Eskom has announced enhancements to its digital platforms, including a new chatbot called Alfred to report faults and an upgraded customer portal and app….
It’s easy enough selling ice to eskimoes; they actually know the benefits of ice and see it everday, but try selling a technology solution to a person who has never heard of it and the task becomes herculean.
Digital era requirements stipulate that the CMO should be well versed in technology and its advantages, but more often than not in South Africa, it’s going to be the first time this person has heard of Google Adwords, Augmented Reality, and Integrated Marketing. So how do you get them up to speed on all the latest developments so that when you pitch, it’s a sermon to the converted; who sees the pain, understands your solution and wants to sign on the dotted line?
One of the biggest mistakes that companies make is to send mailers on their behalf. Don’t get me wrong, mailers are a great way of getting information across to a mass audience, but a personal email at least hits the inbox instead of spam and comes across as sincere. There are ways of getting the mass-market effect as well as personalisation – one way is to use Google recognised fonts when designing the mailer so your system can insert the recipient’s name.
The inside man
CTOs and their technical underlings have a much better chance of understanding the new technology than the CMO; the CMO, however, will trust the CTO if they give the thumbs up to the technology. The strategy is simple then: befriend the CTO, get them to trust you, introduce the technology in the best way you see fit and convince them to let the CMO sign on the dotted line.
Tie the technology to the business’s pain
New technology can come across as a gimmick unless it can fulfil on the promise of easing the client’s pain. Some of the best sales techniques revolve around pain: your product is going to ease the pain that the client encounters. The problem with new technology is that the pain isn’t felt so strongly – yet. Your job is to prove to the client that the pain is there, and that your solution is going to ease it. What is this pain? I will use an example: I’m trying to sell Augmented Reality to a client but they don’t feel the pain. The client is a 97 year old corporate that still sends faxes, and it’s having an issue attracting millenials who are interested in modern, digitally-minded companies. Using Augmented Reality at their graduate fairs allows the company to show millenials that they are in keeping with the modern era, and that their career isn’t going to end up as dusty as the corporate’s early history.
Playing makes perfect
Actions speak louder than words, so while you might think it’s a good idea to explain the technological concept using your best Oxford English; the best way is to demonstrate it. “What happens if my technology is super boring?” – you ask. Find an instance in which you can make the demonstration fun. We sell Augmented Reality as a business function to solve corporate problems, which sounds quite boring; but the technology has been used in fun ways that get clients excited about what the technology can do for the business. Get the client to download some fun apps that utilise the technology – they might even come up with their own ideas on how to implement it in their business, and do your job for you.
Explainer videos rock
The mobile video-watching consumer is here; Youtube is a thing, haven’t you heard? 60-second explainer videos are a persuasive way of getting the message across in a bite-sized chunk that doesn’t require too much concentration and Tanks time. If you can’t afford to make an explainer video yourself, you can always search YouTube (the world’s second biggest search engine) to find a video from a guy in Timbuktu who has profiled the technology already. Just make sure it’s cogent enough for your client to get it.