You Need an Ally to Sell to the Skeptical
***Guest Blogger Steve Melito From Thunderbolt Business Services***
TALE OF THE SALE:
Salespeople can’t afford to wait for their companies to discover the value of on-line marketing. That’s especially true in manufacturing, where some decision-makers still dismiss blogging, email, and social media as wrong (or worse) for the industrial space. It’s not that these manufacturers don’t do any marketing. It’s that they’re stuck in a world that looks like 1993 and consists mainly of trade shows.
As an industrial marketer, I’ve learned how to make the case for a digital strategy. I’ve also learned that the greatest asset I can have is an ally – typically a salesperson – within the target organization. This savvy salesperson has everything to gain from a digital marketer who can help generate leads and create opportunities. Sometimes, this salesperson finds me before I even discover their company.
Such was the case several years ago when I was contacted (on LinkedIn) by a salesperson at a materials manufacturer. He’d seen what I’d been doing for one of his own sales targets and wanted to know more. We met for lunch and discussed his company’s small-but-growing role in a marketplace of big and better-known players. We felt like working together would be a fit, but we had a long way to go to a P.O.
Back at his company, the salesperson began making the case for a new marketing strategy. Thanks to his efforts, I landed a meeting with the director of sales. I thought it went well, but at the time my ally’s manager didn’t understand the value of outsourcing content marketing – a form of digital marketing that’s focused on creating, publishing, and distributing content for a targeted on-line audience.
Fortunately, the story doesn’t end there. By leveraging my relationship with the company’s salesperson, I learned more about what management wanted and was able to land a second meeting, which is not easy to do. This time, both the director of sales and the company president were in the room. My presentation hit the mark because I understood what they needed – and had an ally on the inside.
Closing this sale wasn’t easy, but the experience changed my career. It wasn’t just because I learned about the value of warm referrals. It’s because the product (content) that I’m delivering is providing the manufacturer with leads that have turned into sales. There’s even an opportunity with a major aerospace manufacturer that discovered the company through a Google Search.
Today, I don’t just create, publish, and distribute content for the materials manufacturer. They’ve become such raving fans that I’ve received numerous referrals to their customers. It’s not just a win/win situation. It’s a win/win/win situation. The manufacturer sells more material, the manufacturer’s customers sell more product, and I have more clients than ever before.
LESSON LEARNED FROM THIS TALE OF THE SALE:
The bottom line is simple – and broadly applicable. It’s tempting to target decision-makers right away, but it pays to connect with those who will benefit from your product or services most directly. Make them your allies by showing how you can help. Continue to leverage that relationship and work your way to the decision-makers. You need an ally to sell to the skeptical.
About Our Guest Author
Steve Melito is the founder and owner of Thunderbolt Business Services, a marketing agency in Adams, Massachusetts (USA) with clients worldwide. To learn more about marketing for manufacturing, contact Steve on LinkedIn or request a free consultation.