The Right Message

Most sales outreach is me-centric, this is how you craft better messaging

Most sales outreach is me-centric, this is how you craft better messaging

The past few weeks I have been discussing how to navigate through this time of a global pandemic. No one could have expected a few months back the sheer scale and impact the virus would have. Many sales leaders had very different expectations for revenue forecasts in 2020.

Now the game has completely changed. I am not only informed by having worked during previous global downturns, but also the many stories shared during my open office hours by salespeople & leaders struggling to gain their footing in this economy (you can sign up here if you want to chat).

I spoke about needing to double down on trust, credibility, and rapport in the last post. How exactly are you supposed to do that in a systematic way that sets you up for a stronger pipeline once this pandemic has receded?

It comes down to personalization and messaging. Personalization is simply a way to build rapport and a human connection with someone. It runs deeper than just using someone’s name, you are showing genuine interest in someone. Messaging is the idea you are trying to convey to spark recognition of a need or desire for change. This is what I will focus on for the rest of this post.

“Having the right message is what matters. It’s not who you reach, it’s what you say.”
— Roy H. Williams

You may think that messaging is what Marketing does. Wrong. Marketing writes copy that reaches to thousands and millions. They go broad with writing full of buzzwords optimized to attract search engines and industry analysts. It makes for dull, uncreative writing that no one really wants to read.

On the other hand, you as a salesperson have a direct connection to your prospects. You are required to write and say things that are supposed to interest people. The core elements of your message certainly should incorporate things from marketing like what your product solves and why it’s important. But the bulk of your content should come from you or your sales team.

How to craft messaging? Think of a message as a snippet of content that quickly and succinctly delivers insight. It’s the atomic unit of the overall value proposition that tells the vision of your company. The message serves two purposes, to convey a unique point of value and to connect to something the recipient cares about.

What someone cares about is referred to as a WIIFM, or “What’s In It For Me”. Things like KPI’s and MBO’s that are tied to goals or compensation are good places to begin to understand the relevant motivators that would move people towards a decision. These can be surfaced as problems to be fixed or opportunities to be explorer for some benefit.

When you consider problems and opportunities, think about it from the perspective of different people, or personas, you would engage with in the sales cycle such as users, managers, and executives. To keep track of the personas and their WIIFM’s, you can use the Motivator Matrix to outline your thinking. The example below is one geared to sell to IT teams in large enterprises:

Motivator Matrix

We want to know specifically what pains or opportunities that would drive a person to act. Note that the example provided is general but can and should be more specific based on your research.

Once motivators have been mapped, we can create succinct messaging that addresses the motivators in a way that naturally introduces your offering as the best possible solution. We do this using the Messaging Matrix which builds on the work in the previous Motivator Matrix:

Messaging Matrix

As an example using the Motivator Matrix I shared before, you may want to reach out to a VP of Engineering. If we take the motivator “Projects are completed too slow or inconsistently”, we could craft a message that said “Studies show that developers only spend 30% of the day coding because they waste time waiting for answers to common questions” and then add a link to the study. This ties the problem to an intriguing idea and content, positioning the seller as a problem solver.

Word for caution in using these exercises. In complex sales, there are many motivators and many different people encountered in a sales process. It is not possible to list all the variations of possible messaging. These are merely a starting point so that you can understand and adapt your messaging over time to build repeatability in your prospecting. Expect to continually update your Matrix as you experiment and learn more about your buyers, their motivations, and the value of your solution.

Give this a try this coming week. I will continue this discussion with a follow up going into deep personalization and how to incorporate the content of Messaging Matrix to build winning sales messaging that converts into meetings.

Cheers and make sure to stay safe and healthy!

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