It happens all the time. By email, telephone, or through social media, the gist of the initial contact will be as follows:
Sample subject lines and grabber statements:
“Did you see this yet?”
“I just wanted to reach out.”
“I thought it would make sense for us to talk.”
I wanted to reach out because our fully oxygenated, holistic, end-to-end digital marketing solution is revolutionary. I’d love to get a quick 30 minutes of your time for a demo so you can see the full power and scope of our capabilities. What time would work best for you? Or is there someone on your team I should be working with?
Based on your title and background, I thought our marketing solution would be of interest to you. Feel free to visit our website to learn more about us. I’d love to do a quick demo so you can see the features and benefits. You can go to this (URL here) to schedule a time that works best for you.
We seem to have several groups and interests in common. Would you be open to a quick demo? We help companies like ABC and XYZ execute their global marketing strategies and I’d like to know how we can help you.
I wish I could say that my examples are made up, but they are basically verbatim. Yes, in general you can assume that the CMO has a budget and authority to buy (the B and A of the traditional BANT qualification mechanism). And according to a Gartner report, by 2017 the CMO will spend more on IT than the CIO. So, of course you want to go straight for a top decision maker, who has dollars to purchase, and jump-start the sales process with an eye popping demonstration. If the CMO could just see the product in action, they would instinctively understand the value proposition and sign an order. It could happen, I mean even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then! However, I’m guessing that your days are not completely booked with those types of decision-maker demonstrations.
Whether the CMO is managing a global organization, or a start-up, the marketing technology landscape they are facing is large and continues to grow. Large or small, no executive wants to have their time wasted. So, they’re probably not going to just stroll over to your website to “learn more about” your product. In addition, they generally don’t open their calendars for total strangers to talk to them about something they are ill-informed about, or couldn’t care less about. In short, you are pushing buttons that turn them off, so it’s no wonder they are not returning your call or replying to your digital invitation. What have you done wrong? You wanted to project yourself as a “thought-leader,” someone the CMO can trust. But at this point the CMO is not thinking of you as a thought-leader nor as a trusted advisor. You are merely another account development person trying to book a demo. So, what questions are going through the CMO’s mind?
The CMO’s Questions:
- Who are you? Were you referred to me by someone I trust? Did we meet at a conference? Did you comment on one of my blogs or have we been engaging in conversation on Twitter? In short, how can I trust you if I don’t know you?
- What exactly are you claiming your solution will do for my organization? Increase revenue? Decrease cost? Mitigate risk? How will you prove that claim?
- What’s in it for me? Yes, we make decisions intellectually, but we buy emotionally. That means you also need to appeal to the emotional side of my brain.
- What part of my marketing budget would your solution impact?
- What application are we already using in that space? Would a change be worth the effort?
- Does my team have the mental bandwidth to take on another application?
- Where does this application fit in relation to our sales lead generation process?
The marketing budget example above is not from some formal global market research study. It merely reflects broad budget categories from a small-medium b2b I did some work for in the past. However; I suspect many marketing leaders in that environment would agree that these ballpark figures are an accurate reflection on how they spend their time. Even though technology represents the second largest area of spend it doesn’t come close to the area influenced by content development for lead generation purposes. So, what is the bottom line here?
- You haven’t taken time to confirm my pain points by listening to me. You’ve assumed I might desire your technology because you’ve arbitrarily placed me in your target market. But if I don’t have a need I won’t care if your technology is “revolutionary” or that your solution is on a Forrester Wave or Gartner Magic Quadrant. The bottom line; don’t immediately ask for a demo.
- I don’t care if your company is a hot new start-up or was voted “Best Place to Work.” That may indeed suggest your company has an amazing culture; which might also mean it attracts great people. The bottom line though; I’m still not giving you a pass on establishing trust.
You need to reboot your sales process and start the approach over. Take some time to gain rapport and build your credibility. Help me understand how a relationship with you could reduce my risk. Your main goal is to develop a deep level of trust. If I trust you I’m more likely to open up and let you ask the questions that would extract my pain points and determine if I can create funding for your project. If you understand my pain points you will then be in a better position to customize the demonstration to address my exact needs. Finally, why spend time scheduling and performing a demo to a suspect who has no budget? If they fit your target market you need to put those types of situations in your lead nurturing mode.