As a veteran startup guy, I get the pressure.
The pressure to light our hair on fire, build a product that will change the world, and sell, sell, sell, FAST!
As a marketing professional, you must learn to manage this pressure.
Truth: We know our product is disruptive. It's groundbreaking. It does things no other product has ever done. It will change the game for our clients, help them save money, reach their business goals fast, and more.
And the executive team wants to see us shouting the what's and how's of the product at the top our lungs.
But here's the secret: No one will buy our product until we're useful to them.
In most cases, that means solving several business problems for a prospect. Problems that, to be most helpful, may not have anything to do with your product.
As you do your due diligence, investigating the buyer personas for your product, you'll learn a lot about your prospects:
What triggers their search for your product (they didn't want to buy yesterday, what got them to move?)
What they expect as a result of buying the product (results)
Why they won't make this decision today, soon, or ever (timeline)
What goes into their decision making process, what they evaluate (decision tree)
How they'll research alternatives to your product (competitor analysis)
The best way to create solid buyer personas is to interview your suspects.
Their answers will unearth a long list of problems in need of a solution. Solutions you can provide with some excellent content delivered via your company's blog, social media, videos, live events, and more.
The question you should ask yourself is this: How can I be helpful to my prospects to they trust me enough to engage in a sales discussion for my product in the future?
For instance, if you're selling a service or product to local retailers, they need help with hiring great employees. Retaining them. Training them.
Show them that you know that this is a pain point by offering your own compilation of tips, links to solutions by experts in their industry, and buried deep in these useful materials, tie in a short mention of your product or service with a single link to you.
If they're having trouble tracking the return on investment on their advertising, give them a tool (printable PDF?) that they can place next to their register to track how customers heard about their business. Which marketing touches they remember, what brought them into the store that day.
You get the idea.
Once your prospects understand that you're here to help them, they'll trust you. And given enough time and help, you'll be seen as a "Useful Marketer." And as I know all too well, you will not sell anything until you're useful.
The Useful Marketer is here to be... useful.
My objective is to provide you, a B2B marketer, with hands-on tips, insights and tools that you can use to deliver value to your audience so they like, respect and buy from you.
I invite you to join The Useful Marketer tribe, spread the gospel of usefulness, and contribute to the movement.
Follow me @tmclain on Twitter, connect on LinkedIn, and let's be useful to each other.
Because being useful is a slow burn. We're just getting started.