The classic model for marketing has been based on AIDA – Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. But this has now been overtaken in social with LUCE – Listen, Understand, Compose, Engage. Marketing has moved from broadcast to conversation, a conversation that sales needs to be part of now that the traditional boundaries of sales and marketing have blurred.

Gartner recently released a report on this. Here are 4 key actions you can work on today:

Social overtakes Personal

In the old days, the only place prospects got to hear about a vendor was in the customer presentation. Today, the web and social media have introduced multiple touch points, and dramatically increased the visibility that prospects have of a company. This is self-driven and is no longer controlled by sales people. Personal interactions still top the list of both desirability and effectiveness, but there are no longer the only channel on that list.

Action: Get on the social channels of relevance to your market. Become a connection hub (LinkedIn).

Sales becomes a Knowledge Broker

Gartner found that prospects’ most valued communications were with with industry and technical domain experts, not sales people. Astonishingly, 4/5 of respondents’ most valued communication was with a technical specialist whist only 1/3 said their most valued interaction is with a sales person. The sales person must now become more of a curator and no longer a gatekeeper.

Action: Become a domain expert (Quora). Become a news source (Twitter)

Invert presentations to be about the Customer

Since prospects have already done their homework via the web, you really don’t need to tell them about your company history. Instead make the presentation about the customer, their problems, and how your solution not just addresses the problem, but does so better than the competition. This means doing your homework in understanding the prospect.

If you can think on your feet, a good approach is to ditch the powerpoint and let them draw up on the white board their problem and solve it there and then with a totally customised presentation written out by hand. My 7 yr old can create cool graphics – there is no longer any competitive edge there. It’s all about the content.

Action: Practice ad-hoc presenting skills. Rewrite your “standard” deck. Drop the demo script and allow customers to steer.

Embrace Change

It’s not just about sales. Marketing has to change to, but in B2B, sales is uniquely positioned to lead that change. “Sales matters as much now as it always has; however, it appears to have lost some of its customer influence,” according to Gartner. “Creating a strong sales team that can orchestrate technical and industry resources is critical. These teams need to develop methods, both by questioning and through the use of technology, to understand the work buyers have done on their own and add value to that work to guide them toward a successful purchase. Sales teams that do this will help themselves and the providers they work for stand apart from their competition.”

Action: Trash the sales/marketing divide. Look at a single revenue generation process.

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