Sales, Marketing & Social Media Today

I write about the three topics that I am most passionate about; Sales, Marketing and Social Media. These topics are covered from my experiences in outside sales and marketing. My objective is to use my expertise to help business and the individual.

How to use Market Research, Competitive Intelligence, Customer Marketing, & Product Marketing to Product Increase Sales

Before businesses can sell anything, they need to determine if there is a market for their products and services.

Most businesses will not necessarily be creating new product categories. As a result, they will be entering into a marketplace that already exists. This is true if you are a re-seller or distributor of products and services. Once you decide that there is a market for your products and services; you need to study your competitors.

image

Smartsheet.com template

You can see who your competitors are by doing internet research, reading trade publications, and attending industry trade shows. On the internet, you can view your competitors’ websites. Once you have all of this information you need to determine the sales, and marketing channels that you will use to sell your product. Are you going to sell products via a website, direct mail, social media marketing, retail space, trade shows, or a direct sales force? There are many options available to you.

Knowing who could use your product is also something important to consider. If you do not have any existing customers you will need to be the Sales rep for your business to get yourself set up in the marketplace.

To be able to make an effective Sales Presentation to a customer, you will need to compile your Marketing research in competitive analysis and intelligence chart.

You will need to perform a SWOT analysis by assessing your strengths and weaknesses, opportunities, threats compared to your competitors on the products you offer, the price, quality, the service, reliability, stability, expertise, company reputation, location, and appearance of your business along with how important it is to the customer.

This is a must-do even if you do not hire sales reps. But if you, do it should be part of their training. This competitive analysis should be done regularly.

This is how you can apply Marketing research to drive your product sales.

Product Marketing 

What is the role of Product Marketing?

I covered the Product Marketing Community workshop to find out.

Workshop Topics included how to:

  1. Build and execute go-to-market plans
  2. Develop actionable buyer insights
  3. Create effective Messaging and Content for buyers
  4. Enable Sales and Product Teams

Businesses should identify their ideal customer.

What are the challenges of Product Marketing?

image

Just as Marketing has a plan or brief, Product Marketing does.

SmartSheet.com Product Marketing Template

Here are nine things to address in a Product Marketing Brief.

  1. What does your company do? Does your product offering align with your business goals?
  2. What are the features of your product? Do others understand what you are building and why?
  3. Does this Product address gaps in the Market? Include an overview of a Competitive, win-loss, and, SWOT analysis.
  4. Who is your ideal customer or target market? Include an overview of findings of demographic, psychographic, and buyer persona research. Does your product solve customer pain points?
  5. How will you measure product success?
  6. What are can go wrong? Can failure be anticipated and corrected?
  7. What is the roadmap and schedule of the product? Who’s responsible and in charge?
  8. Who needs to be included in the project and who needs to approve deliverables?
  9. How will goals be tracked? How often will they be monitored? What insights are you trying to glean from the data?

Creating a Buyer Persona

A buyer persona is a guide to understanding the needs, challenges, and pain points of customers.

Questions to ask

What are these customers’ habits?

What concerns, needs and challenges do they have?

What actions are customers taking to address their needs and challenges?

Why do customers need to take these actions?

This question may be applied to multiple action steps described in Hooked by Nir Eyal as the 5 Whys.

What makes them want to buy?

Where do they look for information?

What type of content and medium do they use to access the information?

What days and times are the most likely to look for information and consume content?

It is important to note that businesses with multiple products and more than one target market will need to create buyer personas for each ideal customer.

Where to obtain information on the Ideal Customer

1. Interview current customers and prospects.

2. Send out targeted surveys via email, direct mail, and Social Networks. Offer incentives such as gift cards and discounts to encourage people to provide the information needed.

3. Read biography and history books about your ideal customer.

4. Study the news.

5. Study existing research conducted by Market Research firms.

Building buyer personas will result in:

1. Creating and implementing better and more targeted product messaging and communication

2. Getting the product in front of customers who truly will benefit from its use

How have you used Market Research, and Product Marketing to increase Sales?

Share your thoughts in the comments.

Additional places to find my content and blog

WordPress: http://dangalante.me/

Tumblr: http://www.askdangalante.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/today/author/DanGalante

Medium https://medium.com/@DanGalante

YouTube https://www.youtube.com/trendsettingsm

Anchor https://anchor.fm/dangalante

About Me

I’m a Strategic Marketer with Field Sales, Sales Enablement, Content Creation, and, Classroom Teacher/Trainer skill-sets using Marketing to drive Sales/Growth.

As a Marketer, I’ve worked with Start-Ups, a Political Campaign, and a Digital Marketing Conference. I’m certified in Inbound Marketing with classes in Marketing, Product Management, Product Marketing, SEO, SEM.

Before teaching, I was an Outside Sales and Marketing Rep. selling and marketing dental products to Dentists using consultative selling, trade show marketing, field marketing, and market research.

I publish Sales, Marketing & Social Media Today a blog covering industry events and trends.

Articles and insights have been featured, mentioned, and, referenced in:

Tractica in the News

The Future of AI

https://medium.com/@DanGalante/the-future-of-ai-insights-from-the-ai-summit-ab6267eca70b

Digital Marketing World Forum

https://www.digitalmarketing-conference.com/key-insights-from-digital-marketing-world-forum-north-america/

Voice Summit

Compilation: Our Favorite Post-VOICE Coverage So Far

https://www.voicesummit.ai/blog/compilation-our-favorite-post-voice-coverage

Engage Bay

7 Steps to Align your Marketing Automation Strategy

https://www.engagebay.com/blog/marketing-automation-strategy/

Relay 42

The Role of Technology in Customer-Centricity

https://relay42.com/resources/blog/the-role-of-technology-in-customer-centricity

Databox

How to Improve Marketing and Sales Alignment (Gave background)

https://databox.com/how-to-improve-sales-marketing-alignment

Onalytica

Named as a Top STEM Influencer for EdTech and Education Industry Insights.

http://www.onalytica.com/blog/posts/stem-top-influencers-brands-publications/

The Arizona Republic

http://yourbusiness.azcentral.com/handle-top-10-sme-sales-objections-24845.html

Twitter Ads Blog

https://blog.twitter.com/2014/how-smartphone-users-engage-on-twitter-three-key-findings

Paper.li’s Wall Of Fame via Scoop.it

http://www.scoop.it/t/all-things-paper-li/?tag=Dan+Galante

I’ve been honored for my Social Profiles

•LinkedIn SSI Score in the Top 1%

•SlideShare for being in the top 5% of profiles viewed in 2014

•LinkedIn Profile was in the top 1% of profiles viewed out of 200 million members in 2012

I’m seeking a full-time role in:

Inbound Marketing, Digital Marketing, Content Marketing, Product Marketing, Demand Generation, Social Media Marketing, Sales Enablement Enablement, Sales Strategy, Marketing Strategy, Employer Branding, Recruitment Marketing. Reach out to start a conversation on LinkedIn or email me at dan@dangalante.com

Posted 16 weeks ago

Sales, Marketing & Social Media Today

I write about the three topics that I am most passionate about; Sales, Marketing and Social Media. These topics are covered from my experiences in outside sales and marketing. My objective is to use my expertise to help business and the individual.

How to Obtain & Leverage Customer Testimonials & Referrals

Once you have made a sale to a customer, it is important to follow up with them. In Sales, it is important to deliver on the promises you make to customers. This means checking in with the customer throughout the implementation of your product or service. Staying in touch with a customer post-sale is also important to earn repeat business and referrals.

As an outside sales representative in New York City, making sales was the highlight of my day. Once I made a sale, I was itching to ask for a referral or a testimonial. In other words, I wanted to ask the customer the question Do you know of anyone who could benefit from my product and services? However, once I made the sale, my inner voice told me not to ask for a referral.

Now many people would want to ask because they feel that the customer bought their products or services and this shows a sign of trust. But what did the customer buy? Yes, the customer bought you and your products but the main thing that they bought was your promise to deliver value through your offering. How can you ask someone to put their credibility on the line when you and your solution are unproven? Yet many people do.

Asking for a referral right after the sale is a mistake because you have not delivered on your promise and you will seem ungrateful. The customer will think that you are not interested in building a relationship and that you just want to make a commission. Remember your job as a Salesperson is to build relationships with customers and to make sales by demonstrating the value of your products to the customer. Once the sale is complete, it is your job to deliver on the promises that you make to your customer.

When to Ask

Now you are thinking well this is great but when do I ask for a referral? How do I ask for a referral?

I would ask the customer for a referral when I know the customer is happy with the implementation of your product or service. In other words, ask when you have delivered on your promise. If you offer more than one product or service try to cross-sell or upsell the customer first. See if the customer will use more of your products or services or if the customer purchases more expensive offerings from you. Once the customer purchases more items from you, the customer is demonstrating that they like and trust you. This is the time to ask for a referral. I usually waited until this point to ask for a referral.

Ask the customer for a referral by thanking them for the business that they have provided. I would then ask if they knew of anyone like themselves that would benefit from my offering. My experience has taught me that customers were always willing to offer themselves as a reference. Customers who offered me a referral would let me use their names with other clients or pass my name along to their peers.

Testimonial Formats

Testimonials are like referrals. Testimonials can come in a variety of forms. There is a testimonial letter and a testimonial video. The testimonial letter is when a customer writes a letter stating that you did a wonderful job for them and endorses you. The digital version of this letter is the recommendation feature on LinkedIn and,/or uploading a letter to your website. The testimonial video is when a client speaks of your performance in a short video segment. This can be done by the sales or marketing team depending on if there are customer advocacy or referral marketers on your team.

When asking for a testimonial, offer the customer the option to choose the option they feel comfortable with. Also, be sure to tell them what specific aspect of your service you want them to focus on. Once you receive a referral and/or testimonial, make sure to thank your customer. Should you get new business through a referral, provide great service otherwise your customer will not give you anymore! Keep your customer informed on the status of the relationship with the referral.

Customer Evangelism

Providing customers with great products and experiences is a great way to get customers to help market your products and services.

Below is an example of how Hyundai used customer marketing & testimonials to roll out Connected Care at the NY Auto Show.

Previously, I wrote an article about what the auto show could teach us about trade show marketing.

Hyundai made one of the best presentations of this particular show. They dared to be different. Instead of the traditional press conference, where journalists sit, take in the information and ask questions post-conference, Hyundai included a Q & A session right into the presentation. The conference was not a conference at all; it was a town hall. John Krafcik, CEO of Hyundai Motor America, used the opportunity to roll out Connected Care. This is a service that allows drivers to get help in case of emergencies. The service also updates owners on the health of their vehicles.

To back up their claims, they had customers provide in-person testimonials of how their lives were saved. One of their customers survived a head-on collision thanks to the service. Unable to contact his family, the service notified them of the customer’s condition. Now that’s a testimonial. If I need a new vehicle, I would strongly consider buying a Hyundai.

The live customer testimonials are worth their weight in gold. Prospects will believe what customers say over any marketing campaigns that brands create. This is a strategy that any business or brand can use. Offer quality products and a great customer experience. Serve customers in this way, and they will be more than happy to share their stories with the world! This is the best kind of advertising that anyone could ask for. Certain customers may even become evangelists.

Customer Appreciation

The easiest way to make sales is to earn referrals and testimonials from your customers. Customers are usually delighted to provide referrals and testimonials for products that work. However, you need to show your appreciation to your customers who put their name and reputation on the line for you.

How you show this appreciation could take many forms. You could bring them baked goods or take them out to dinner. Taking them to a sporting event or concert of their choice is a great way to build your relationship. Find out what type of gift your customers want and try to get for them if it is feasible. Remember to do a good job for your new customer!

Customer Loyalty & Reward Programs

Another thing you could do is to show appreciation is to provide customers a coupon for 15 percent off any item that you sell once their referral has been converted to a sale. I would also provide a thank you note with the coupon. Also, I would develop a point and reward system that encourages your customers to provide you with more referrals. Credit card companies use a rewards and points system when customers make purchases. This can be a model you can copy and implement; depending on your budget. Gift cards can also be an option.

Building Communities

Brands can create online and offline events for loyal customers to reward them. They can also create user groups on social networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Slack.

Brand Ambassadors, Referral, Affiliate & Influencer Marketing

Brands can also develop a brand ambassador, referral, and/or affiliate marketing program. Some brands use influencer marketing to help sell and market products. Some influencers are celebrities but some brands use micro-influencers that are known in a particular industry.

Remember, word-of-mouth marketing is a great tool to earn new business. Taking the time to say thank you is well worth the time and effort. Your customers have more weight with your prospects than you do! Let your customers help you earn new business. Your existing customers are one of the best sources of new business. Turn these customers into Apostles.

This is why you should reward your customers for providing referrals and testimonials.

How have you included your customers in your marketing?

Comment below.

About Me

I’m a Strategic Marketer with Field Sales, Sales Enablement, Content Creation and, Classroom Teacher/Trainer skill-sets using Marketing to drive Sales/Growth.

As a Marketer, I’ve worked with Start-Ups, a Political Campaign, and a Digital Marketing Conference.

I’m certified in Inbound Marketing with classes in Marketing, Product Management, Product Marketing, SEO, SEM.

Before teaching, I was an Outside Sales and Marketing Rep. selling and marketing dental products to Dentists using consultative selling, trade show marketing, field marketing, and market research.

I publish Sales, Marketing & Social Media Today a blog covering industry events and trends.

Articles and insights have been featured, mentioned and, referenced in:

Tractica in the News

The Future of AI

https://medium.com/@DanGalante/the-future-of-ai-insights-from-the-ai-summit-ab6267eca70b

Digital Marketing World Forum

https://www.digitalmarketing-conference.com/key-insights-from-digital-marketing-world-forum-north-america/

Voice Summit

Compilation: Our Favorite Post-VOICE Coverage So Far

https://www.voicesummit.ai/blog/compilation-our-favorite-post-voice-coverage

Engage Bay

7 Steps to Align your Marketing Automation Strategy

https://www.engagebay.com/blog/marketing-automation-strategy/

Relay 42

The Role of Technology in Customer-Centricity

https://relay42.com/resources/blog/the-role-of-technology-in-customer-centricity

Databox

How to Improve Marketing and Sales Alignment (Gave background)

https://databox.com/how-to-improve-sales-marketing-alignment

Onalytica

Named as a Top STEM Influencer for EdTech and Education Industry Insights.

http://www.onalytica.com/blog/posts/stem-top-influencers-brands-publications/

The Arizona Republic

http://yourbusiness.azcentral.com/handle-top-10-sme-sales-objections-24845.html

Twitter Ads Blog

https://blog.twitter.com/2014/how-smartphone-users-engage-on-twitter-three-key-findings

Paper.li’s Wall Of Fame via Scoop.it

http://www.scoop.it/t/all-things-paper-li/?tag=Dan+Galante

I’ve been honored for my Social Profiles

•LinkedIn SSI Score in the Top 1%

•SlideShare for being in the top 5% of profiles viewed in 2014

•LinkedIn Profile was in the top 1% of profiles viewed out of 200 million members in 2012

I’m seeking a full-time role in:

Inbound Marketing, Digital Marketing, Content Marketing, Product Marketing, Demand Generation, Social Media Marketing, Sales Enablement Enablement, Sales Strategy, Marketing Strategy, Employer Branding, Recruitment Marketing.

Open on title, industry, company, location, and level. Reach out on LinkedIn or at dan@dangalante.com to start a conversation.

Posted 23 weeks ago

Sales, Marketing & Social Media Today

I write about the three topics that I am most passionate about; Sales, Marketing and Social Media. These topics are covered from my experiences in outside sales and marketing. My objective is to use my expertise to help business and the individual.

9  Key Strategies to Overcoming Sales Objections

In sales, everyone has to be able to overcome objections to be successful. The best way to overcome objections is to prevent them. This can be done by providing a thorough sales presentation that covers all the information about your products and services. Also, you must address any questions the prospect has immediately. However, objections will come up from time to time. Some of these objections are real buying signals and others are just stalls to put you off. As a Salesperson, you need to be able to tell the difference.

Handling Objections & Stalls from Prospects

1.I am happy with my current supplier.

When you call on a prospect they say we are happy with our current supplier, this can mean one of two things. The first is that they are truly happy and the second is that they want you to get lost. (A stall) Obviously, you need to be able to tell the difference. You should be able to tell by a prospect’s body language and level of attention.

If it is the first scenario, you should find out what supplier they currently use. When the prospect tells you it is your job to demonstrate how you are better. Once you feel that you have demonstrated how you are better, ask for a commitment or small order. By asking for a small order, you provide the prospect an opportunity to take a chance on you with minimal risk. I have had a lot of success with this approach.

If the scenario is the second one, the prospect will not provide you with any information or say that they deal with a company or person for 20 years and they do not want to change. In this case, I would still ask for the order. Should the prospect say he is not interested again, I would thank them for their time and leave. You should call on this prospect a few more times and then only call on them every two months. You need to focus your time on prospects that are receptive to you and your offering.

2. I want to think it over.

When you hear this, what the prospect is really saying is I am interested but I am not totally convinced. You should ask the prospect what specifically about this offer do you want to think over? Your goal here is to uncover the real objection. If the prospect gives you a specific answer, you are in business. Address the objection and ask a closing question. Say if I can handle XYZ, is there any reason why you would not purchase this product. Should the prospect say, no you covered everything, this means that they are either stalling, not interested in your offering, or will not tell you the real issue they have with your product. If this is the case, ask when they plan on making a decision and follow-up with them in that time-frame.

3. I need to consult another party

This can be a stall to put you off. You will need to determine this by the prospect’s body language and the level of attention you receive. When the prospect tells you this, you should ask for a meeting with the prospect and the person they need to consult. Should the prospect agree to this, you have a chance. If they will not agree to a meeting, it is a stall and they are not interested in your offering. However, I would still call on them a few more times. If you have no success, call on them every two months.

4. I am not the Decision-Maker- The Columbo Technique

During some cold calls to dental offices, I was not able to obtain the information that I needed to overcome prospect objections. This occurred because the person I was speaking to was not the decision-maker. As a result, they were reluctant to talk for fear that they would say the wrong things or give away too much information on their bosses’ business. Despite their reluctance, I would continue to talk with them, build rapport and bond. I would ask to speak to the decision-maker but many times they were not in the office, or the person I was speaking with would not want to disturb them for fear of getting reamed out when I left the office.

When this was the case, I would use the Columbo technique to get the information that I needed. I would turn to leave the office, put my hand on the doorknob and ask who their supplier was or when I could catch the boss. Usually, the person I was speaking with would provide me with a lot of information about the prospect. Even more, than I expected! This is because the person that I was speaking with put their guard down. After all, they thought I was leaving the office so one last question didn’t seem so bad.

During other cold calls, I was able to speak to the decision-maker. I would build rapport with them and try to obtain as much information as I could to overcome their objections. Many times the prospect would be reluctant to give me information; stating that they were happy with their supplier or they were too busy to speak to me. When they used the supplier objection, I would employ the Columbo technique; turn to leave and ask who their supplier was. Many times they would tell me and I would ask them for few moments of their time to show how my products were better. I would get the time and close the prospect on giving me a trial order. I developed some of my best customers this way. Other times, I was able to obtain a follow-up appointment with the prospect.

The key to the Columbo technique is to get prospects talking. Even if it’s about things not related to their business at first. You want to make them comfortable talking with you. Next, you want to save the question you really want to know for the end of the conversation because the prospect will most likely answer it thinking you are going to leave their office. In other words, their guard is down.

The Columbo technique is a great way to close sales and obtain information.

5. Your price is too high.

Emphasize the quality of your product along with the level of service you will provide. Next, you should demonstrate to the prospect how your offering’s total cost is less than the competitors over the life of the product. Testimonials from loyal customers can also help you here. By taking these steps you demonstrate that your product is valuable and increase your chances of making the sale. (Provided this is the real objection.)

6. We spent our budget.

If they say the money is not the budget, ask If I can offer delayed billing or a payment plan would you be able to take delivery? If the person needs approval from another person, ask to present your product to that individual with your prospect’s endorsement. Should the company really want and need your product, they will find a way to pay for it.

7. I had a bad experience with your company.

I would apologize to the prospect about the experience. Tell them you are the new rep and that you will not let anything bad happen on your watch. Ask them to give you a chance. This will not work all of the time.

8. Call me After the Holidays

During the holiday season, many people are in holiday and party shopping mode. from Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and many other things. Also, everyone is thinking about going to parties. So the last thing on your customer’s and prospects’ mind is to make a year-end purchase; unless they receive a year-end tax advantage. As a sales rep, you are under pressure to close deals so you can earn that bonus. Unless your customer is in a buying mood, you are going to hear the objection “call me after the holidays”. If you have done business with this customer, you will have an easier time than if you are making a cold call.

To combat this objection. You have to attempt to get around this objection. If your offer is time-sensitive or if you can provide a break on pricing or payment through a special promotion for example no payments for 3 months; make your customer aware of them. However, at this time of the year, you will get customers and prospects who just don’t want to deal with you and your offering. As a sales rep, it is your job to be able to tell if the customer and prospect are telling you the truth. In other words, you need to qualify their objections. This means following up with every customer and prospect even when things look bleak.

Should your customers and prospects insist that call you after the holidays, I would find out which holiday they mean. Next, I would pin them down to a specific day and time to call back. I recommend sending your customers and prospects a holiday card with a little note reminding them about the appointment; stating how you look forward to speaking with them on the specific date and time. Once this time comes, I would hold them to their promise. Deliver your presentation and ask for the business.

9. Testimonials and Referrals

Showing Testimonials to a prospect can be a great way for them to trust you enough to make a purchase. If you don’t have any the sale is that much more difficult but not impossible. I have made plenty of Sales without them.

Once you have made a sale to a customer, it is important to follow-up with a customer. As a Salesperson, it is important to deliver on the promises you make to customers. This means checking in with the customer throughout the implementation of your product or service and staying in touch with the customer after the sale. In this post, I am going to discuss how to earn referrals and testimonials.

During my time as an outside sales representative in New York City, making sales was the highlight of my day. Once I made a sale, I was itching to ask for a referral or a testimonial. In other words, I wanted to ask the customer the question Do you know of anyone who could benefit from my product and services? However, once I made the sale my inner voice told me not to ask for a referral. Now many people would want to ask because they feel that the customer bought their products or services and this shows a sign of trust. But what did the customer really buy? Yes, the customer bought you and your products but the main thing that they bought was your promise to deliver value through your offering. How can you ask someone to put their credibility on the line when you and your solution are unproven? Yet many people do.

Asking for a referral right after the sale is a mistake because you have not delivered on your promise and you will seem ungrateful. The customer will think that you are not interested in building a relationship and that you just want to make a commission. Remember your job as a Salesperson is to build relationships with customers and to make sales by demonstrating the value of your products to the customer. Once the sale is complete, it is your job to deliver on the promises that you make to your customer.

Now you are thinking well this is great but when do I ask for a referral? How do I ask for a referral?

I would ask the customer for a referral when you know the customer is happy with the implementation of your product or service. In other words, ask when you have delivered on your promise. If you offer more than one product or service try to cross-sell or upsell the customer first. See if the customer will use more of your products or services or if the customer purchases more expensive offerings from you. Once the customer purchases more items from you, the customer is demonstrating that they like and trust you. This is the time to ask for a referral. I usually waited until this point to ask for a referral.

I would ask the customer for a referral by first thanking them for the business that they have provided and trusted me with. Then I would ask if they knew of anyone like themselves that would benefit from my offering. My experience has taught me that the customers were always willing to offer themselves as a reference. Customers who offered me a referral would let me use their names with other clients or pass my name along to their peers.

Testimonials are like referrals. Testimonials can come in a variety of forms. There are a testimonial letter and a testimonial video. The testimonial letter is when a customer writes a letter stating that you did a wonderful job for them and endorses you. The digital version of this letter is the recommendation feature on LinkedIn. The testimonial video is when a client speaks of your performance in a short video segment.

When asking for a testimonial, offer the customer the option to choose the option they feel comfortable with. Also, be sure to tell them what specific aspect of your service you want them to focus on. Once you receive a referral and/or testimonial, make sure to thank your customer. Should you get new business through a referral, provide great service otherwise your customer will not give you anymore! Keep your customer informed on the status of the relationship with the referral.

This is how to handle objections in a nutshell.

What objections did you face?

How did you handle them?

Comment and share.

Posted 64 weeks ago