A friend of mine relayed a story about how she worked at a number of enterprise software giants over an 8 year period and used the same company presentation at each company, the only thing that changed was the logo.
Presentation went something like this:
All of these things have one thing in common, they are all self congratulatory, inward looking and all about the you.
Now, if I met you for a beer one night and talked by myself all night, I doubt you would meet me for a beer again. Assuming you didn't talk about yourself all night :) I would hope we would have a conversation. Yes?
The Website Test
Starting a business 7 months ago I have been researching companies via the web and have come to the conclusion that pretty much all websites are the same or have the same layout.
So take the test! - Go to any website and imagine it had your logo on it, could you pass it off as your website?
"You never get a second chance to make a first impression!"
So what can we do as sales and marketers to make sure that we are equipped so that our meetings with clients are insightful, dare I say educational and get us the next action?
First Meeting Excellence
At a previous company we created a program of first meeting excellence where sales people were suggested they drop the power points and they used a "whiteboard" and storytelling technique. This enabled the salesperson to stand out, but also offer insight and complete a discovery all at the same time.
In most situations we are selling transformation and we found this method created a far better way to show a customer journey in the project rather than power points.
Tip: Make sure you certify salespeople with this method. It's amazing how many people have got "lazy" giving the same old, same old and thinking it will do.
What are your Unique Selling Points (USP)?
First thing about USPs is that they need to be unique, there is no such thing as being "almost unique". It's binary, it is or it isn't.
Everybody in your company should be able to explain your USPs, why are you different? All too often we can become part of "internal group think" and believe we are different when we are not.
Have we Done our Social Homework?
Before we go to any meeting, we need to have done our homework on social. Who is it that we are meeting? What is their background? What points of commonality do we have? Both cycle for charity etc.
We also need to check, are all the people that need to be invited to the meeting, have they been invited? Can we meet other people before or after our session?
LinkedIn gives us options for this, we can also check out people's networks on Twitter. With CEB stating that there are on average 6.8 people that are involved in any complex B2B sale, are we talking with at least 7 people in an account?
Have we researched and do we know who the changemakers / mobilisers are? (Again, Twitter is a good place for this.)
Social Homework (Advanced)
If you have access to a marketing automation tool, this should (I've only had experience of and trained sales people on Eloqua) then you can see who has been to your website and what whitepapers they may have downloaded.
In DLA we use Brandwatch and this is a great way of seeing who is engaging with your target company.
We also use Leadfeeder at DLA as another way of checking out, who's checking you out! - Leadfeeder uncovers companies visiting your site who didn't leave any contact detail.
These are just some of the ways we can "stand out" from all of the noise out there.