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About This Episode
The distinction between marketing and sales is starting to blur.
However, as it does, it’s more important than ever that sales people know how to market and marketers know how to sell.
Otherwise, the left hand won’t talk to the right hand, and the customer loses.
Someone who knows this better than most is Carmen Pirie.
Carmen is the cofounder of Kula Partners, an agency that specializes in working with B2B manufacturers.
As a niche agency they service a lot of companies that need highly specialized and attentive help.
Carman has been in the agency business for over 15 years. Before that, he worked client-side marketing roles, and even had a stint in politics.
Now, as an agency owner in Halifax he is focused on bringing clients as much value in the B2B manufacturing sector as possible by helping them with their marketing and sales.
The Funnel Is Flawed
SAAS companies have driven a lot of the conversation about marketing over the last few years. Hubspot is a great example.
However, in Carman’s mind, the funnel is flawed, and these companies are propagating a one-size-fits-all strategy that doesn’t work for every company.
Everyone loves to give lip service to the customer-centric model. However, when companies start to build a funnel they become very organization-centric. The funnel is more about making it easy for the organization to get as many leads as possible.
Instead of focusing on the customer, you begin focusing on the organization.
The biggest problem for B2B for many of Carman’s clients is a funnel implies unlimited amount of leads.
However, for many of his clients they only have 20-30 clients. With these types of B2B organizations a good year (typically) involves picking up two or three new clients, due to the size of the billables for each client.
This makes having a funnel a waste of effort and a misdirection of focus.
Engage Early, Engage Often
Funnel thinking is predicated on having as many leads as you need. However, if there are only two-hundred other B2B companies who can afford (or who need) your services, then it doesn’t make sense to use the funnel method.
One of the biggest problems is that buyers are most interested early in the funnel process. However, technically qualified sales team members don’t get looped into the conversation early enough to interact with customers at the peak of their interest level.
Meaning, that a lot of interested buyers become disinterested before even having the chance to speak with someone who can help turn them into a customer.
Smart marketing organizations in the future, will have sales people engaged in the early processes of interacting with their target account prospects.
Carman explains that you have to do this as an organization long before you even identify that you have a need.
Funnel thinking leads to ABC–always be closing—which contradicts the always be helping mentality. The latter, according to Carman, is much more effective in the long run at helping companies to do what all good marketers should strive to do: humanize marketing.
“No” is the second best answer to, “yes.”
How do we reframe our minds, as salespeople after being told no?
When it comes time for the final decision it’s important to have our prospects answer.
But instead of rushing your prospect into saying “no” it’s important to let them have time to make up their mind.
This is what Carman’s decades of experience in working with clients has taught him. While no can be just as good as a yes, sometimes it’s too early to know.
The Three Takeaways
The following three topics are the keys to today’s intellectually stimulating discussion on marketing with Carman Pirie.
1. Challenge yourself to ask if you have an unlimited prospect funnel? If not you may need to reshape your thinking into a client centered mindset.
2. Remember, BANT is bunk. (Budget, Authority, Needs, Timeline) is an outdated mode of operating.
3. Ask yourself: are you too influenced as a marketer by the way SAAS companies market?
If you found these three topics interesting, go ahead and give the rest of the podcast a listen by clicking here to download the full episode!