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BLOG: Don’t waste your sales efforts

Sean Sankey, Director, FORM 

The problem

There’s a recurring theme amongst creative companies, which probably applies across firms in other sectors too. That is leaders struggle to articulate what they do in a way that potential customers find compelling.

In a sea of constant noise, buyers are getting much better at filtering out messaging which doesn’t instantly seem relevant or interesting. This means that the kind of marketing that stands out – whether that’s in written proposals, website copy, or verbal sales patter in meetings - is the kind of messaging that is ultra-targeted with real resonance for the real person listening / reading or watching.

Doing better

Sales and marketing people would sometimes call this “crafting the proposition”. The proposition isn’t just “what your company does or makes”… it’s what your company offers that solves a real problem that a real customer has.

Think about these examples.

A film studio looking to sell into higher-education institutions.

We make amazing films.”

OK

“Our films help solve your student recruitment problem.”

Better.

A web company looking to sell to medium-sized business’ Marketing Directors.

“We make awesome websites.”

OK

“We enable companies to double their online audience and take tangible measurements on where to put their online marketing spend.”

Better.

A small manufacturer looking to become part of larger companies’ supply chains.

“We create industry-leading quality custom components.”

OK.

“We understand how to enable product designers and manufacturers to halve the time it takes to get a product out to market.”

Much Better.

The how

So, there’s three essential steps to follow to start doing this better and we’d recommend leaders to carve out real time in the diary to think these through.

  1. Define your customer.

What sector are they in? What’s unique about them? What are their drivers both as an individual and as part of their organisation?

  1. Know their specific problems.

What will instantly resonate with your target customers’ experience?

  1. Define what you do in such a way that it succinctly speaks directly to your specific customer and their specific challenges.

How does your web copy need to change? Does your website need to present content differently so that it’s more focused on sectors and buyer-types? How can you start re-writing proposals and tender responses? What do the first few sentences look like for when you start your next meeting?

Although this sounds like common sense, the pace and busy-ness of how leaders and sales people function means that we can unwitting default to the straightforward and the generic. Getting better at this doesn’t take a lot of time, but it does take a bit of determined effort – either on your own, with your team or with someone who has an external perspective and can spot things far more quickly from being that little bit more detached.

Why not look to free up some time this week to make sure that your future sales efforts aren’t un-necessarily wasted?

If you want to develop your Sales and Marketing focus along with creating a bespoke growth plan for your business, Form are running their annual growth programme In_vent starting in September.