Micro-Marketer: Clever Buzz Word or Real Sales Role?
In our last Solution Selling® 2.0 blog, we made a case for the emerging sales roles that are critical in terms of dealing with today’s changing buyer.
One of those roles mentioned was that of the “micro-marketer.” So, micro-marketer? Is that some clever term we created or is that a real role that needs to be fulfilled by today’s sales professional? It’s both, but, YES, it is a real role that needs to be part of a sales professional’s repertoire.
What does the micro-marketer do?
There are many, many statistics that show how buyers are using the internet and social media resources to conduct research, collaborate with peers, and form opinions on their own needs well before contacting a salesperson.
One of the key ways sales professionals have traditionally provided value to prospects is to help them through the early phases of their buying process (i.e. identifying business issues to address, diagnosing potential needs, exploring solution requirements, etc.). In many cases, buyers are able to accomplish some of this on their own.
Traditionally, in business development efforts, sellers would do some form of TARGETING, with the goal of identifying where the potential opportunity exists (i.e. territory, account or opportunity pre-call planning).
Then, sellers would launch into some form of “making contact” to stimulate interest, i.e. CREATE DEMAND. This is still a very relevant approach for many industries and many buying audiences. However, more buyers are conducting research on their own and therefore, sellers need to be proactive in influencing their thinking.
Solution Selling 2.0 leverages social media and other enabling technologies to LISTEN AND MONITOR the airwaves and participate, as relevant. For example, one way to do this is to create and track keywords (accounts, pains, and key players relevant to your buyers and industries). You might use Yahoo or Google Alerts, or tools such as InsideView that have predefined “agents” that can be set to work on your behalf by providing relevant triggers. By monitoring, you can be alerted of situations that may be ideal for DEMAND CREATION activities.
While the concept of networking and conducting research is not new, think of it in the context of social media. Again, if buyers are using social outlets, sales professionals can help to shape those conversations. Sellers can NETWORK AND RESEARCH by joining relevant groups to monitor activity, follow companies and individuals, and participate in and/or lead discussions. Salespeople want to be perceived as experts who can provide value. This is how sales individuals and teams might have avenues to demonstrate thought-leadership and “plant seeds” that can grow into future needs or buying requirements. There is an opportunity to stay in front of prospects but not overtly sell. By participating in conversations and providing value, buyers will think of YOU when they are in a position or mood to buy.
By the way, if you are reading this, my micro-marketing activities are in effect!