One of my favorite bloggers, Paul Castain, posted an excellent article titled The Patience/Urgency Conundrum in Sales on his Sales Playbook website. Using the “courtship” metaphor, Paul explains that sales relationships, just like romantic relationships, have a natural timing, and that it can sometimes be counterproductive to disrupt that timing by forcing the issue during the sales process.
The topic of proper timing applies in spades to the marketer or salesperson. Smart marketers understand that all prospects are not the same, and to treat them as such is dangerous and ineffective. Prospect A may be at the initial stage of the education process, while Prospect B is close to making a purchase decision. It is naive to believe that you control the process—in fact; the buyer holds most of the cards because they are the ultimate decision makers. Use pull marketing strategies that make it easy for them to buy; meet them (online, by telephone, or in person) wherever they are in their buying journey and nurture them to an inevitable decision to do business with you.
Back in the late 1980s, a friend who was (at that time) something of a playboy type met a young lady at a Friday night party. He proposed that Sunday and they were married within two months. That’s not the way I would have done it, but 25 years later they are still going strong. Other friends have had very long relationships before walking down the aisle and most of us fall somewhere in the middle of these extremes.
B2B Pull Marketing Takes the Guesswork Out of Timing
The goes to show that the maxim “Different strokes for different folks” still holds true, regardless of whether you are talking about your eventual life partner or the customers that fuel the growth of your company. Like I said earlier, you need to meet prospects where they are, not where you want them to be. The point is that no one likes to be sold, but most people enjoy buying. This is why we are strong advocates for the buyer-friendly pull marketing process, which is composed of four parts:
The Pull Marketing Process
- Attract – Ensure that your company is highly visible through a strong website presence. Make it easy for them to find you.
- Educate – Have plenty of quality content to educate your prospect. Make it easy for them to learn about you.
- Convert – Include multiple relevant offers that are related to your area of expertise. Make it easy for prospects to engage with you.
- Sales – Create sales channels that are in alignment with the needs of your prospects. Make it easy for them to buy from you.
Smart marketers don’t jump to the fourth step in the process, but rather use their online presence to cover most or all of the first three steps. When you do this, your close rates go up and the “effective sales cycle”—the time you actually spend working with the prospect—goes down. In other words, you increase your marketing and sales efficiency in a way that generates more revenue at less cost and effort.
Daily business life for the marketer or sales person is much easier and more effective when it is based on the natural timing of the buyer’s sales cycle. Follow the pull marketing principles I covered earlier: upgrade your website, attract more people at the top of the funnel, give these people plenty of great content, provide offers to turn visitors into leads, and have a solid plan to convert leads into new customers. That’s a plan that’s always right on time!
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