This is a guest post by Carole Mahoney. Carole is the founder and CEO of Mahoney Internet Marketing and a Certified Hubspot Partner, but more importantly (at least to me), she is a major force behind the Smarketing movement. Enjoy!
As I was researching some links for the best online dating sites to use in my analogy, my unsuspecting husband came looking over my shoulder. Day before Valentine’s day and he finds his wife on Match.com. When I told him it was for a post for Rick, he nodded and grunted ‘uh-huh’ at me. $10 says I get chocolate later today.
What Does Match.com Have to Do with Sales and Marketing Integration?
Many people hate Valentine’s day because of the reminder and pressure it puts on them. People tend to resent any action you try to force upon them, especially if it is a change from their normal routine. But sometimes that is exactly what is needed to wake us from the fog, and cabin fever, of the same ol’ routine.
Evaluation – My ever-so brief research led me to believe (not from experience) that sites like Match.com were using personality tests to match people with their ideal partner. Typically with these types of sites, you first answer a bunch of questions about yourself, your likes, your dislikes, your habits, etc.
A sales assessment test, or evaluation, does just that for anyone who is customer facing. This is really all about you. Whether entrepreneurs, CEOs, sales managers, sales, or customer service- a sales assessment test helps you to answers some questions about where your (or your team’s) real challenges lie. It includes:
- 4 crucial elements
- 5 major weaknesses
- 21 core competencies
- dozens of selling skills
- 42 self-limiting beliefs
- 28 obstacles to sales success
Once you have yourself figured out, how you approach the sales process, your good and your bad habitual sales strategies, you now know what you didn’t know and can take the steps to do something about them, or do something else. The next step with any online dating process is to learn more about your perfect match.
Strategy- Don’t mistake strategy as a way to trick someone to dating you. You can’t be something you are not. Business relationships, just like regular human relationships, take about 3 months to know whether or not the person you thought they were, actually is. All the more reason to take strategy seriously in getting to know and understand your ideal match.
Customer persona profiles are the key to the 1 question that a sales and marketing strategy should be able to answer: Who are we trying to persuade?
Other questions that an integrated sales and marketing strategy need to answer:
- ROI & KPI Benchmarks. Map out the incremental and continuous improvements and the behavior metrics that coincide with your business goals or quotas and timeline.
- Target Account Planning & Prospecting. You can’t meet anyone if you don’t go outside of your 4 walls. Thankfully the Internet helps you to be in many of the right places at the right time.
- Sales & Marketing Agreement, or SLA. This is like the wing-man agreement between sales and marketing. How is a qualified lead determined? How many are needed? How many must close? What is the feedback loop?
At this point, the sales and marketing funnel come together and align with the prospect’s buying process. Remember that online, your prospect:
- controls the experience
- is goal-oriented
- is highly fragmented
- is a volunteer in this process
- involved in a self-service environment
- must be be persuaded to participate in accomplishing their task.
This is where you start the actual dating. In the Match.com world, you might get a profile view, or a poke or nudge (or whatever the kids call it these days). In 21st century buying and selling, there are countless ways a prosect enters the funnel. But they still follow a process. The trick is to figure out where in their buying process funnel they are and match the approach accordingly.
- Attention- They saw your tweet, or LI update, or answer on a forum and you got their attention. Let’s call this flirting.
- Interest- Now that you have their attention, they start browsing your website, trying to find out more about you. Let’s call this the ask-your-friend about them stage.
- Desire- They know approximately what they want in a mate, and wondering if you are the right one for them. Maybe they are not ready to go steady yet and are keeping options open (ie:comparing)
- Action- They know exactly that you are the one for them. They took action and actually purchased!
- Satisfaction- Never stop selling. Customer relationships, like a marriage, is to be always selling or dating. Just because you won them once doesn’t make it forever. A customer evangelist is created when they aren’t just satisfied, but delighted.
So this Valentine’s day, share the love. Start with yourself, are you up for the dating game with your customers and prospects?