Putting the cart before the horse. It is an old idiom and means doing things in the wrong order or sequence. Many entrepreneurial CEOs do this all the time with their marketing efforts. The fundamental challenge is that the CEO (and his or her company) is desperate for customers, cash and funding. What they want to do is to start a lead generation campaign before they think though their marketing messaging. This is akin to speaking before thinking. It is rarely a good idea.
There are several aspects of marketing. One is messaging and another is lead generation. It is important to put the horse before the cart. You need to think through your messaging before you try to generate leads or you will, most likely, be wasting your time. Here are some questions that you need to answer first:
- What problems are you solving?
- What is your target market?
- What makes an ideal customer? (criteria, decision criteria…)
- What are you replacing?
- Why is it better?
- What is your value proposition?
- What is your competitive position?
- What is your defensible differentiation?
- What benefits do you provide (better results, lower costs, time savings….)?
- What objections are you likely to get?
- Is your pricing solid and can you justify the pricing based on the outcomes or benefits?
- What might the market need to know and understand before they even consider your product?
Once you have answered these questions, then put together a cohesive and understandable market message that is clear, concise and compelling for your intended buyer. Normally, this can’t be done quickly, requires market testing and also requires refinement until you hone the message to where it consistently works.
You may want to list out the key elements of what you want the market to know about you as a good first step using the above questions to guide you.
Then, once you have done that, then make sure that you have built all of your sales and marketing materials around the answers to the questions including:
- Lead generation materials (email, webinars…..)
- Sales presentation
- Product demonstration
- Case studies or customer testimonials (if you have them)
- on and on….
If you don’t do this, you probably won’t get many prospective buyers and if you do get some, they are likely to be confused by your website or sales materials or even your product demonstration if these do not tie to you message. Trying to launch lead generation before having a well-thought-out marketing messaging plan is the leading cause of poor lead generation. But most entrepreneurs do not do proper market messaging first because it takes time, energy, discipline and some knowledge of how to answer the questions listed above. They rush to mass lead generation without articulating clear and solid market messaging.
Also, remember that buyers think differently than sellers. They don’t care all that much about your creative code and whizzbang technology. Beware of “jargon-monoxide poisoning”…it kills your sales efforts. Prospective buyers are interested in solving their real-life problems and meeting their goals. Then they want to understand who else you have as reference customers and also the potential risk of going with your company and solution.
In order to attract customers and close them you need to put the cart behind the horse.
For more information on establishing marketing messaging that generates solid sales opportunities, please contact us.