24 October 2014

Mark Freed E2W

Mark Freed - E2W Limited

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Evolving from Vendor to Trusted Advisor

21 July 2014  |  915 views  |  0
As a senior executive in a fintech firm, the chances are that these two assertions will strike a chord: you sell solutions and you want the market to see you as a trusted advisor.  How do your sales and marketing strategies can underpin this goal.

You’re more than a vendor

There’s an inextricable link between being a solution provider and positioning yourself as a trusted advisor. If you have a higher level of trust with your client, they’ll be more open to discussing how your solutions can meet their needs. And the earlier in the buying process that trust is created, the better.

When you operate in markets where an identifiable and manageable number of people are responsible for buying decisions, you can build relationships before the buying process even begins. So it follows that you’ll need a tailored relationship-building marketing strategy to match.

Know your audience

Once you know and understand your targets’ needs, wants, buying attitudes and practices - and segment your market accordingly – you’ll be perfectly positioned to:

  •  market your products and services more efficiently
  •  become a trusted advisor by building, developing and maintaining relationships with the decision-makers within your market
  • develop the knowledge gained from these relationships into fine-tuning solutions and pricing for a tangible edge over your competitors.

By practising relationship-building marketing rather than promotional-based marketing, you’ll benefit from effective knowledge bases that encompass a manageable number of decision-makers in your market, rather than unwieldy databases of names. And you can concentrate on developing and creating trust and relationships with these key people, rather than diluting your focus with conferences, events, column inches, Google rankings and blogs.

The first step to sales success lies in knowing when and how your targets are going to buy or review their existing systems and services. Armed with this knowledge, you can effectively prioritise your contact with your prospect universe into more targeted and cost-effective strategies. You can also channel more effort into the right companies at the right time and develop less labour-intensive, targeted marketing strategies to educate targets whose buying cycle lies further ahead.

Perception is reality: act like a vendor, and you are a vendor

At E2W, we’re approached by a staggering number of firms who want us to help them ‘build a list’ of firms and contacts. They plan to use this list to invite them to an event or mass-email them some form of marketing material. But they’re missing the point.

Why? Because they should already know who these companies are, and be able to pinpoint the key decision-makers within them. So why aren’t they in regular, personal contact with these very important people? And why aren’t they geared up to discuss their needs, challenges and initiatives? More often than not, the blame lies with a mass-market approach which leads to them being seen simply as a vendor.

Think about it. As a buyer, what proportion of the promotional-based marketing you receive goes straight into the trash? Unless it happens to land in your inbox as you’re in – or approaching – a buying process for that particular item, it’s likely to miss its mark. If you’re a fintech firm operating in markets with an identifiable and manageable number of potential buyers, there’s absolutely no place for this kind of hit-and-miss strategy.

Build a solid knowledge base

Buying or compiling a list of companies and contacts is the easy part. But your list will only be as up-to-date as the last time you were in touch with the people on it. For a more accurate and insightful view of your marketplace, there’s no substitute for a knowledge base built over time that:

  •  identifies key decision-makers relevant to your solutions and services
  •  analyses current systems along with review dates and gaps
  •  details organisational challenges and initiatives

Once you’ve built your knowledge base, you can selectively segment it to ensure you deploy the right sales and marketing strategies to generate a return on investment.

People buy from people they know, trust and understand

Avoid alienating your audience with a scatter-gun approach to mass-marketing. Instead, invest in your market. Get to know and understand the people responsible for purchasing decisions and make sure they know and understand you in return.

Promote a product, and you’ll sell a product

When we ask people to name their differentiator, they can all explain their product and what it does. But fewer can describe the need it fulfils or the benefit it delivers to their clients. All too often, this is the downfall of the promotional approach over an educational, relationship-building one.

Position yourself for success

To elevate your status to that of trusted advisor, your company and sales people must be perceived as:

  •  knowledgeable about the industry and marketplace
  •  able to discuss challenges and their consequences
  •  capable of clarifying how your solutions or services address these

This relationship-based approach puts you in prime position to capitalise when these organisations enter a review or buying cycle.

That’s because you’ll already know and understand them – and vice versa. What’s more, they’ll pick you over your peers.

 

 

TagsWholesale bankingInnovation

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Mark Freed

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E2W Limited

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