Selling Marketing Software to Marketers: It's More of a Science Than an Art
The number of marketing technology (martech) providers vying for every marketer’s attention is staggering: In his latest report, Scott Brinker, vice president of the platform ecosystem at Hubspot, estimated that there were 5,000-plus providers in 2017 -- representing a 40 percent increase over the previous year.
Add to that the five or more options every martech tool typically offers for marketers to choose from. Medium, for example, has to compete against other CMS platforms like Wordpress, Joomla, Hubspot Blogging Software and Kentico.
This mountain of rivals that marketing-software brands must contend with every day makes their effort to appeal to their target customers -- marketers -- a little like trying to run after your hat in a hurricane.
On top of that, martech businesses are trying to beat their marketer-customers at their own game -- after all, marketers are quite familiar with the marketing strategies martech brands use. It all becomes a bit like a psychologist working with a psychiatrist on his or her latest addiction. An observer might wonder, who’s asking the questions and who’s taking notes?
Still, marketing a martech brand to marketers need not be so hard. How's that work? Let's start from the view that selling to marketers is more of a (simple) science than an art.
Recognize that selling to marketers is more science than art.
Selling to marketers, in my view, is almost entirely science. I'd personally estimate a breakdown of 20 percent creativity and 80 percent science -- meaning research, numbers, measurements and tests.
Marketers -- the customers - look at numbers and validations (both of which are scientific elements) when making decisions at their jobs. Further, marketers can be attracted to martech companies' designs, graphics, art -- even their jokes.
But when it comes to getting those same marketers to pull out their wallets and take martech companies' products to their CMOs or clients, those marketers will need proof (science) that any particular product is worth spending their company's money on -- or no deal.
Before spending $10,000 on social media marketing's ad costs, for instance, marketers might test out a concept with $100. In fact, they’re always testing; and there's science in that. So, if you're the martech rep, show the marketer proof, and chances are that he or she will buy in.
Offer a trial of your marketing software and let the marketer test it out to get raw data. Display testimonials of happy customers. Share the numbers you’ve achieved. And pay attention to the language you use.
Use the lingua franca marketers use.
A lingua franca is a common language used by speakers who speak different native languages. This applies to marketers, too. Even though they have different native tongues, they speak a common language.
So, if you're a marketing software brand and you're not speaking that common language, you'll have a hard time. In a recent Salesforce study, 65 percent of businesses surveyed said they were likely to abandon brands that didn't provide "customized communications." In other words, if your software brand speaks to marketers in a foreign language, they may ignore your campaign without thinking twice.
So, use marketspeak, words like:
MRR and ARR, not “income”
Optimize, not “make the most of”
ROI, not “efficiency of investment”
And so forth. As someone who does content marketing for martech and other marketing-focused brands, I can vouch for these words as terms I use for promoting content to martech clients.
Using these terms doesn't guarantee your customers (marketers) will be falling head over heels for your campaigns. But it does mean they'll stop scrolling and at least give you five seconds to convince them. If you don't use that language, you may not even get that. My friend, Carlos Aguilar, of Conversion Surge, puts it this way: “To increase conversion, pay attention to the copy on your website . . . Does it use the same language of your ideal customer?”
Know where marketers hang out.
Know where marketers hang out online. This means places like:
LinkedIn: Linkedin is almost a requirement for a marketer; virtually all marketers actively use LinkedIn to showcase their portfolios and interact with other experts in their connections and groups. So, any great, targeted campaign here has a chance to work wonders.
Twitter: Marketers also use Twitter, to connect with other marketers and interact with reporters and editors of top publications. They use Twitter to follow trending news and hashtags on entertainment, politics and other interests.
Email: Marketers daily use email for work. So, when doing a martech campaign, you need to grab their emails. Once you have those, you get access to advertise your marketing software in their inboxes.
Communities: Platforms like Inbound.org and Growth Hackers allow marketers to interact about real issues they face in our day-to-day work.
Engage marketers on the platforms they already frequent. But be sure to use these platforms the right way, so you don’t get penalized by their owners or ignored by the marketers you’re trying to sell to.
Marketers love high-quality, helpful resource hubs; build one.
It’s true we’re experiencing an overflow of content. But it’s also true that people still give their attention and time to good resources. Need proof? Maybe it's the fact that you're reading this post.
Marketers have to keep abreast of new trends and strategies all the time. And that gives you, as a martech company, an advantage when you sell to them. They need great resources, so if you provide them, they'll pay attention to your brand.
I know, I know; it's not simple. But with a good strategy, if you can: a) create high-quality resources that will help marketers become better marketers; and b) promote the heck out of those resources, attract and convert customers and even generate accurate customer information for your database.
Marketing to marketer-customers can be easy if you employ these strategies. That's why you should approach these customers with what they themselves base their decisions on. Remember that they care most about numbers, tests and proof. Remember to speak the marketer's language: ("revenue," not profit; and "customer acquisition," not cost of getting customers).
In the end, selling to marketers using the science involved (and not the art) improves your chances of selling to them and rising above the many other martech companies competing for the same prize.