For a consumer, the “ultimate proposal” is when you see exactly what you want, put it in your shopping cart and then pop a few other items in there while you’re at it. Five minutes later you’re on the sidewalk with a couple of bags, a slightly bloodied credit card, whistling a happy tune.
Online, Spotify does it for your ears. Amazon does it brilliantly. And Netflix does it on your TV.
They all tailor their offers - their proposals - specifically to your previously identified needs and tastes.
You tell Spotify about a couple of bands you like and they’ll find similar ones that you’ll also like.
And Netflix uses your film choices to suggest flicks you’ve never heard of but which are in a similar style in their highly segmented catalogue.
Amazon is the master of cross-selling and uses previous buying history, what’s in your basket and tracking cookies to figure out what you’ve been searching for elsewhere and to magically offer you just what you need when you’re in the mood to buy.
So we know what the segment-of-one marketing concept is - and how it translates to building the best possible proposal in the consumer world.
But how does this translate to enterprises?
For example, how will this help you with your deeply technical software offer to a telco?
Actually it’s easier than in consumer. Your target customers are already managed accounts with a sales rep assigned to them. The rep knows a fair amount about the customer already and can easily obtain more from annual reports, Lexis, and analyst presentations, as well as from executive interviews.
So the answer would be to build a mini-website especially for that one enterprise customer, which targets the individual buyer personas and their buying journeys, using the information you already have, together with the proposal that you’re building for their future business.
This sounds like a lot of work, but you’ve probably done a fair amount of the spadework already.
You’ve got lots of product marketing material, so that stuff is easily covered.
You’ll have an account plan. (You do have an up-to-date account plan, right?) Your account plan is aligned to the customer’s mission and corporate objectives, and cross-checked with their senior execs. And you’ve already connected your product features to the customer’s corporate objectives in a way that you’re both agreed will result in a tangible ROI for them.
So try this when you have a proposal due into the client.
Build a mini-site that explains exactly how your proposal helps their mission.
Use video, graphics and interviews in a way that no paper-based proposal can ever do.
While you’re at it, make it easy for extremely targeted podcasts to be downloaded from the site so that your customer’s executives can hear your own execs explaining to them personally how your products help them achieve their dreams. That way they can listen on the train or in the car instead of having to crack open a folder to read your turgid technical prose.
(You’ve just saved your customer’s buying team a few hours and made it personal for them – they’ll thank you for that!)
Building mini-sites used to be difficult for two reasons. Firstly, content takes time to create. And second, the authoring tools were kludgy and technical.
No longer – I’ve tried three tools recently that were excellent and made it extremely simple for any sales rep to rapidly built good-looking mini-sites. (My current favourite for simplicity is Weebly, although SquareSpace delivers stunningly beautiful results.)
And of course you have all the content ready for the written proposal - so, easily repurposed then.
Isn’t it time to stand out from the competitive line of scrimmage, save your customer time and effort, and connect your proposal with your customer’s business imperatives?
To discuss how we use mini-sites to close business with the largest corporates, contact us here.
Methodical ramblings after twenty-five years in Sales, Marketing and SalesOps.