The most important role of marketing and sales is to pay attention to the outcomes that prospective clients want. This is also the most neglected part of the marketing and sales role. Now, more than ever, marketing and salespeople must be listening and adapting.
Clay Christensen and Bob Moesta assert that customers don’t buy our products or services. Instead, they hire our products and services for a job to be done. In Revenue Growth Engine, I say that buyers don’t buy products, they buy the outcomes the products enable.
Great companies have an intimate understanding of the jobs that prospects are hiring products to do. The most effective marketing and sales focus on the outcomes, not the product. Outcomes are driven by business goals and the problems that keep clients from achieving them.
As the economy shifts, the problems our prospects encounter may shift. We may be selling the same product as we sold last year, but the reason prospects buy the product may be different.
We must pay attention to the market at large. Coming out of the disruption of the pandemic, many macro trends are creating both problems and opportunities for your prospects:
- Pricey plywood raises construction costs while borrowing costs are at an all-time low
- The impending great resignation threatens to disrupt teams inside many companies.
- The microchip shortage may create production delays in companies that rely on microchips.
- Hybrid work models introduce all kinds of new issues.
- Inflation presents companies with the challenge of raising prices and/or trimming costs.
These are just a few examples of the shifts in the economy that are shifting the outcomes your clients and prospects need. Will your message resonate with this, or will you still be talking about issues from the pandemic?
We must also pay attention to how these problems are affecting the world of the clients we serve. We need to be able to build a bridge between our products and services and the new problems our clients face.
The marketing and sales teams that understand how these dynamics are affecting their prospects have a much greater chance of creating a message that resonates. These will be the teams that win more business.
How do you determine the outcomes your clients and prospects want? You listen.
In Beyond Entrepreneurship 2.0, Jim Collins and Bill Lazier recommend that companies “get so close to the customers that they experience what the customers experience.” This means marketing people need to get out into the field, talking with customers. Salespeople need to drive intentional conversations with their existing clients about what challenges they are facing. Then, marketing and sales need to get together and talk about these things.
When the pandemic began, smart companies gathered their core clients together and listened to them. They brainstormed solutions to problems. They pivoted and innovated.
With the rush of recovery, we may easily forget how important it is to talk to our customers. I submit that in this dynamic marketplace, the companies that talk to their customers will be the ones that make the biggest gains and avoid the deepest pitfalls.
Originally published on Revenue Growth Engine.