Unleash Greatness

Reaching The Untouchable Prospect

By Rob Hawse

Every manufacturing leader we’ve ever met can reel off a list of prospective customers they would love to win from their competitors if only they could get a meeting. They are the “untouchables.”

The problem, at least part of it, could be that the only way sales and marketing is touching prospects are through traditional outreach methods such as unsolicited phone calls, emails, or in-person drop-by visits.

That sales approach doesn’t work very well anymore, for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that it can only connect during a brief phase in the untouchable prospect’s buying process.

The traditional outreach approach assumes that prospects are ready and willing to make a change. To be successful in this model, sales has to be there at the exact moment those two planets align with precisely the right solution.

To be successful, your organization has to find ways to connect with that prospect, learn about them, and earn their trust well before this point.

You have to be there for them with valuable insights and answers the first time they are impelled to search for insights and answers to their problems. Providing them with the opportunity to see the fit and impelling them to invite you to connect with them.

Consider the following scenario.

(Granted, it’s a fictional tale, but it’s based on real stories, just ask.)

An untouchable prospect (let’s call him Steve) is hearing things from his circle about emerging technology XYZ, that his current vendor – your competitor — has never mentioned to him, and he is wondering why.

While on the couch watching Top Gear, Steve starts worrying. Based on what he’s hearing from his circle, it sounds like this new technology could provide real competitive advantage. Steve picks up his iPad and checks his work email. He shoots a brusque email off to the vendor asking, again, for answers. Then he goes to his browser and types in “XYZ technology” and the word “trends” into search.

Just below the sponsored results, he sees the title “Trends in Technology XYZ” and clicks on it.

The good news is, the article was written by one of your sales engineers, and Steve found it helpful. He emails his rep again, this time with more specific questions.

Congratulations! You have just completed your first sales call with Steve – a digital drop-by.

Over the next few months, Steve starts to notice that whenever he types something into search related to your industry, an article or a video from your company is always there. Each of these digital drop-bys reinforces Steve’s perception of your company and the value it must be delivering to its customers.

When your most recent in-depth paper on industry trends comes up in search, he types in his work email and downloads it. You start to send him brief weekly emails that contain links to articles related to types of content your analytics indicate he’s interested in.

Based on your articles, Steve is able to determine that the incumbent vendor was not aware of XYZ technology and has no plans to offer it.

Now Steve knows he has to change vendors. He sees your most recent email and replies with a request that someone from your office contact him.

Of course, you’re pleased, but you’re not surprised. You and your sales and marketing teams have been working tirelessly to create and publish high quality, unique helpful information on all aspects of your industry as well as interesting anecdotes on your company, its history, and why it does what it does (not just how and what).

That’s how to reach your untouchables.

The main focus of marketing and sales then becomes one of ensuring your company’s insightful answers are readily available to those prospects so that when, thanks to you, they realize the solution involves changing vendors, you will be not just the first call, but the obvious choice.

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