I was recently talking with a VP of Marketing about demand generation from her experiences.
She said, “after I got my VP title, it felt like I became a target.”
Then she explained how felt overwhelmed by her inbox “full of cold emails, calls, and email sequences.”
“I scan my messages to delete them more than actually reading them,” she said.
She then wondered why sellers and marketers weren’t thinking about her experience before she was a customer?
I wondered what would happen if we didn’t treat people as leads or email addresses (dehumanizing) and instead related to them as people.
Here’s what I mean:
As marketers, we have more ways to observe customer behavior and can leverage tools like marketing automation, analytics, machine learning, and CRM systems to help us manage all this complexity.
The complexity found in things like Marketing-qualified leads (MQLs), Sales-qualified leads (SQLs), opportunities, lead engagement scores, and other KPIs are helpful to see trends and measure what we deem relevant to us, but something is often missing.
That missing piece is customer empathy.
We can get so caught up in our systems, tools, and investments that we lose sight of empathy for the recipients of our messages.
We miss what their experience is like and how they’re feeling.
To put it another way, are they emails, IP addresses, names on a list, or do you see them as people?
Here are a few things you can do to improve the experience of future customers:
Talk directly to your customers and potential customers.
I’ve found that marketers don’t often talk directly with the very people they are reaching out to with lead generation messages. All too often, customer success, sales reps, support are the only ones talking to customers live and in real life.
Here are some ways to fix that:
- Pick up the phone
- Survey customers on your email list
- Get out in the field with your sales team and meet customers face to face.
It is critical to know what customers want to serve them better.
Businesses often take the understanding of the customer for granted when this is one thing that should always be valued. For ideas on the questions to ask your customers, read this post: 8 Questions to Steer Your Marketing Priorities.
Use customer conversations to know better what they care about
Instead of worrying about being attractive, you need first to be interested in your customers. Your goal is to understand your customer’s motivation (what they want) and make sure to align it with what you can deliver.
It is most useful to actively listen with empathy to consciously try to understand and see the world from the other person’s perspective.
Avoid “hearing” through a filter formed by your worldview as a marketer, and do not impose your preconceived ideas on what you hear, because doing so will inhibit your efforts to put yourself in your customers’ shoes.
Knowing what customers care so that you can connect better
You need to move from company logic to customer thinking.
It’s a choice.
Customers want to work with people and companies that can step in their shoes and understand the results they are trying to achieve.
But before you can do this, you must first actively listen to them and understand their situation and concerns.
At its core, lead generation is really about relationships.
I’m wondering what would happen if we stopped treating people as leads (dehumanizing) and instead treated them as human beings or future customers.
What would happen if we put ourselves in our prospective customers’ shoes and looked at our messages from their perspective and trying to feel what they feel when they hear from us?
Increase your influence with empathetic connection
If you want to improve your influence and empathetic connection with people, watch this video.
In the above video, Brené Brown reminds us that we can only create a genuine, empathetic connection if we are brave enough to get in touch with our fragilities.
To recap, if you want to get better at marketing and demand generation do this:
Answer what kind of experience you want to design for your customer or potential customer, and how do you want them to feel?
Asking this question is the essence of designing better customer experiences. Working from this perspective will level-up your sales, marketing, and demand generation immediately.
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