnings about Challenger congruence within your marketing tools, will build a bond with your customer before they even talk to a representativeYou are teaching your customer not only that you are uniquely positioned to solve their problems, but that you stand apart in your industry – and you’re laying the groundwork for the sales conversations to follow.
How can you effectively teach through marketing?
Since the concept of commercial teaching is at the core of Challenger methodology and contributes heavily to developing brand loyalty, it’s essential that this process begins within your marketing materials. Today’s world is data-driven – you need to show customers how to look at their challenges differently. This means producing not only standard marketing content, but deeper, more in-depth, and more challenging content that can teach your customers. We recommend a basic process for how to go about constructing such content.
- Talk to the field: Your sellers are likely to know things that those at HQ won’t. Nobody else in your organization understands the needs of your customers as well as they do.
- Evaluate your strengths: What does your company do well? How can you apply that to your customer’s problems? You need to get to know your unique value proposition from not only your internal perspective but external. If you understand that, then you can apply it to your customer challenges.
- Research the market: Get what data you can: take advantage of previously created market research – or commission new research – to understand the problems your customers are facing.
- If possible, talk to your customers or prospective customers to find out their needs.
- Evaluate competition: Dive into what your competitors are doing. How are they marketing themselves? What are they showing?
- Create reframe: Develop the learning and insights based on prior research and market knowledge that enable you to teach and differentiate.
- Be sure that your reframing of the problems facing your customers matches or takes advantage of your unique value proposition.
- Create content: With your message determined, it’s time to refine and create the content needed to demonstrate your understanding and insights to customers. Be sure to use your field sellers and contacts as reviewers to ensure alignment with customer needs.
- Distribute to field: Now it’s time to get your message in the hands of the field. That means readiness activities, disseminating content, and ensuring congruency between your marketing organization and field sellers. With your sellers involved in every step of your content development process, this should be a natural fit.
Want to achieve excellence in your sales and marketing? To learn more about how to develop successful commercial insights in your marketing and to create congruency with your company message and sales organizations, reach out to schedule an initial conversation with Olive + Goose.