A Better Type of Customer Discovery?

The following insight came from my podcast interview with David Ledgerwood, where he talked about things to know when you create content.

Sales should be informing marketing. Sales and marketing don’t get along. In many companies, salespeople hate marketing, and marketing people hate sales; it is a fundamental conflict.

In any case, you got top of the funnel, which is largely a marketing activity, and you have the bottom of the funnel, which is a sales activity. Right in the middle is that place that we imagined this demarcation where it’s not a marketing or sales qualified lead. You’re supposed to make customer discovery.

Most people do a business, and they don’t do the customer discovery and interview dozens of potential customers to come up with actual real data.

What’s the best way to do customer discovery? Essentially it is the sales call because it’s a one-to-one call with a person that potentially may or may not be interested in some version of the thing that you do, or the way you described it at least got them on the phone. Now we can ask many questions during that sales process. Every salesperson wants to do that discovery-based selling, asking people for their stories, hopes, dreams, and what they wish this product or service would do for them.

What’s the difference between now and then, so you can sell the thing you do? Well, all that information just gets lost. Nobody does anything with it. So you have all those effective customer discovery interviews, and that’s all the data you could ever need. Except it’s a huge pain in the ass to extract it. This is why nobody does this. There are intelligence platforms that will consume your calls and give you coaching information for your sales reps.

If you go through those calls, and you write down every sentence from the prospect that ended with a question mark, you have every question that could ever possibly be asked. You condense that into a data set. I call those content prompts. These are the things that people want you to know when you please create content, marketing, and messaging that address these things. Because if you do that, by the time somebody gets to the bottom of the funnel, they will have been answered to almost every possible objection through one interaction engagement or another.

That’s a much better person to get on the phone, who will self-select out if they disagree with you. And by the time they get to a call, we don’t have to spend half an hour trying to convince them that they’re in the right place. They’ve already satiated that need to feel secure in their purchase decision. Now we’re working out details and having a good conversation. So if you do that on a repeated basis, that’s the manner that you can work together.

I agree that there ought to be centralized marketing materials, but I question what those materials are about. That’s where sales enablement materials came from, but they don’t answer anything that I need them to know from the point level on a one-to-one basis. The content prompts answers to these questions in 10 different ways. And we will drive up the close ratio because people will feel understood when they pass through the funnel. So that’s the theory. That works. It’s a tremendous amount of work.

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