Prior to the always-on connected world in which we live, input from outside channels was limited. Fractured attention spans today command eight impressions to register a first response from prospects, whereas in the past only three to seven impressions were needed, according to marketing experts.
Traversing the mountain that eventually leads to a warm reception while prospecting can be challenging, but less so with advance preparation. Just as a pilot would not lift off without up-to-date information on current and emerging conditions, a merchant level salesperson (MLS) should never face a prospect without the requisite knowledge of the payments industry, the MLSs offerings and the prospect's sphere. Sales analysts estimate 92 percent of business decision makers would prefer to work with sales reps who are subject matter experts.
To be convincing as an expert and connect more effectively with prospective merchants, MLSs must not center their efforts on cold calling, where only 2 percent of such calls are rewarded with appointments. Instead, marketers recommend a multilayered approach to reaching busy decision makers with self-validating information.
Research has shown that blogs and newsletters are the most effective forms of outreach at the beginning of the sales cycle. Short, text-based content can help decision makers quickly evaluate potential products and services. White papers at this stage can shed light on problem areas similar businesses have faced and how, as an expert service provider, the company seeking to establish a relationship with the recipient successfully resolved these issues for other clients.
Later in the sales process, decision makers tend to welcome more time-intensive interactions. At this stage they typically have a better understanding of what they need, and have narrowed the selection criteria and companies under review to a short list of those that qualify. Webinars, videos and detailed product guides are the tools of choice for educating such prospects. Service providers should be prepared to answer in-depth questions at this stage.
Once a merchant has boarded, marketers advise sales organizations to keep feeding clients with content that increases knowledge and improves retention over the long-term.
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