Sales and marketing both have common objectives in the pursuit of revenue: creating competitive advantage and increasing perceived value. Without these, the company’s offerings slide into the slimy pit of commodities, decreasing win rates and profit margins.
How can you build competitive advantage and communicate value? In Revenue Growth Engine, I recommend that you think strategically about the experience you provide your ideal clients before and after they become clients.
In The Experience Economy, Competing For Customer Time, Attention, and Money, Pine and Gilmore recommend looking at your company as a stage and your team as actors. In this model, the script is your sales and marketing processes.
In show businesses, compelling scripts get turned into profitable movies and plays. Boring scripts get rejected.
What about your sales and marketing processes? Would the script you have written for prospects and clients capture the attention of your clients? Or, would the script get ignored?
Let’s face it. If a company has documented sales and marketing processes (many don’t have them but should) most of them are boring.
How can you turn sales and marketing processes into an interesting script that captures attention and builds value? Here are a few ideas.
1. Identify The Goals
What are the goals of the process? List out the results you want to achieve. For example, if it is a prospecting process, the goal is likely an appointment. With your onboarding process, the goals may include reducing buyer’s remorse and setting the stage for cross-selling. If you are mapping out a periodic business review process, the goal may be to set a meeting to cross-sell an additional product or service.
2. Map the Process
The next step is to map out the sales or marketing process. (In Revenue Growth Engine I describe four types of revenue processes along with ideas for each of the four areas.) What are the high-level steps to move the prospect or client from where they are now to where you want them to go?
3. Describe the Positive Feelings You Want To Evoke
Now, I know some of you may be thinking, “Isn’t this a bit touchy-feely here Darrell?” Yes, it absolutely is. Why? Because buying decisions are always emotional. Even the most logical of buyers want the facts because they are afraid (emotion!) of making a bad decision. Even if you say, “They only care about the bottom line or ROI,” I would challenge you to go a level deeper and ask WHY they care about the bottom line. I guarantee there is an emotion involved.
At each stage of the process, what is the client feeling? What do you want them to feel? You might write down some descriptive words like confident, curious, or hopeful. You could also write a sentence describing how you want them to feel: “I’m curious about this company. They seem to understand what we are going through and have helped other people I know. I wonder how this could help?”
4. Describe the Negative Feelings You Want to Avoid
Negative emotions block sales. The biggest one is fear. Prospects are afraid of the business and the personal effects of making a bad decision. New clients suffer buyer’s remorse, afraid that they made a bad choice. Current clients fear that they are not getting what they wanted. Renewing clients are afraid they may be missing out.
There are other negative feelings related to fear: uncertainty and doubt. Can this company really do what they say they can?
At each stage of the process, what are the negative emotions we need to avoid? Write these down.
5. Build the Emotion
Now, think about how you can create the emotions you want at each stage of the process.
In the book, Sell It Today, Sell It Now, Tom Hopkins shows how the job of salespeople is to reduce buyer resistance and increase buyer acceptance. He gives a framework for salespeople to reduce negative emotions and build positive emotions. This mindset works well for all of your sales and marketing processes.
What can you do at each stage of the process to build positive emotions and reduce negative emotions? Some of this is related to sharing facts: data, articles, case studies, success stories. Other parts are related to flair: pleasant surprises, packaging, SWAG. Combined, these can be used to create a compelling script that builds positive emotion and reduces negative emotion, helping the prospect or client comfortably move forward to the next step.
6. Write Your Screenplay
At each stage of the sales or marketing process, write out the screenplay. What happens? What does the client experience? You can literally write this out as if it were a story. (I model this in chapter 3 of Revenue Growth Engine where we present a fictional story of a prospect as if they were writing the story of their experience of our company.
7. Identify the Props
A movie or play requires props for the story. Your sales and marketing processes require props as well. In the business world, we call this content: marketing assets and sales collateral. It could also include packaging or gifts. What needs to be built to support the script?
8. Automate Where Possible
Processes need to be consistent and predictable. Look at your process and consider how you could leverage sales enablement and marketing automation technology to make the experience consistent.
Add all of this together and you have created a process. However, it’s more than a stale marketing map. It is a movie script strategically designed to build positive emotions and reduce negative emotions. This increases competitive advantage and perceived value, helping boost win rates and profits.
How could you make your sales and marketing processes more like a movie script? What could this mean to your win rates and profits?