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Know your prospect or don’t bother

If your message isn't meaningful, it shouldn't be sent

One of the main reasons why I’m a big fan of account-based marketing: You can pick a subset of potential customers to ensure that you can conduct thorough research and curate a meaningful message. For the customers who matter the most to you, research the heck out of them and go all-in in convincing them that you are the best solution for their needs (which you already know due to your research). At a minimum, try to segment your marketplace and cater your message to each segment.

Make sure whatever you are sharing is relevant

Nothing can be more antithetical to your brand, your message, or the probability of landing your prospect than prescribing a solution that doesn’t meet their needs. Here are a few examples that just happened to me:

Missing the mark entirely:

I just received an unsolicited sales email suggesting I use their service to improve 3Sharp’s internet reviews – as if we are a B2C company and need to worry about our Yelp status.

Almost but not quite:

A few weeks ago, many of us at 3Sharp signed up for the Adobe Summit conference. This is a conference for Adobe’s Experience Cloud marketing suite. Admittedly, we have some definite interest at 3Sharp in improving our marketing tools and processes. However, the reason we’re going is to support and learn more about our customer, Adobe. We love Experience Cloud. Frankly, I’m somewhat in awe of its power. However, we haven’t matured enough in our own marketing processes to implement that complex of a marketing suite.

We are a 50-person technical sales enablement firm. This hasn’t stopped numerous consulting agencies from reaching out asking for a meeting, so that they can pitch us on how their services can help us, just like they helped other F500 companies. We will get there soon, but we are not there yet.

Do your research before a demo

How does this apply to software demos? Directly, of course! The more research you can do about your prospect, the better your message will land. Answers to these questions will directly influence how you present your product:

Their annual initiatives?

How are they responding to industry change?

What are their company needs?

What are their biggest concerns?

Who are their biggest competitors?

Who are their biggest customers?

This applies just as much to those of us in marketing who build demos for field sales enablement. Have you defined your target customer personas? What specific customer problems is this demo addressing? Coming from the product team, it can be easy to forget that a demo is not about teaching but instead, helping customer and prospects envision product benefits. You’ve been embedded with your team and know your product thoroughly. Heck, you may have even written the spec. You’ve been in dev meetings, sweated over cutting features, fought for the important ones in ship-room, etc.

Now is the time to bring yourself back to the research you did early on when initially determining customer needs—back when you were learning the pain points of your customers and prospective customers. This is what your demo and its corresponding script should highlight. If not, you’re going to end up selling ice to an Eskimo or B2C marketing tactics to me! In the meantime, maybe those B2C folks should offer their services to the National Park Service.

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