When the sale becomes more important than the product, YOU WILL FAIL
I have experience with this problem. And I hate that I have experience with this problem.
Let me start by saying, I get the need for sales.
I’m a marketing director so it would be odd if I didn’t see the need to spread a value proposition far and wide – whether it be on a one-to-one sales basis or one-to-many marketing basis.
But when the the sale itself starts to define what you do, rather than the product, you’ve got a big big problem.
Investment in sales and marketing technology has gone through the roof and with good reason; reducing cost per acquisition, providing better customer service and increasing personalisation has never been more important in this age where the customer holds all the cards.
And companies are expecting quick and large returns on those investments.
New technology has also brought a level of monitoring and tracking that was previously unavailable. And that was kind of the point, right?
But that scrutiny, that need for quick and ‘easy’ returns, is starting to weigh heavy on many large (mainly traditional) businesses, who are now seemingly more concerned with the sale than their actual product.
The Sale Becomes the Product
The constant stream of sales information and data — the who sold what, when and to whom — now seems to take preference over real customer insights:
- How are your customers using your product?
- What defines their user experience?
- What surprising parts of your product do they love?
- What do they hate?
- What is your product’s hook that will make your customer want to use/consume it, again and again?
Many senior managers are looking at sales data and returning to that safe haven… quantity.
Quantity As Driver
If this new technology is meant to do anything, it’s meant to make us more efficient. And increased efficiency means more sales, right?
The ‘call-center mentality’ of MORE — more phone calls, more emails, more meetings — means nothing if the thing you’re selling doesn’t solve anyone’s problem.
Gone are the days when a man, chewing a tooth pick, in a pinstripe suit, with slick-back hair could ‘sell snow to an Eskimo’ (with apologies to The Inuit).
No. Consumers have woken up. They can see right through you. And when they do what do they see next? Your product.
And if you’ve been so distracted by the function of sales that you haven’t evolved and improved your product, they will know and, you can bet your ass, they won’t be sold. Not by anybody.
Sales and marketing are a means to distribute the value of your product. Please please, for the love of all that is good and holy, remember that.
They should rarely be your core focus and they should never distract you from developing and improving what you offer.
Do not take your eye off the product ball, even for a second… because your competitors won’t.
Have you got experience of sales becoming the product? Did it drive you crazy too? What did you do to change? I’d love to hear from you. I’d equally love it if you could hit the heart below! Thanks.