At last, it’s time to release Part II of our Secrets of Sales and Marketing panel discussion from the Georgia Manufacturing Summit! We know you’ve been waiting all week with baited breath for this second installment.

To catch you up to speed if you just want a brief refresher on what Part 1 discussed, Danny started off the breakout session with some basic facts and statistics about how marketing has changed over time, and why it’s important for companies to embrace the digital evolution.

After that, Judson Voss of Chart Industries shared some of his personal experiences and tips on figuring out what qualifies a lead for his particular company, and where he goes online to find said leads and get their attention.

In this week’s episode, Danny turns over the microphone to Craig Henry of Siemens Digital Factory and Malika Givens of Landis+Gyr.

First, Craig discusses the generally negative reputation of sales reps, and the lessons he’s learned over time. One of the key steps he follows now is pursuing discussions where the client does the talking, rather than him. He wants to learn about their problems, and become a trusted advisor – because, as he points out, that is the way the world is going.

A prospect may figure out that they have a problem, browse for solutions, and educate themselves on features and prices all within 24 hours and long before they’ve even talked to a sales rep. Craig compares himself to a doctor who hears a prospect’s symptoms and then helps them diagnose the problem, whether or not his solution is the one they need.

Malika then discussed the importance of getting organizational buy-in for new digital changes. At Landis+Gyr, she’s one member of a small marketing team – and the only member of the team who’s focused on digital and online marketing.

“[Digital] is only growing,” she explained. “It’s getting bigger,” and that’s the main reason she was brought onboard.

But it’s not just Malika’s job to add more and more digital techniques; it’s also her job to determine whether they’re the right fit for the company. Some social media platforms, like Vine and Google Plus, have petered out. Livestreaming and snapchat are popular, but not necessarily for everyone.

While many digital trends have been shown to come and go, websites are still clearly vital.

One of the first steps to improving the company’s presence was simply to build a more updated, user-friendly website.

Beyond that, Malika has learned that she has to push hard and give numerical evidence to get support for any new marketing steps, because most executives prefer to stick with what they know…but when she can prove the value of the new techniques, she is able to earn more support and more willing approvals the next time.

It’s a lot of hard work and she has to constantly meet with sales teams and other staff to make sure they’re up to date and educated on what’s happening…but it’s definitely worth it.

 

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