Marketing vs. Sales Part 2: The buyer changed –and so should you.  

by Karen Newcombe

So the big problem with the sales and marketing funnels described in Part 1 is that the old model is rapidly becoming obsolete.

The buyer has changed, and so has the buying process. Customers no longer rely on advertising or sales people to help determine the best product for their needs. Today, the buyer educates himself and  comes to the transaction fully informed about your firm, your products/services, and even about you. This is a huge change in how buying is done, and it means you have to change, too. 

The buyer now comes to the transaction fully informed about your products or services – and what other clients think about them. Click for larger image.

Let's look at how buyers are preparing before they make a purchase:

  • Visiting your web site to learn about your products, and to learn about you and your company. They want to know whether you're someone they want to do business with, whether you can help solve their needs, and whether you will be there to help them if something goes wrong. 
  • Searching the news media to find out whether there are articles about you, your company, your products/services. Are you well-regarded or are there dark marks on your reputation? 
  • Reading blogs – whether yours or other peoples' – to learn more about you and find out if their peers find your products/services useful, or not. 
  • Engaging in social media to hear what colleagues, competitors, friends, and family think.  
  • Checking review sites like Yelp!, Angie's List, and reading reviews by your other customers wherever they can find them, whether they are testimonials on your own website, a review of your product on, or kudos from a client at any website. Likewise, if people have problems with your work or with you, you can bet they have said something about it online. 
  • Watching videos  – there are millions of YouTube videos that inform people about everything possible, from how to assemble a product to how to troubleshoot it to reviews of both good and bad aspects. This is true of both products and services. 

The marketplace has become one big conversation, and the challenge for businesses today is to participate actively in that conversation, to convey an accurate impression of what it will be like to work with you or use your product, and to talk honestly with your current clients and future prospects.  

This shift in how buying is done puts much more emphasis on front-end marketing and brand development, and has changed the role of the salesman.  Your business – whether you offer professional services, create products, or serve as a consultant – must respond to these changes in buying. Ignoring this shift means falling behind faster-moving competitors.

Sales people are now faced with customers who may have more information in hand than they do: buyers know who loves your services and who hates your products, they know exactly how your pricing stacks up against your competitors' for similar items and which one breaks down more often, they know if your staff is happy working for you or if they're miserable in their jobs. 

As a result, your firm now needs to participate actively in all the avenues where clients gather information; it is no longer sufficient to view your website as a fancy Yellow Pages ad, or to think of YouTube as that goofy place where your kids watch the Yogscast guys play Minecraft. 

To remain successful, your business needs to turn your marketing effort from a the traditional one-way dog and pony show into a two-way conversation between peers. This is a challenging task to take on, but take it on you must if your firm is to survive.  

Image credit: Chart by Karen Newcombe; photo of drawing hand by lusi (sanja gjenero)

232QAWS© Karen L. Newcombe 2016     Email:   Phone: 954-428-5457