Feb 12, 2013

don't judge me [only] by my leads

As this Entrepreneur turned VP said it here, selling is about 3 essential questions:
  • Why Buy Anything?
  • Why Buy Mine?
  • Why Buy Now?
I'd like to spend some time on the Why Buy Now, as I'd like to rehabilitate the shady side of marketing, the one that's not generating direct leads: brand awareness.

At the end of the day, marketing's effectiveness is assessed [by the sales people] by the number of leads generated, qualified and transferred to each sales person.

But follow my simple logic here and tell me if I'm wrong:

In strategic b2b acquisitions, no client will make a buy because a sales person gave him a call and casually suggested, oh, I don't know, to re-equip his entire factory. Never the decision-maker will say "What a wonderful idea, that never crossed my mind, but now that you brought up this gazillion $$$ investment, let's meet."

My point? Almost never the vendor is the one to set the acquisition moment. In strategic buys, you need to bring your company / product brand in top-of-minds in your sector and harvest the requests of the clients at the point where they decide to make such purchases [mind you, I’m not talking about bringing a new product and having to educate your market to adopt it].

In the markets where your brand is well established, referencing customers is the most successful marketing action, no doubt; but what about new external markets?

In those new markets, your company needs to grab share of voice and build brand awareness in order to start being considered as a potential supplier by its target market.

E.g., I'm running brand awareness actions using various channels:
  • broadcast news / materials in local & vertical press
  • join professional associations 
  • share case studies in online professional groups
  • advertise the brands in online relevant channels
  • insert / distribute promotional flyers in industry events
  • run AdWords campaigns with Google [although this one is dangerously close to lead generation].

None of the above actions can or should be judged by the number of leads generated, and you shouldn't build a marketing budget with this sole goal in mind; if you want your company to be one of the vendors considered by the client in the selection process, first let him know about you; and after you've gained a new contract, please ask the client “How did you hear about us?” and hurry back with the answer.

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