Once again I am inspired by the people I read and follow and this time it was Christopher Spenn, a fellow Bostonian (although I have yet to meet him in person – gotta make it happen!). He wrote a post on putting yourself in your customer’s shoes and talked about how one-sided we were in our approach and that we really don’t know what the impact is of the decisions we make unless we put ourselves in that situation. Spot on!
It made me think of an exercise I did earlier on in my career and would like to re-initiate and I encourage each of you marketers to do the same.
Put yourself in your sales reps shoes for one day.
Maybe it’s not the whole day. Perhaps you devote a few hours to this exercise a few times a week and if you have a tiered sales force (lead qualified, sales person, account manager, etc.), then I encourage you to devote time to ‘being’ each one of them.
Here’s how it works.
Take all the marketing materials whether it be phone scripts, emails, case studies, whitepapers, competitor matrix’s, etc. and start calling down the list.
Read the script or wing it if you don’t have one (this could be a real deciding factor as to whether or not one is appropriate for you to draft up for their reference). Start asking questions – wait, do you have a list of qualifying questions you have armed your sales force with? No? Then maybe you need to make one.
Use the tools that you provide to them (Salesforce.com is most popular I have found) and enter information in the same manner you expect them to do.
It’s important that you follow the process and don’t divert from it. The second you start using things that you have in your pocket but your sales team doesn’t, your experience is no longer real.
Reflect on your experience.
Did you realize you were getting asked questions that you don’t have answers for? Perhaps you didn’t have a case study prepared on how your product/services solves a particular problem?
Take all your learnings and draft it up with a plan to fix what is broken.
I guarantee your sales force will appreciate the effort and you will appreciate them more for what they need to go through in order to get from a cold prospect to a hot sale.
To all the sales professionals I have had the pleasure of working with, I respect the heck out of you!
Have you done this exercise or something similar? How about the exercise that Christopher conducted where he put himself in his customer’s shoes? Love to hear and share your ideas!
p.s. aren’t these shoes the coolest thing you ever saw?!?!