The more I learn about digital marketing, the more difficult it becomes to explain it to others. The good news is digital marketing also gets better every year, with strategies built not only to sell products and services but to truly help consumers find exactly what they need more quickly. It would be much less confusing if there were one golden digital marketing product that works for everyone, but the truth is there are many products/strategies in digital marketing that work together to accomplish very specific tasks throughout the buyer’s journey. At AdCellerant, we help our partners learn how to properly explain and deliver these strategies to their clients, but we also focus heavily on the discovery process.
I believe it is important for sellers of digital marketing to become an expert in all strategies available. That being said, it’s more important that we don’t lose sight of the forest for the trees. We need to define the client’s goals first. As digital marketing sellers, we often get so caught up in all of the cool things we can sell that we forget about one minor detail…our clients.
This is especially true once we’ve seen some success! For instance, maybe we’ve worked with a realtor and increased their leads by 30% year-over-year, which helped increase sales by 20%. Fantastic! So, all we need to do is create a case study, find more realtors, and sell them on the exact set of tools/strategies, correct? Not really, and I’ve learned this the hard way many times. I’ve worked with companies where I’ve helped create new leads, drive more foot traffic, or create more brand awareness using a specific set of digital marketing tactics for one company and completely and utterly failed to produce those same results with another in the same industry category. Want to know why? Very simply, I didn’t have a good enough understanding of what they wanted, needed, and expected to happen, and when. Two of the same companies can very easily have a completely different set of thoughts, wishes, preconceived notions, goals, timing, competitors, and many other factors that drastically change what they need.
Also, it’s safe to say that every company these days already has a digital footprint in the form of a website. What they’re doing with that site can be drastically different between two companies that appear to be the same in every other way. This is one of the main reasons one set of digital marketing strategies will work for one company and not the other; believe me, it’s not the only reason. This is why it’s so important to forget about all your product knowledge and get as much background on the company as possible. Here are five guidelines to help digital sellers provide meaningful digital marketing solutions.
1. Clear your mind and listen:
The digital marketing strategies we provide to our clients, depending on how they are combined and pieced together, can create almost any outcome for almost any company. Having this knowledge is exciting and empowering. However, we need to remember that most others don’t see it that way; they have their own set of challenges in their own world, and they need solutions; that’s it. So, if you dive in and start explaining what all of these cool products do and how they will help, you will lose your audience pretty quickly. Eyes will gloss over, watches will be checked, and phone buzzes will receive glances.
I see this all the time with digital sellers, and I get it. So make it your goal in the first meeting to learn everything you can about your potential client. And yes, there are many methods on what information needs to be gathered and how to gather this info; I’m sure you’ve seen acronyms like BANT (Budget, Authority, Needs, Timeline). It’s important to understand these guidelines, but, for the most part, you need to go in with true interest and curiosity about the company and the contact. So, forget about the strict discovery procedures at first and just learn. People love to talk about themselves and their company; you will find that this is the first major step towards creating a relationship and providing real value.
2. When you feel like you have sufficient information, dig deeper. “We want more leads,” is not good enough:
If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard “we want more leads” or “we want more sales,” well, I’d have hundreds of nickels. This is a great opportunity to learn so much more. Have they thought about how many leads they need to get to hit a specific goal? Do they have a goal in mind? How many leads are they getting now? Where are those leads coming from? What is a lead and who determines that? Where does a lead go once it comes through? Is your website producing leads? Use your digital marketing training to be overly curious.
3. Resist the urge to pitch:
Understand that this questioning process isn’t just about learning more about their business and acquiring the information you need to present custom solutions, but you are also likely to uncover things your contact hasn’t considered. This could provide more insight into exactly what they are looking to achieve. Otherwise, they may end up trying to figure out what they need while the campaign is running. This could end up forcing you to continually shift strategies in an attempt to hit this moving target. This is something you want to avoid. With a clear set of goals, you can set this campaign up correctly the first time and allow these products to do what they’re designed to do. If the goal is always changing, you’ll find yourself defending your position and digital marketing, in general, every month in your reporting meeting.
4. Follow up with a thorough recap:
Task yourself to follow up with a thorough recap via email after your first discovery meeting. First off, this will force you to truly listen and take good notes. Secondly, this will create trust more quickly because it will prove you’re truly listening, which too many salespeople in all of our lives do not do. This also creates a more personal relationship with your client since they will start to recognize that you recognize their situation. You’re in this together now. This is how partnerships are built. Lastly, there will undoubtedly be things you forgot to ask and/or more questions you have as you’re drafting this recap. This will save you so much time by getting all you need initially.
5. Create a custom solution:
Whether or not the solution you determine looks exactly like the last one you put together for another client in this industry, there is always something you can plug into this presentation deck that will customize this proposed solution. This should be the only time you really talk about yourself, your company, and why your solutions will work based on what you’ve uncovered because now this information is important to the client. Always remember that, like it or not, their interest in your company begins and ends with whether or not you are the right solution for their very specific needs.