Blog

3 Essential Marketing Questions

When you think of marketing, you most likely think about ads and social media. You think of marketing as getting your product in front of as many faces as possible. Marketing is more than that. You must know what customers want your product and work with your team to find the best solution to whatever issue is in play. 

Who Wants Your Product?

When you market your product, you need to find the right audience. Just getting your ad or product in as many places as possible won’t work. You need to find the people that your product will actually help. Let’s say you sell food for vegans. You would want to find vegans to buy your product. If someone isn’t a vegan, they probably won’t buy your product. 

Marketing is more than creating ads but they aren’t necessarily a bad thing. When first starting, word of mouth is important. The more people that know about it, the more likely the ad will reach a vegan, your target market. The point is to make it appealing to them so they buy your vegan food. Vegans are the market, the product is for them. Ads and social media posts are part of marketing. Consistently posting will go a long way in helping people find you.

What Sort of Content is Compelling to My Target Audience?

When I volunteered at my local library, I helped with marketing. The librarians wanted teens to create slogans and logos for teen programs. They knew this would be more appealing to teens that wanted to join. We knew the right language to market to kids our age. 

We sat down and brainstormed for a couple of hours on the name, content, and logo. We worked together and created a great slogan, logo, and content! Everyone used their unique skills to work together and create something way better than the librarians or even just one of us could have created. 

Who Can I Collaborate With?

Did you think marketing was a solo job? Did you think you would never work with anyone but yourself? That is not the case. In marketing, you must work with the rest of the company to create a brilliant marketing strategy. 

You have to connect with sales, customer support, and operations. All of them have to work together. Sales tells you what’s selling, customer support tells you what people are loving and what the problems are, and operations tells you what is going well in making the product. You are always working with someone. Marketing is the team player.

Conclusion

I hope this changed your mind about marketing. It’s not a solo job and doesn’t just consist of making ads and social media posts. You have to work with the rest of the company to get the best result. 

What Sales is Really About

What do you think of when you think of sales? Most likely you think about a used car salesman who isn’t completely honest. You might think of the annoying person that shows up at your door trying to sell you something you don’t need. If you’re a good salesperson it isn’t about that. Sales is about helping the customer find something they need and will help them. It’s not about making as much money as possible. 

What I Thought Sales was About

I was where you are. I thought sales was just trying to get as many people to buy your product as possible. After all, isn’t it about getting your business to make lots of money?  While money is obviously important for sales, what really makes a good sale? The fact that you manipulated someone into buying a product they don’t really need? Or selling to someone that was actually interested in your product?

I’m going to guess that the second option sounds more appealing to you. If you sell to the people that want/need your product they are more likely to be a consistent customer. Why? They will remember you and the great experience you gave them. Customer success even plays a role in this. You are helping the customer by making it about them instead of about you.

Think of sales as a way to help people. You’re selling something that will help your customer achieve a specific goal or make a task easier. We all want to make hard tasks easier. If you think about it that way it’s much easier to wrap your head around. 

How I Can Apply it to My Job

For the longest time, I was wary of sales. I thought I was bad at it so I tried to avoid it. After learning what sales was really about, it changed my view. I can apply it to my job at Barnes and Noble. Sales is a huge part of our business. We try to hand-sell books to customers so we can get sales up. 

Over the summer we had a competition. We had two teams and all of us needed to hand-sell the monthly book picks that month. Every 5 we sold gave our team a point. I didn’t really like to do it because there was a lot of pressure and it made me nervous. I felt like I was forcing a book on a person and that made me feel bad. 

Now that I know what sales is really about I can change the way I sell a book. Instead of feeling nervous and worried that I’m manipulating someone into buying a book, I can tell them why a book is good and why they would love it. It becomes more about helping them find their next great read than just getting them to buy more books. 

How does manipulation make you feel? If someone manipulates you it makes you feel small or insecure. You are less likely to trust that person again because they were using you for their own gain. No one wants to feel like that. Don’t use that to sell someone something! Sales is supposed to be about the customer not about the seller. 

Conclusion

I hope this changed your view of sales. You may not like sales but without it, your business won’t make money. When you think of a salesperson don’t think of someone trying to manipulate you. Think about someone who wants to help you find something that will benefit you and maybe change or improve your life.

The Real Key to Happy Customers

Arrow to Success Sign

First off, what is customer success? How is it different from customer service? I didn’t know the difference before this week. Customer success is anticipating customer problems before they need help. You are optimizing the customer experience. Customer service is solving problems as they happen. 

What Do I Need to be a Customer Success Rep?

There are plenty of skills that make someone a great customer success representative (CSR). To be a CSR, it is important to have empathy. If you can relate to someone, it will improve their experience. This goes hand in hand with personability. Customers remember whether you went out of your way to improve their experience.

Problem solving is important for customer success. You need to be fast on your feet and solve problems quickly. You also need to let hurtful comments roll off your back. If you focus on the problem and customer rather than your hurt feelings, it will be easier to solve the issue. The customer is more likely to leave satisfied. 

Customer success is a great starting point because it can combine sales, marketing, and operations. If you’re interested in one of those, starting with customer success gets you a lot of experience. 

My Experience

I work in a retail job at Barnes and Noble. My main job as a bookseller is to give great customer service. This includes dealing with angry customers. I still need to learn a few of the skills I mentioned already. This is especially true for not taking criticism personally. This can be hard because I pick up on emotions quickly and they affect me. Customers unfortunately sometimes leave angry. I try to relate to them and fix the problem, but sometimes it doesn’t work.  

The point is to do your best, and make sure that you learn something. In my 10 months at Barnes and Noble, I have gotten better in these situations. 

One time a woman came into the store. She was looking for a specific book but she wasn’t wearing a mask. At that time we were still requiring masks at all Barnes and Noble stores. I wasn’t allowed to help her because she wasn’t wearing a mask. I politely asked her if she could wear her mask and I could help her find what she needed. She kind of argued with me and I told her I was very sorry but it was our store policy and I was just doing what I had been told. She eventually put on her mask and I helped her find the book. 

We went back to the registers and she complained to me that it was getting ridiculous how everyone had to keep wearing masks. I listened to her and apologized for the inconvenience. She left the store satisfied. This was definitely one of my better encounters because I was able to help turn her experience around and it didn’t turn into a scene.

Conclusion

There are a lot of skills that will make you a good CSR, but you don’t have to know how to do them right away. There’s time to learn. No one expects you to know the skills immediately. Definitely look into customer success if you have any of the skills we talked about or you feel like it really resonates with you. I hope this has been beneficial and you’re ready to tackle a customer success role!