Today, marketing and advertising agencies need to understand the customer journey to be effective for their clients. We need to be able to communicate the different paths a customer can take when engaging with their client’s brand. Luckily, the entire sales journey can be mapped from beginning to end, step by step, using the robust analytics available to us today.
Yet sales is still a volume game. Salespeople know if they talk to enough prospects, eventually one of them will turn into a sale. The approach of ‘getting in front of as many prospects as possible’ is standard among business development strategies. The objective is the sale, regardless of how you get there.
The environment of sales continues to be fluid and ever-changing. Prospects have more access to information, there are more competitors than ever before, and messaging is not only confusing but redundant amongst those competitors. This is the story for so many industries and verticals, including marketing agencies.
If you’re placing more value on the sale than you are the skills, knowledge and relationship you develop during the journey, you are missing the point.
What if you took a different approach? What if; instead of chasing the “YES” that leads to the close of a sale, you fell in love with the entire journey? Relish in the initial contact of new prospects that need your help and services. Enjoy getting to know them during the discovery phase. Learning if it’s a good fit by understanding their business, their challenges, and what will make them look like a hero. Educating them about your products or services, along with presenting a solution to help them achieve their business goals. Help them achieve their personal goals within their organization. Every step in the sales journey is an opportunity to solidify the fit between your two businesses working together to build a profitable network.
If at any time during the sales journey you realize, this is not a good fit, that’s okay. Even if they aren’t able to work with you specifically, they can still become a valuable asset for your networking. You know more about their business now, so you can refer business to them. This will show your value to them and it also increases the chances you’ll be first on their list when they know of businesses that can use your products or solutions. Talk about a win-win, even though the particular scenario with them didn’t end in a sale.
And if they are a fit, well that means the journey just gets better. Together you build a solution that they feel is custom-tailored for their business objectives, created through collaboration between you and them. You are seen as a partner before the contract has ever been signed. You’re becoming a trusted advisor, a consultant that brings more than just a benefit to the business, it benefits the individual as well.
When you work together with them to develop a solution, the proposal phase becomes easy. The prospect will take ownership of the solution and quickly champion the proposal with their company. This will lead to smoother discussions at contract time. Negotiating terms and conditions can be a challenge, and they can sometimes go sideways. However, when you’ve traveled the sales journey together to this point; each learning about each other’s businesses, understanding personal goals, and building a solution, your prospect will battle for you during the negotiations.
When the contract is signed, your sales journey has ended, at least for that product or solution. That’s a good time to reflect on the process as a whole. What was learned throughout? What went right? What can be improved upon?
Embrace the journey. Enjoy the process of earning a new client, but also be sure to enjoy developing a partnership with them, thereby building your network. When you take this approach, you’ll always look forward to each new journey that comes your way.