How to Become an Agent of Change for Modern Marketing and Sales

Ask these 5 questions to convince your executive team to shift to a modern marketing and sales approach.

June 06, 2017 Marketing Tips

How to Become an Agent of Change for Modern Marketing and Sales

Today’s modern marketing and sales approach isn’t driven by technology. Sure, technology plays a major role, but companies (especially B2B) who are having success today start by having a modern mindset, being fully committed to communicating the way the majority of people prefer to communicate today.

And that’s not always easy.

Disruptive innovations take time to work their way through markets. Geoffrey Moore’s technology adoption lifecycle is well known. As Moore’s diagram shows, there are always conservatives and laggards in every high tech market.

technolgy adoption lifecyle for modern marketing

In our last post, I talked about three choices a modern marketer can make if she’s stuck with a traditional marketing and sales team. If you’re focused on becoming an agent of change in your organization (to shift your company’s approach from an outdated approach to the proven model of today’s communications), it’s important to start by understanding what you need to make this a reality.

From my experience, executives fall into one of three buckets when considering marketing and sales today:

  1. Total buy in for using modern communication methods, processes and technology to interact with their market.
  2. Partial buy in, which means a willingness to implement new software and dabble in things like content generation and social sharing, but still holding traditional views of marketing and sales.
  3. No buy in, sticking to what has worked over the past 10 to 20 years.

The second is the most dangerous to a company. Why? If you’re in bucket #3 and your business isn’t struggling, then you probably have one of the few types of businesses that doesn’t require a modern communications approach (examples could include professional services firms with well-known brands, small firms based on a handful of key relationships, manufacturers with a tightly controlled distribution channel or distributors without contact with end users.)

In my podcast with David Meerman Scott, a pioneer of the inbound marketing approach back in 2007, he outlines a very specific approach for becoming an agent of change in your organization for modern marketing and sales.

It’s done by showing the executives in your organization that they’re hypocrites.

But be careful! This must be done carefully and respectfully (or you could end up looking for a new job).

Gather the executives who have a vested interest in your revenue performance, hopefully 10 to 20 people, and ask them these five questions:

  1. In the last two months, privately or professionally, have you purchased a product or service as the result of receiving a cold call from a salesperson?
  2. In the last two months, privately or professionally, have you bought a product or service as the result of receiving a direct-mail advertisement?
  3. In the last two months, privately or professionally, have you bought a product or service as the result of seeing an advertisement in a magazine or newspaper or regular television?
  4. In the last two months, privately or professionally, have you bought a product or service as a result of going to Google or another search engine?
  5. In the last two months, privately or professionally, have you bought a product or service that you tapped your online network for help around? Did you use any kind of electronic mechanism, whether social networks like Facebook or LinkedIn or Twitter or email or Skype or instant messaging, text or anything like that, and ask a friend or colleague or family member for advice about a product or service you were interested in?

From David’s vast experience, regardless of where he asks these questions, the answers are the same. Here are the averages for the number of positive responses to each question:

  1. 1%
  2. 1%
  3. 10%
  4. 100%
  5. 95%

The first three answers are traditional marketing; the last two answers are modern marketing.

Then ask your team the following:

“Almost everyone here has bought a product or service by researching on Google, or asking a friend, colleague or family member using your online network for advice. If almost none of you bought a product or service as the result of a cold call, direct-mail advertisement or other traditional media ad, then why are we using those same methods to try to acquire our customers?”

As David says, what you’re doing (in a polite way) is calling them out as hypocrites.

Then ask for their commitment and support for having their marketing and sales teams shift their efforts to get your brand in front of people when they’re performing their research about what brand to engage with.

Getting that commitment first will allow you to lead the change.

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