In your sales process, do you find it to be more effective to be a part of your customer buying process earlier or later? There is a significant competitive advantage to helping to shape the process of making a decision and that’s an important reason why earlier is usually better.

Marketers are familiar with the 4 P’s (product, price, placement, promotion). Google thinks about the 5 P’s that impact the Zero Moment of Truth. Check out the last post where I walked through the concept of ZMOT as presented by Barb Gilles from Google. It’s essentially the period of time spent researching a product or service prior to the actual purchase.

Why is it so important to Google? Google sells information. The better the information served up by organic search results or ads, the more likely people are to continue to search. The more people search, the easier it is to sell search-related ad space and encourage companies to spend more of their marketing budget online.

Why is it so important to you? You are in the business of selling products and services and that job is more difficult if the people that could use your products don’t know about them.

The Five P’s

  • Pulse – Understanding what is happening in the marketplace, with your target market, your products, your competitors. Mining the mountain of information to find the gems that will impact your business and decisions. Whether Google, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, know where your customers are and listen in.
  • Pace – The key question here is, “Are you moving fast enough?” to keep up with your customers? The term “accelerated decision-making” resonated with me. We see many customers not understanding how taking a “few days” to follow up on a lead rather than immediately impacts sales. They have few tracking mechanisms in place and, even if they did, I don’t know if they really believe that speed and responsiveness makes a difference.Customers have high expectations these days from their service providers or those wanting to earn their business. They also are pressured in their jobs to get things done quicker and increase their productivity. Make their lives easier by giving them the information they need immediately means a better chance at winning their business.The other factor is that this mountain of information gives you the opportunity to align your product offering with what the market wants. Listening, iterating, testing help to satsify the needs of the marketplace and help to increase your sales productivity.
  • Precision – Your information needs to be relevant and useful. This is the contextual relevance that you hear about. It’s one reason why the growth of mobile devices is so important. When you are on the move, search is different (1-3 searches vs. 5-7 word desktop searches). Information needs are likely different also.Location-based marketing campaigns and ensuring your information is consumable on mobile devices is critical. 49% of C Level Execs are conducting searches on mobile devices. If you are selling to business customers, you need to be where your buyers are.
  • Participation-Social Media. Treat consumers like friends. There are excellent examples of B2B companies not only participating but creating social networks. was cited as a great example of a B2B business working social media.Smaller to medium-sized businesses have a lot on their plates and it’s certainly harder to justify the time and effort it takes to create an active content stream. Especially when even the basic tasks of running the business are a struggle to get done.One of the benefits that we see from just a minimum stream of good content is the placement on Google Search. Google includes the content from many of these sites in their search results. If you are spending a lot of money on SEO and Adwords in your marketing campaigns, try generating natural content from your team and let it ride on the Google search engine.
  • Performance-Measure the real value. There are a ton of free and inexpensive tools that track campaigns and activity. Google analytics is one of those tools and there are tools you can pay for. How can you measure business productivity without tracking key trends?Flurry is a service like Google Analytics that tracks usage of your mobile apps, if that is one of your marketing vehicles. Also, tracking your competitors and trends in the marketplace. Who has responsibility in your organization for this activity. If it everyone, then it’s no one.