Christopher Thompson's Closing the Deal: Competing against a barrage of information
The way we consume information and communicate has changed drastically over the years. From the social media boom to the blazing adoption and evolution of technology in mobile phones, it's fascinating to look at all of the major evolutions that have occurred. And with change comes both challenges and opportunities.
In business, communicating with prospects and customers has also become a lot more challenging. And while there are always new media through which you can communicate, the amount of information people are forced to take in is overwhelming. And that's the root cause of the problem.
There is certainly plenty of compelling research that highlights this reality. A report by the Recati group showed the average office worker gets over 120 emails per day. And I know a lot of high-level decision makers who get a lot more than that. But in either case, we are always competing with a lot of other emails and hoping ours, somehow, miraculously gets read.
On the social media side of things, you can sign into any one of your own platforms and quickly recognize how much information is being presented to users. Not only are businesses competing for mindshare with your friends and family, they're also competing with other businesses trying to do the same thing. And the result is simply an overwhelming barrage.
So now the big question. How do sales professionals and marketers stand out and compete for mindshare in an environment that is completely saturated? Here are a few idea and suggestions.
Personalization: In the world of sales and marketing, personalization has really become table stakes. Thanks to big leaps in technology and tools that simplify the process, businesses can drastically improve their sales and marketing efforts by using data and intelligence they have on their audience. This allows you to create messaging and content that is relevant to each individual and speaks to their interests and them as individuals.
The auto industry has really perfected this. The next time you get one of those nice direct mail pieces in your mailbox, take a look at how the piece is personalized to you. It's impressive and most importantly, will typically produces far better results.
Media: Another very important consideration when competing for mindshare is the various media you use to communicate. We have email, phone, text, social media, instant message, snail mail and more.
Think about some of the media that don't get used as often today. I talk a lot about direct mail and how it really seems to have been forgotten in most sales and marketing organizations that I work with. It's still an effective tactic, and if you come up with some compelling and relevant content, it can be a great compliment to your digital efforts.
What's in it for me?: This is one of the fundamentals of sales and marketing, but I can't tell you how often it's missed. WIIFM is an acronym for "What's In It For Me?" And this is a question everyone receiving your information is asking when they see it. They are asking questions like, "Why should I respond to your email? Or, "Why should I attend your event?" or "Why should I download that white paper?" And if your messaging and content can't answer the question, you'd better scrap it and start from scratch.
Getting through the noise and reaching people in today's fast-paced digital world can be tricky. Don't expect the same old tactics to continue to produce the same results. But applying creativity, tailoring the message to the person you are trying to reach and creating compelling content can make a major difference in your results.
Christopher Thompson (email@example.com) is the vice president of business development at Talient Action Group in Manchester and writes Closing the Deal weekly for the Sunday News.