There’s a classic conundrum in large account sales, or as it’s referred to in the software industry, “enterprise sales.” Sales always derides the leads the marketing department hands them. “The leads are weak” they say.
Marketing complains that the primma donnas in sales only want a lead that will say “yes!” to them during the first call. They complain sales people aren’t willing to make more than one follow-up phone call on the leads they worked so diligently to produce.
Well I’ve got a message for both the sales and marketing departments at companies that sell big ticket items: your sales people have got to learn how to be marketers.
Thought leadership wins over product leadership
The old ways of selling have long ceased to be effective. C- and VP- level executives can smell a product-centric sales pitch a mile away. As Jill Konrath in her book Selling to Big Companies says: “The more you proclaim your offering is ‘absolutely the best,’ the less your prospect believes what you say.”
No matter what the quality of your product or service is, even if you’ve got the best rated offering in the industry with thousands of happy customers and pages of positive testimonials, your products’ superiority will not advance your sale.
But thought leadership will.
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