Marketing versus Sales

B2B, Marketing, Sales, Trust

In a lot of companies there’s always a tug-of-war between sales and marketing. They are considered to be two independent functions.

My way of looking at it, is a little different. I have always considered marketing and sales as one consolidated function. Maybe this has to do with my predominant background in B2B rather than consumer.

As I look at it , the job of both the functions is to get a client for whatever you make. If that be the case, then a sales person’s job is to sell face to face and close a deal. Are you still with me. However a sales person has limited bandwidth.

Whenever you’re entering a new account, that customer will do business with you only when they trust you.

This where marketing comes in. It helps you build trust and creates the environment, so that the sales person is able to close more deals faster. So its like “canning” whatever the sales person does on a mass scale, without getting in front of the customer.

With marketing the advantage you get is that you can automate a lot of the tasks, which would not be possible with sales. This allows you to create non-linear growth for your company.

Now I am not sure, if large companies would look at it this way or consumer focused companies would look at it like this. However if you’re an emerging company in the B2B space, this kind of a model will give you both efficiency and effectiveness.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

Branding – why it’s so important

B2B, Consistency, Trust

Today’s is going to be a short one. Most of my posts are generally less than a three minute read, but this one would be even shorter.

Today I had the opportunity to visit two luxury hotels in Delhi.

It is heartening to see that the travel and hospitality industry is coming back so strongly . This is one industry which employs so many people directly and indirectly.

What’s important to note is that both these hotels are 5 star properties. So they are not cheap by any standard, but still they are going full. One is an international brand, while the other is an Indian brand with an international presence.

My thinking is that people trust that these brands would be taking necessary precautions which unknown brands would not.

During tough times, the brands , that have built a strong relationship based on trust, get to grow their business. Brands are built by consistently delivering on what they promise.

Whether you are in B2B or B2C , consistently delivering on your promise gives long term dividends.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

Making the customer a part of the solution

B2B, Customers, Trust

I read this statement many years back when I was starting out. I don’t remember who was the author. But he had given so many examples that I believed him and thought of trying it out.

Since then, one of the reasons for whatever success I have had in the B2B space, is because I always take the customer into confidence about the challenges that we have and then ask how we can find a solution.

In case of a delivery problem I tell the truth about where or how we are going to fail . After hearing the truth, the customer may initially fire me because the job is not done. But because she is a partner in the solution she then figures a way out.

Similarly if the customer trusts you because you have provided exceptional service in your earlier deals then you can use him to figure out a solution. This is especially useful when there are cost constraints. If you can have the customer advice you in building the solution which ensures that the key challenges are met, while non essential items are reduced to keep costs in control, gets you to win the deal.

In both the above cases , this is only feasible if the customer trusts you. When they trust you and then give you advice, they feel obligated to make your solution successful. The downside is, if you screw up then she will help you only till it does not impact her own reputation in the organization. If her reputation is put at stake because of the fact that you did not deliver, then she will drop you like a hot potato and ensure that she never ever works with you.

Robert Cialdini calls this the concept of Co-Creation. He even cites various data points from research, even from non B2B situations . So this is a universally applicable advice.

Try this and let me know your success or failure when using this idea, in the comments section below.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

Generating “Trust” with the client – simple steps

B2B, Fear, Habits, Sales, Trust

When you are entering a new account as a sales person, “Trust” is by far the most difficult thing for you to get. If the customer has already been using your company’s product or service, then there’s some amount of trust that gets bestowed on you.

Especially if your company has done a good job or the sales person before you has done a good job, then the customer is more favourable to talk with you. However the customer still has to trust “YOU”

On the other hand if the account is new to your company and you as the sales person are also involved in creating the account then it becomes all the more important that you gain trust with the prospect fast. One of the biggest things which hampers a sale is TRUST. Price, quality of the product / service etc. are all issues which come into [play after the person trusts you.

Some of the simplest things I have observed for building trust are simple old fashioned things

  1. Keep your word – if you say you will do something by a given day or time – DO IT
  2. Arrive before the scheduled time always – No one likes to be kept waiting and that too for a sales person – there will be times where things can go wrong inspite of all your planning – in that case inform the customer well in advance
  3. Communicate every step of the way – even if you don’t have a solution ready for the problem – which will happen many times in your career – keep the customer informed that you have a problem and you are working to solve – the customer is also answerable to someone else and if he doesn’t have information he will get more frustrated. The customer may get angry with you for a little while but after he/she vents their anger, they will still be friends. Most of the time the people get scared of the customer and try to hide. This kind of Fear will only create problems in your long term relationships.
  4. Don’t consider your customer as an adversary – Till you get the order, everyone is very nice to the customer. The challenge starts when they become a Customer. The customer has certain expectations and your delivery folks have their own challenges and any objection by the customer becomes a “me versus you” situation. You have to make your team understand , that in B2B situations especially, the customer has more at stake than you because of her reputation at the organisation is at stake. If you can look at it as a joint effort then it solves the problem.

None of these steps have any technology related issues, they don’t need any hi-tech software or equipment etc. These are just human habits and behaviours which you need to cultivate and slowly you will observe people will automatically gravitate towards you and start trusting you.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!