As we have previously written, Buyers Don’t Buy Products, They Buy Outcomes. I see a perfect example of this as I look out my window into my driveway. I bought a car to get to the places I need to get to support the outcomes that I need:
- Enjoying our home in the mountains to bike and ski
- Get to the airport to fly somewhere to visit a client or an occasional trip for fun
- Sustain day-to-day life at home
I don’t drive very often, but the car I drive is reliable, it allows me to transport my gear and delivers the outcomes I need. Quite frankly, it is less than impressive for anyone that would consider themselves a car junkie. Sounds like I may be cheap but trust me that the outcomes I need require plenty of investment over and above a car.
The outcomes that your business delivers should be woven throughout the operational as well as the sales and marketing aspects of your business. Let’s focus on sales and marketing given this is your focus if you landed on this blog.
Outcomes are in play at each stage of the process that you have in place to help your ideal prospect to become an ideal client:
- Marketing/Prospecting: Your marketing plan should be targeted to attract businesses that are looking for outcomes that your company can deliver. Remember, Buyers Don’t Buy Products, They Buy Outcomes, so product-centric messaging makes it challenging or impossible for the target to understand what outcomes they might get from your product.
- Qualifying: The goal of the qualifying stage of a sales cycle is to determine if the buyer is a good fit for the outcomes that your company can generate and if they have resources to pay for your product or service.
- Discovery: The idea with the discovery stage of the sales cycle is to explore areas of need that your prospects have. Needs for all potential outcomes that you can deliver should be explored.
- Proposing/Recommending: Your proposal should be communicated in terms of the outcomes that your clients will receive if they invest in you.
- Enjoying your services: Your operational team should be focused on maximizing outcomes for your clients. From a sales perspective, you need to gather outcomes — actual, quantifiable metrics — from happy clients when you conduct periodic business reviews. Those metrics should then be used in the other stages of the buying process to help communicate your value.
Having a resource, let’s call it an Outcomes Framework, shared by the sales and marketing team that is updated regularly, and shared centrally between sales and marketing provides many benefits:
- Alignment: Historically, sales and marketing teams are at odds with each other. Sales teams need marketing to communicate properly to prospects in a language they understand (outcomes and value, not product specs). On the other hand, marketing relies on sales to gather outcomes to help them create messaging. Both need each other to be on the same page, and an outcomes framework is a great place to start!
- Effectiveness: Outcomes-based messaging resonates with prospects, so win rates go up when communicating in terms of outcomes.
- Efficiency: Having a centrally-shared resource in place for an entire sales team makes it significantly easier for sales teams to prepare for all calls. Better yet, it can take fewer calls to achieve the same result. How happy would your sales team be if you were able to cut in half the time that sales reps spend preparing for meetings and helping them win more deals?
Leveraging an Outcomes Framework with real-world client success stories can be a game-changer for your revenue generation team.
Now, more than ever, we need to keep our growth engines running. Sales must maintain activity levels. Marketing must keep the digital lights on. This is not the time to slow down or stop.
This past week I’ve talked with many leaders that are facing hard choices. I’ve seen some companies make the first cuts in sales and marketing. I understand there are hard choices to be made in this season. There may be some fat you can trim that should have been done months ago. But overall, I want to challenge businesses leaders: keep your growth engines running.
Fortunately, it seems like the Small Business Administration is committed to keeping the American economic engine running. Low interest loans with favorable terms are available for leaders that have the guts to keep moving forward.
We have to keep the growth engines running.
This crisis will pass. When it does, companies that kept their growth engines running will be ready to help. Companies that shut down their engines will scramble to get going again. Many of them will not have the resources to get restarted.
Your Revenue Growth Engine is the sum total of your sales and marketing efforts. Together, these activities drive the lifeblood of your business: revenue.
Three Reasons To Keep Your Growth Engine Running
1. You Don’t Know When The Rebound Will Happen
Have you ever tried to time the stock market? That never works well for anyone. And even if you could time the market and get back in at the bottom, sales doesn’t work like that. In order to be there at the bottom, you have to be there. If you don’t have a sales team, you won’t be there and you’ll miss out on the rebound.
2. It’s Easier To Sustain Momentum Than Start Again From Zero
Your growth engine is more like a freight train than a race car. You can’t just go from a dead stop to 80 miles per hour. Revenue comes from relationships. Relationships are built and sustained over time. If you sideline your sales team, you can’t sustain relationships. If you turn off your digital marketing, you erode trust. Right now, we need to maintain momentum.
You might think you can restart when everyone comes out of their bunkers. The problem is that your revenue engine is like a freight train. It might take more resources to restart from a dead stop than it will to keep the train in motion. If you are able to restart from a dead stop, you might not be able to get in motion as fast as your competitors who kept their engines running.
3. It’s Our Patriotic Duty
Our government leadership have said that they prefer to help businesses keep people employed rather than pay out unemployment. It appears they are willing to help us weather this storm so we can come out strong. Why are they willing to help? If every businesses shutters their sales team and closed their digital doors, our economy will be in even worse shape, causing even more misery. We need to keep the engine running.
The Mindset of a Farmer
In sales, we talk about hunters and farmers. Hunting is fun because you see immediate results. If you have an opportunity to help someone right now, bag the deal.
Guess what? For the most part, we are farmers in this season.
What do farmers do? They cultivate the soil, plant seeds, and maintain their equipment.
Right now we are planting seeds. No farmer would expect a harvest immediately. This comes in time. Any farmer that doesn’t plan seeds right now is living in fantasy land if they think they can harvest a crop in six months. Sales and marketing plant seeds by being present, communicating consistently, and sharing helpful ideas.
Cultivate The Ground
Farmers till the soil. It’s hard, unrewarding work. However, for seeds to grow and bear fruit, this work needs to be done. Sales cultivates relationships by staying in touch with prospects and clients, empathizing, and offering to help. Marketing cultivates the ground by sharing helpful ideas that build trust.
Maintain Your Equipment
Farmers use the winter to maintain their equipment. Tractors are serviced and cleaned. Implements are prepared for the rigors of the next season. Sales needs to take this time to sharpen their sales skills. Marketing needs to take this time to maintain the online presence. Harvest will come and the companies that take this season to maintain their equipment will be ready.
What Should We Do?
Here are some ideas to keep your growth engine running.
Sales: Maintain Activity Levels
Sales must remain active. While things were going well, you may have managed yourself or your sales team based on hunting metrics: sales results. During this season of planting and cultivating, you may need to grow manage and reward your team based on top-of-funnel activity. You might adjust your comp plan temporarily to reward reps based on calls, social touches, sequences launched, and periodic business reviews.
Train your reps. Invest in your team during the off season so they can hit field ready to win.
Marketing: Keep The Digital Lights On
Marketing must keep communicating. When you stop communicating, you cease to engage in the digital world. Right now while we are working from home, we are undeniably in a digital world. For years, marketing experts have been urging us to build and maintain a vibrant online presence because our buyers are digitally-enabled and socially-empowered. How true is this now?
Does you message need to change in the short term? Yes. (Some ideas here: Outcomes Clients Want During a Crisis: How To Shift Your Sales and Marketing Message In the Short Term.) But you must keep communicating and stay digitally engaged.
This season for marketing to plant, cultivate, and maintain the equipment. Keep communicating by sharing ideas on your blog and social media. Take this down time to improve the website and refresh you sales collateral. Have you put off investment in marketing automation and sales enablement? Now is a good time to get this infrastructure in place.
Keep Your Growth Engine Running
Some companies will stop their engines right now. Sales people will be laid off. Marketing will come to a grinding halt. This will be done in the attempt to survive and preserve salaries for core employees. Here’s the challenge with this mindset: if you don’t have a growth engine you won’t have a company.
I implore you: find a way to keep your growth engine running. I realize hard choices need to be made in this season. However, the companies that shut down their growth engine will have a really hard time in the aftermath.
Companies that dig in, plant seeds, cultivate the ground, and maintain their equipment will be there to reap the harvest.
Article originally published by Darrell Amy on LinkedIn Pulse.