Jeff Ogden is a lead and demand generation specialist and a self-styled "Fearless Competitor." He's also the president of one of the best-named companies I've ever encountered: Find New Customers. But enough of what I think. Here's what Jeff thinks.
Q1: What's the single biggest challenge to companies seeking new customers today –technological, operational or otherwise?
A1: To quote sales expert Jill Konrath, prospects are crazy, busy today. So your messages must adhere to her SNAP approach:
1) Simple - very basic and uncomplicated
2) iNvaluable - focused on their needs and not yours
3) Aligned - don’t talk about A when they care about B. You need to talk about B when they care about B.
4) Priority - You need to focus on what's at the top of their to-do list.
But the interesting thing about this challenge is that solving it requires deep buyer intelligence. Buyer personas are critical today. Deep knowledge leads to finely honed and effective messaging.
Q2: What's the single biggest challenge to companies seeking to sell solutions to companies seeking new customers today -- technological, perceptual or otherwise?
A2: The biggest challenge for companies selling solutions like marketing automation is commoditization. To prospects ears', they all sound alike – Marketo, Eloqua, Silverpop, Pardot. The average business person cannot see a difference. Vendors need to do a better job of demonstrating unique value and ensuring success. Chances are this will come from a different selling approach, rather than a product.
Q3. What's the "next big thing" coming in the continuing search for new customers for which users and vendors should be preparing now?
A3: Buyer empowerment. Vendors will need to become more value oriented and recognize the need to be everywhere (Twitter, Facebook YouTube, iTunes, etc.) with a clear, concise and consistent message.
Pay attention to how your buyers buy, whether you're selling marketing automation solutions or anything else. When I look at Jeff's answers collectively, what I take away is that differentiation enhances competitiveness. Oh, and that the only differentiation that matters to buyers is differentiation that demonstrates alignment with buyer goals, needs and priorities.
Be where your buyers are, and pay attention to, capture, aggregate and leverage what they say and what they do. Employ IT-empowered solutions that help you to do these things effectively and consistently. That's how you'll find – and keep – new customers.