[column] 50 tips for future-proof marketing & sales

“The impact of the digital age on the marketing and sales process of knowledge-intensive organizations is huge,” said De Haas. “Many of the classic principles still apply, but the way you fill them in is completely changing.”

Edwin de Haas

1. Go back to the drawing board

Reinvent yourself. After all, the world around us is digitizing quickly and constantly. And let’s be honest: have your proposition, positioning and sales method been the same for years?

2. Ask yourself 4 simple questions

Who am I? What am I doing? Who am I doing that for? And what’s in it for them? Stay concrete and do this together with your team!

3. Review the composition of your marketing and sales team

Lead generation has shifted from sales to (online) marketing. Sales teams are getting smaller and a salesperson comes to the table later in the decision-making process. However, the level of sales is much higher.

4. Stop selling

Sales should be aimed at giving advice. A customer can no longer be convinced by a salesperson. He does that himself, mainly online. The role of seller has become that of advisor. Help the customer make the right decision.

5. Dare to make choices

And we are mainly talking about target group choices. Do not shoot with hail, but with sharp. Show who you are targeting specifically. You are the specialist.

6. Create an interaction between marketing and sales

When marketing and sales work together, you increase success.

7. Don’t think from a budget, but from a goal

Where do you want to be as an organization at the end of next year? Think about what resources you will use to get there. And that translates to a budget.

Who is your prospect?

8. Make your target audience as specific as possible

The trick is to offer your services for a specific group. Then you can use argumentation that they recognize themselves in.

9. Translate your proposition from your target group

Only when potential customers recognize themselves in the problem, they are open to your solution.

10. Tailor a message

If you really want to bring in a specific prospect, you can tailor content especially for this company.

11. Determine the DMU of your customers

This abbreviation stands for Decision Making Unit. Therefore, start your introduction to an organization with the final decision-makers.

12. Translate the DMU into a buyer persona

This is an extensive general description of your ideal customer, adjust your communication to this input.

13. Create a buyer journey

Either customer journey. This is the “journey” a prospect makes to eventually become a customer at your company. Think about this with your team: how does the customer become a customer with you? Find out what can be improved.

14. Test the buyer journey

Talk to an existing customer and ask if he recognizes himself in this.

And that’s how you approach him!

15. Make a persona a person

Of course, there is nothing personal about a persona. Therefore, map out your ideal customers. And do this via LinkedIn, where 80% of the working population in the Netherlands can now be found.

16. Analyze your new connections

Take a closer look at every connection. Who are you actually dealing with? Do you want to get in touch with this connection and if so, what is the best approach?

17. Build relationships

Once a connection? Then handle your contacts carefully. You do this by giving and not taking.

18. Make use of all available channels

You don’t always have to call to keep in touch. Give WhatsApp, LinkedIn or Messenger a try. Answering a phone often takes more effort than answering a message.

19. Move from USPs to UBRs

So from Unique Selling Points to Unique Buying Reasons. What makes contact with you interesting for them?

20. WhatsApp makes contact much more personal

Business and private life are increasingly intertwined, especially when it comes to communication. And by using WhatsApp you maintain your contact in a friendlier and looser way. In addition, you never actually disturb your contact, because you only get a response when it suits him.

Technology and the digital world make a lot possible

21. Update your digital knowledge

Is your knowledge in the field of digitization lagging behind? Don’t be ashamed of that and let yourself be brushed up. You can find everything online.

22. Digital sales calls

Schedule your introductory meeting digitally. Afterwards you can decide together whether it is okay to physically sit around the table together. A video call teaches you to listen to each other even better and it is also very effective!

23. Build a golden prospect file

It is important that all your data is up-to-date and that the most important information is linked. And assign a task to every prospect or customer in your CRM system.

24. A concrete and clear website

On websites it is often unclear what the company in question actually does. That is inconvenient and your prospect thinks that too. Therefore, make sure that your website specifies who you are, what you do, for whom you do it and what it benefits them.

25. Your website as a basis for sales

Use your website as a content library. And let sales actively use the relevant content to support all sales conversations.

26. Keep smart contacts warm

If the content of your content appeals, prospects are also more likely to pay for it in the form of their name and email address. And by using a smart opt-in you can keep people informed about new – for them – content.

27. Stay tuned through innovation

The world is changing rapidly. And to keep up with that world, you have to innovate. Measure your results, adjust processes if necessary and learn from them!

28. Boss, give the digital example

Many SMEs are run by people in their forties, fifties or even sixties. With a bit of bad luck, these are also the people who are holding back the digital development of their own company. Don’t let this happen! Do you secretly recognize yourself in this? Force yourself to digitize.

29. Possibilities of dynamic data

When you talk about personal data, you should actually investigate the extent to which you can make use of dynamic data. For example, try whether your CRM can be linked to your contacts on LinkedIn.

Content is key

30. Content must inspire and convince

Content takes over part of the role of sales. Because with relevant content you can show that you are the expert. Content should make prospects think. And who wouldn’t want to work with a specialist?

31. One tone of voice in all utterances

When you have content made by someone else every time, it will also sound different every time. Therefore choose one person who writes everything for you; this benefits the quality and overall appearance of the content.

32. Raising questions instead of answering

In communication, raise more questions than you answer. Get your target audience thinking. Let your customers and prospects look at their current reality in a different way.

33. Reliable content

Your content must be based on facts and the substantive knowledge of specialists. This increases the feeling of reliability.

34. Avoid click baits

Keep your promises. Don’t let anyone be cheated when downloading and reading, listening or watching something. Exceed expectations.

35. Content for valuable contact moments

Let your sales team actively share content with customers, relations and prospects via personal messages.

36. Employees as influencers

The reach of social communication can grow extremely when employees share messages on their own profiles; after all, this is how you expand your network!

37. Communicate GDPR-proof

Communicating with the market and prospects is becoming increasingly difficult due to the GDPR. And opt-ins are no longer just given. Make sure your content is of such good quality that people are convinced and more likely to opt-in.

Keep learning, investing and inspiring

38. Stop cold acquisition

Cold calling no longer works. Generate leads? It is now done digitally. With the right message you get on the radar of your target audience, and when they come into the picture, you can make contact. By nurturing you “warm them up”. And when this has happened sufficiently in your opinion, personal contact is a logical next step.

39. Innovation as a permanent part of your business operations

Seeing innovation as a permanent part of your business operations gives you the opportunity to continuously improve your services for customers.

40. Google your company

Chances are that this will not always make you happy. It does give you a lot of insights. Adjust what you can adjust and otherwise request an adjustment.

41. First the guy, then the tent

You google customers, but customers google you too. So think carefully about what you share on social media. Sometimes it is wise to keep your opinion to yourself …

42. Optimize your LinkedIn profile

Of course, the most important thing is the contact details and a short and concrete description of your company’s proposition. Also, don’t forget to include that article or book you wrote.

43. Learn from others

Be inspired by success stories. But also look at what can go wrong.

44. Learning by doing

Experiment. See what works and what doesn’t. Trial-and-error. Share learning moments and write them down. Don’t keep reinventing the wheel. But check regularly whether something that did not work before now works.

45. Start with warm acquisition

When you get started with online marketing aimed at specific target groups, your prospects will click, respond, sign up for newsletters or webinars and view or listen to your content. If you organize that process in a smart way, those people will come into the picture. Then you do the follow-up, in the form of more content, a webinar or a message. And then a message or phone call afterwards makes much more sense.

And last but not least

46. ​​Don’t forget your customers

In marketing, existing customers are sometimes forgotten. That’s too bad. Keep surprising them with beautiful content. And who knows, you can do a lot more for them: cross-sell!

47. The question is often not what is needed

As a knowledge-intensive company you deliver solutions. To deliver the right solution, you will need to understand your customers’ ambitions, problems and challenges. Your customers think they know what they need. However, if you delve deeper into the matter, it may be very different. Ask smart questions, so that the customer starts to think and look at his situation differently. This way you find out what your customer really needs.

48. Do not make quotes

The goal of marketing and lead generation is of course very simple: to meet with prospects to discuss possible collaboration. It is important to consider the purpose of an initial meeting. Most people will say the goal is to make a quotation. I don’t think that’s right. Because if you are a supplier of solutions, it is usually the case that various people can participate in the decision-making process on your quotation. If you immediately submit a concrete proposal, you are at the mercy of the gods. I think your goal during a first meeting with a prospect is to schedule a second meeting. This way you keep a grip on the decision-making process.

49. Turn sales into a step-by-step plan

Sales is a process. And every form of customer contact must be a step in the right direction. If you record everything briefly and concisely in a modern CRM and you link a task or action to each step, the system will help you to keep taking steps and you cannot miss an opportunity.

50. Don’t wait and get started

The world is changing, and it is moving faster than you think. I want to inspire you to participate in this now. I don’t see any bears on the road, only opportunities. So: put it on!

See the accompanying videos here.


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