Sell what they buy.
Building a product marketing strategy that pulls 20% of efforts from technical innovation (internally generated) and 80% of efforts from listening, analyzing, and summarizing what customers within a market segment need and look for from products and services (externally generated) makes sense. In my experience there is a significant opportunity for success for products crafted to match what customers are buying. Further, accomplished marketers like Peppers & Rogers Group (http://www NULL.peppersandrogersgroup NULL.com), and George S. Day (http://marketing NULL.wharton NULL.upenn NULL.edu/people/faculty NULL.cfm?id=186) emphasize the importance of surveying customers to determine what:
- value means
- solutions they are purchasing to deliver value
- and, finally over time, whether they got the value they were after when they purchased and implemented solutions
Teleprospecting provides an effective means of collecting information from customers and prospects. Put the information you capture from teleprospecting interviews or surveys into a picture of a market from the perspective of customers and prospects. Of course, with regards to determining a useful answer to objective (1), above, keep in mind that the question is very broad; therefore, the answers received will be useful as you assemble a broad value proposition for the market, but not especially useful on a case by case basis. Nevertheless, simply putting together an broad, but accurate, value statement for a market segment will be a very worthwhile endeavor. Further, by obtaining answers to objective (3), above, whether or not solutions, once implemented, deliver the value that they promised, you will have another gold nugget to enrichen the products that you, subsequently, decide to build or, perhaps renovate.
It’s best if the teleprospecting effort can be made by independent parties, but for a business operating under the radar with few sales, and limited means, the slate is still clean enough to permit internal staff to undertake the teleprospecting effort. Anyways, if your best prospect is larger business, then engaging in lead generation from a teleprospecting effort makes the most sense. After all, larger businesses pose longer sales cycles complete with complex systems for making buying decisions.
One last point on value: As I’ve written in earlier posts, if your product or service is complex, then you must dig as deep as possible through sales qualification steps (that you have carefully designed for a specific prospect opportunity) to determine the specific value that the prospect at hand is after. I emphasize that this value statement must be framed in terms of cost savings if it is to be truly persuasive and convincing. Further, the greatest reward (in terms of the magnitude of revenue to be received from an order) will be greatest where the prospect understands that by purchasing your solution she/he will save the most money with regards to ongoing operations.
© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2011 All Rights Reserved