With all the progress in marketing and sales technology, training, and methodologies, why does it feel like the game is only getting harder? Being right in the thick of the action for almost 20 years, I am all too familiar with the pain marketing, sales, and customer success professionals are facing in today’s world of inundated and exhausted buyers. The pressure and tools to scale have never been greater, yet prospects’ interest to engage only seems to be waining.
That is why I am so excited to announce that I have taken on a new role, as Head of Sales for Alyce. We have a single minded focus to fundamentally change the way companies scale and retain customers through a more thoughtful and selfless approach. We believe this more generous, sincere, and customer-first approach is the only solution to the greater problem. First you give, then you get.
Why is engaging customers so hard these days? Ironically, it’s actually the things that made it easier to sell that are now at the heart of making it harder. The proliferation of cloud solutions have allowed companies in all industries to spring up over night, which just means more competition for everyone and from all angles. The explosion of MarTech solutions drastically accelerated the volume of email and phone calls a rep could do, but it also did the same for every other sales rep trying to reach the same prospects. Finally, being able to more effectively follow and continue to market to prospects online has left those people inundated with ads, often feeling overwhelmed and suspicious of how they are being targeted. What we are left with are buyers that have learned to tune out EVERYTHING.
In my prior role as VP of Sales at MineralTree (shout out to the Tree!), every week I got at least 200 emails and 25 calls of someone claiming they could help us sell more! It’s no surprise, as there are literally thousands of companies selling into sales and marketing alone. However, we’re by no means alone because buyers in all industries and departments are experiencing this same acceleration of bombardment. Unfortunately, no matter how cute your email subject line was, how well you tricked me into picking up the phone, or how much someone convinced you that inmailing me would get a higher response rate – I tuned it all out. Why? Because I didn’t think anyone could help us? Of course not. It was the shear volume of companies using extremely similar semi-personal tactics that made it all seem insincere, predictable, and entirely uninteresting. The easiest thing was to just zone it all out.
Despite the supposed spread of ABM, and lip service paid to it, in most cases, let’s be honest, it’s just targeted account blasting. There is very little true personalization out there, and definitely even less true thoughtfulness. It was always fairly obvious that very rarely did a rep really do their research before reaching out to me. While I give some props for at least adding my first name, title, and company into dynamically updated email templates, it’s still transparent-as-hell when there isn’t anything actually specific about me or my company. I get the pain of trying to maximize quality and quantity, because I have been there, but often times it seems like the former is the one that gets sacrificed. Don’t even get me started with the fact that almost every communication seemed to be about the rep contacting me, not me. It was always, “I wanted to reach out and tell you about,” or “I want to learn more about your current process,” or “I would love to discuss how we have helped other similar companies.” Oh really, would you? Is that what would be good for you?
One trend I appreciate is more companies are embracing direct mail. Sending prospects/customers a physical item shows a larger investment and is more tangible. However, the problem is it’s usually either some terrible swag from a company you have no brand affinity for, or some random object from a corny marketing imagined campaign that immediately goes in your garbage. I am usually just left thinking, “I can only imagine how much this company spent to send me this crap. What a waste!” In the end, I continued to find myself getting berated from all angles, but rarely did I feel like someone knew who I was or was being sincere in their attempt to help me solve a problem.
Last but not least, no matter where people go online they are getting followed and advertised. It’s not just old school advertising either, but sneaky new stuff. We get emails that look like we already engaged with the person. We get prompted to buy things on social media that we mentioned in a text to a buddy. We can’t even watch a bulldog surfing video without getting peppered by some company whose website we visited by accident a week earlier. At this point, I think it’s safe to say we all have our impenetrable advertisement forcefields up and we’re ready for any attack. If anything, it leaves us all a bit paranoid about the ways companies are trying to manipulate us to buy without first investing in who we are or what is best for us.
So what is Alyce doing that is so different? We are putting the customer before ourselves and giving unconditionally first. Imagine, instead of a rep trying to get you to bite on a templated semi-personalized email, they really took the time to learn about who you are beyond your LinkedIn profile. Before asking you to hop on a demo they actually invested their own time first to ensure there was a problem they could likely solve. Before they asked for anything in return, they actually send you a personalized gift that showed they took the time and effort to learn more about you as a person and your actual interests as a human being.
Alyce allows marketing, sales, and customer success professionals to finally align around the most important thing, one-to-one relationship building with customers. By providing personal insights and gifting options in the prospecting, buying, and customer success process, Alyce helps reps create and reinforce relationships at all of the pivotal moments throughout the buying and customer lifecycle.
The combination of more companies, more MarTech, and more digital advertising is only going to get worse. The only hope for marketing/sales/customer success is to find new ways to put the customer first and make the relationship about them. While it is very early here at Alyce, and we are just at the tip of the iceberg of figuring out all the best ways to do so, the initial enthusiasm from the market only serves to reinforce that we are onto something really special. Much like farm to table food, it isn’t the easiest or cheapest, but the more thoughtful approach that renders the most satisfying results. We look forward to the journey and the characters and wisdom we will gain along the way, and we welcome you to join us on the adventure!
P.S. We are hiring sales, implementation, customer success, and more! Please reach out if you or anyone you know is looking for a super cool company that is looking to change the game, one gift and relationship at a time.