Summary of ‘What’s the Best Services Marketing Strategy?’ by Mike Schultz & John Doerr, raintoday.com
There’s no shortage of advice about which strategies work or don’t work for services marketing. It’s less a question of which ones work than it is which ones will work for you given the dynamics of what you sell. Answering that question requires many considerations, but there’s one that many firms overlook: whether the service they offer is demand driven or demand driving.
Determining Which Type of Service You Offer
Demand driven: until it is actually needed, it is not needed (or wanted, or purchased).
With a demand-driven service, regardless of what you do for marketing, you have to wait for the need to arise before you have a current opportunity to sell something.
For example, let’s say you’re a litigation attorney. You can market and sell your heart out, but until someone gets sued or decides to sue, they’re not hiring you or anyone else.
Demand-driving: you can create opportunities and influence someone to purchase your service whether or not it is currently on their radar. In fact, they may not even know the service exists.
There are consulting firms that will approach a company’s chief financial officer with a free service whereby they will analyze the company’s telephone and Internet spending and renegotiate contracts with the telecom companies on behalf of the client. If they save the client substantial dollars, the consultants take a 20% cut of the savings.
The concept of demand-driving services is a little more complicated than demand-driven, but not much. Demand-driving service: it is needed, it is wanted, and it will provide substantial value, but the prospective client may not perceive any need. You may have to bring it up for them to see it.
Marketing Demand-Driven Services
When you’re marketing a demand-driven service, you need to establish ‘RAMP’ and ‘TOMA’ at ‘ETON’. Build your Brand RAMP and Top-Of-Mind Awareness (TOMA) with buyers and referral sources so you can capture opportunities at the Elusive Time Of Need (ETON).
Since you often can’t predict when the need will arise, you have to be positioned to be considered when it does. This means either the buyer directly knows about you and thinks of you when they have the need or a referral source will mention you when asked.
For demand-driven services, use the Brand RAMP as your guide. You need buyers to:
- Recognize you and your firm
- Articulate what you do and how you help people like them solve problems like theirs
- Memorize you so you have top-of-mind awareness at the elusive time of need
- Prefer to get help from you versus other sources
These marketing efforts will work over time. The best firms methodically and efficiently increase their referral bases, the leads that come over the transom directly from buyers, and their ability to win deals as their brand reputation grows through their marketing and selling activities.
Marketing Demand-Driving Services
When you’re marketing a demand-driving service, you should also focus on the entire RAMP, but often R and A are more important than M. People selling a demand-driving service often say to us, “Just get me in front of the right titles at the right companies, and I’ll be able to sell the value of what we do whether they were thinking about it today or not—and they’ll buy!”
That’s why R and A are so important. You need to get on the radar because prospects can’t buy if they don’t know you exist (recognition), and they won’t buy if they don’t know how you help people like them solve problems like theirs (articulation). Assuming they understand the return on investment of what you do, see the benefits as compelling enough, and believe you’ll be able to generate the results you say you will, you’re in great shape.
Does this mean you should forget about the rest of the Brand RAMP? Of course not. There are buyers that you’ll need to warm up for years before they’re willing to talk to you. There are buyers who have other things on their plate right now, so they’re just not willing to consider what you have to say. But if you can get them to memorize what you do and prefer to work with you when their circumstances allow it, you’ll keep winning new conversations and deals over time.
How Inside Sales and Customer Care Can Help
Spectrum’s Inside Sales and Customer Care package can greatly increase your Brand RAMP and Top-Of-Mind-Awareness with your prospects, leads and clients. How does it work? We will nurture your customers and prospects on behalf of your company, manage your database within your CRM system, and hold bi-weekly meetings with your staff. During this process we will attempt to:
- Understand your prospects pain points, needs, timeline and budget, if appl.
- Determine how motivated they are to resolving their pain.
- Explain who your company is and how we can help eliminate their pain points.
- Make a request for a phone meeting with your company when it is deemed appropriate.
You can rest assured that your leads are being consistently nurtured until they are ready to purchase, and your clients will be kept up-to-date on their software and/or software support and additional product and service offerings.