Are You Part of Today’s Modern Sales Process?
Marketing to CFOs and other senior managers today involves new ways of thinking. The sales process is something that not only you, the marketer, but also others set in motion. In the past, the sales process was linear – the beginning point was the marketer.
Today, it’s a more circular configuration, with different parties initiating the discussion, which leads to buying decisions. You, in fact, may not be the start of the process. However, you may reap the benefits if you do your job properly.
The key is having top quality solutions available and ready to present to CFOs, and corporate finance, accounting and treasury professionals. However, if the conversation doesn’t always begin with you, where does it sometimes begin?
Here are three starting points in the sales process – ways that senior decision-makers learn about products and services that can fulfill their business needs:
Senior management often learns about products and services by way of peer reviews. Researchers and experts in their same field analyze and evaluate solutions and present their findings in articles and such. They evaluate the value of a particular solution (a product or service) that promises to help CFOs and other decision-makers.
These peer reviews carry weight. They inform decision-makers and help them come to conclusions that precipitate buying decisions. This is where you, the corporate marketer, enter the conversation. You now provide information and proof that you have the best solution for the company that’s digested the information in the peer review.
You may enter the conversation through your own efforts – cold calling and such. Moreover, a CFO, who has read a peer review and now needs information on your solutions, may call on you. Regardless of the paradigm, you must be ready to supply answers.
Another way that decision-makers garner information is through online mentions from others in their industry about certain solutions. An online mention may even include a mention about your company and the solutions you offer.
Again, you did not initiate the conversation; however, you stand to reap rewards if you now join in the conversation and provide the evidence that your company’s solution is exactly what the decision-maker (the buyer) needs.
Recommendations from Friends
A third way that CFOs and others acquire information that leads to buying decisions is through recommendations from friends. People talk; they talk about other people; they talk about products; they talk about services. They may talk about your enterprise – and what you have on the market.
This ‘talk’ may lead to connecting to you for more information. Are you ready? Once again, you did not start the conversation. You do have to be ready to continue it to a profitable conclusion by proving to the CFO and other senior managers that your product or service solution is the best.
Today’s modern sales process presents new opportunities to engage with those who may require your solutions. Be ready at all times to join the conversation, no matter where the sales process starts. Others may start the conversation, but you have the opportunity to conclude it successfully for all involved.
Educate Before You Sell
B2B Marketing to Senior Management the Right Way
Let’s face it; there exists much sales talk on a host of platforms, from articles and blog posts, to videos, podcasts, direct mail, webinars, and social media interactions. This is on top of telephone and in-person cold calling. The design of a significant amount of this activity is to ‘gain the sale’. However, the design of your corporate marketing initiatives must begin with education.
Consider that you and a host of other marketers are vying for the attention of senior managers, finance and otherwise, at the companies you target. Whom do you think they will allow in their front door – those who go for the ‘hard sell with hype’, or those (you!) who provide top-notch information that educates and provides solutions to senior managers’ concerns?
Your goal should be to be the foremost supplier of useful information to senior managers. This should be the foundation of every corporate marketing campaign you set in motion. Focus on becoming the leading provider of relevant and timely information to your target market.
You can educate senior managers, such as CFOs and other financial decision-makers through quality content you provide them. These are not blatant advertisements. These are informative documents and more, designed to answer their questions and concerns. Again, these are all on top of the quality personal interaction you have with these individuals. Your personal meetings with them must be occasions for educating as well.
Take advantage of the many ways you can educate corporate executives. These include expert pages on your website, white papers, press releases, case studies, webinars, trade articles, and blog posts. These also include your company’s microsites – designed as educational sites to give information that is more specialized to your niche.
You can move to the next stage – the selling process – after you’ve presented top-notch information to corporate finance executives and other senior managers. Giving them information that answers their questions, helps build trust between you and them. They will see that your objective is to help them, with ‘the sale’ the by-product of this dialog between business professionals.
As you plan your marketing initiatives, make education the first order of business for any campaign you undertake. Senior managers, such as CFOs, will appreciate your efforts to provide them quality information that facilitates wise decision-making on their part.