Ok, so you need to show that you’re an expert business consultant that your customers learn to trust and then buy from. How do you do it?
You need to learn to market yourself as a thought leader in alignment with your company. It’s very important that you understand something about the most valuable asset in the world because it separates you from hitting your quota.
Do you know what the most valuable asset in the world today is?
Do you know what the hardest asset in this world to acquire is?
It’s not money.
It’s not time.
It’s not your connections.
It’s not your lead list.
There is one asset, more valuable than all of those combined.
In some ways, this asset is very subtle, but it drives our whole economy forward.
Before I tell you what it is, think about this:
In 2018, Kylie Jenner was worth just a shade under $1 billion (billion with a “B”)
As of this writing, Uber (less than a week into it’s IPO) has a floor valuation of $78 billion and investors have no idea if the company will ever be profitable
Microsoft purchased LinkedIn for $26B
In 2014, Facebook acquired the messaging app WhatsApp for $19 billion
As of 2018, WhatsApp had surpassed another Facebook asset called Instagram by 1.5 billion active users
Depending on the day, Facebook as a whole is worth more than $600 billion
Meanwhile, traditional media outlets such as The New York Times, CBS and ESPN (owned by Disney) are hemorrhaging cash and trying to adapt their business model to this new world. (Note: Disney as a whole is crushing it because they understand what this most valuable asset is.)
Have you figured out the asset that is more valuable than time and money?
The asset is quality attention.
Your attention. Your focus. Your awareness.
That is the most valuable asset in the world.
Did you know that Facebook attempted to acquire Snapchat for more than $3 billion?
Once rejected, Zuckerberg prioritized innovation on Instagram to steal attention away from Snapchat because Snapchat had an entire generation of people using their app.
Now, Snapchat has is scrambling to figure out how to recapture the attention of the market.
And this is why traditional B2B sales and marketing organizations are terrified right now. Every single day they lose more attention, which is what their whole business model is built on.
Quick flashback story:
Back in 2008, I was working for a startup SaaS company that had devised a way to verify the number of active subscribers a magazine company had based on how many shares their articles received on social media. So basically, if a magazine had 30 million subscribers, then we knew if that number was higher or lower based on the number of shares it received Facebook and Twitter.
I landed a meeting with decision-makers at one of the largest publishing companies in the world. I and the founders were so excited! We just knew that they were going to love our technology.
But, they didn’t because they were deathly afraid that their subscriber numbers would be lower than they reported and their ad revenues would drop. We were giving them a way to kill their whole business model.
We couldn’t go to the advertisers with the technology because then we’d be killing individual jobs at big companies.
So, why am I telling you about personal brands, company valuations and the shift in traditional media?
Because it is impossible for you to be a consultative sales professional without first acquiring someone’s attention.
If you can’t grab their attention, then you cannot get sales. It’s that simple.
Now you have 1 to possibly 3 factors that are limiting your ability to get in front of your prospects and customers in order to grab their attention.
1 - Your organization. If you’re in an organization that sells transactionally but preaches consultative selling, then you’re in a bad spot. The best way to get around this, other than getting a new job, is to become a thought leader yourself. Do not ask permission to do this because they won’t know what the hell you’re talking about. But, when you start making more sales than anyone else on the team, they won’t care how you’re getting it done. I’ve never had a sales leader ask me how I made the sale. They were happy that I made it. Do not ask for permission to be a thought leader. Just be one.
2 - Your client is distracted. A little over 52% of all web traffic is mobile. That mobile statistic is relevant to you because the line between B2B and B2C is almost non-existent. While you’re trying to get the attention of a B2B buyer of your SaaS, your buyer is likely switching between a text message from their significant other, checking SportsCenter on Snapchat and buying something from Amazon. Then they may scan their email for searching for a very specific piece of information, likely not yours. What can you do something in any of those channels to earn their attention, so you can have a conversation about their business?
3 - Your own self-belief that relationships can only be built in a single channel regardless of the reason.
If you think that you can only reach out to people using their business email. Did they tell you that? Don’t assume. 91% of executives rate LinkedIn as their first choice for professionally relevant content. I’ve used at least 9 different channels including Tinder and Snapchat to build an audience.
If you think that you can only contact leads that marketing qualified you for. 88% of online form fills are intentionally completed inaccurately.
You think people buy products, not people. 64% of subscribers open an email based on who it’s from, compared to 47% of subscribers who open emails based on the topic (the subject line)
I understand all of these concerns that you have as I had to learn all of these old ways of sales training to find out that they didn’t work, miss quota and even get fired.
None of the old ways made sense to me even when I first got out of college back in 2004 and started my first sales job. I used to think “I don’t buy this way. Why would a business owner buy this way?”
But, I was young and was trying to learn from those that came before me. I had yet to develop the confidence in my ways, so when I would start to trend down, I would fall back to my training. The training was outdated and my mentors were trained in those ways.
Once I started building my own audience and sales conversations directly with my customers and prospects outside of the brand-approved marketing formats, I started building large pipelines and crushing my quotas. The key was becoming a trusted sales consultant by my prospects and customers.
The cool thing about my method is that it’s actually call-back to the old days of sales where things were done over a handshake and a drink. The only (and huge) difference is that there are hundreds of channels where a “handshake and a drink” can now take place. I’ll go so far as to say that the last 15 years of B2B email marketing automation will be seen as an anomaly in history.
People evolve and they now recognize genuine content when they read, see or hear it. Over 45% of B2B decision makers are millennials, and we’re very skeptical of B2B vendors.
Be the genuine content that they seek when they are seeking it.