Do Sales people need to double as Product Marketing Managers for their offerings?
Previously, I spoke about prospecting and identifying your target market. I will cover this topic in more detail in this post. I stated that it is important to know who would be a good fit for your offering. For example if you were selling Dental equipment like I was, you would look for Dental professionals in your sales territory, you would not call on other medical professionals and offices that do not have a need. When I was selling Dental equipment, I sold devices that any Dental professional could use. However, I also sold items that only specialized Dentists could use. As a result, I had to do research to distinguish between my offerings. For example, I would not present a general dentist an implant hand-piece that only an oral surgeon would use.
However, if you are selling a consumer product or one with widespread applications more research is required; you will have to do extensive market research thinking like a product marketing manager answering the following questions:
- How is the product being used?
- What is the product designed to do?
- What are the demographics of the people using the product?
- How long is the sales cycle between purchases?
- What channels is the product sold through?
- What offerings does the competition have?
- What channels does the competition use to sell?
- How do your offerings measure up compared to the competitions?
So where could you find this information?
- Product literature from your company and the competition
- Reading industry trade magazines and journals
- Attending industry trade shows where products are readily on display
- Viewing product training and demonstration videos by experts in your field
- Talking to prospects and existing customers about how they use the products
- Examining your company’s data on sales and the sales cycle of your products
If you are a new sales person, you will do all of these things I mentioned above as you gain more experience. If you are working at an existing company, they will have data on your competition and product information. However, if you are starting a business you will have to do this research yourself. All of this information can be used in your sales presentation to convince your prospects and customers that you are an expert. This is the cornerstone to the consultative selling approach.
Once you know who your products are a good fit for, you can come up with a prospecting list based on geography. If you work for a company as a sales representative you will be given a territory with a list of names and addresses. The only exception to this is if you are selling life insurance and financial services, in these professions you can call on anyone. You are not limited by geography. If you are starting your own business you will have to come up with a prospecting list on your own.
So how do I build a prospecting list if one is not provided?
I would do internet searches that focus on certain professionals that are a good fit for your offerings and organize it by zip codes. You will be able to build and improve on your prospecting list as you call on prospects. Your prospecting list is a building block you can use to develop a sales plan. I will talk about this in a later post. This is how you prospect and identify your target market.
Please send me your questions.