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7Oct2015

The trouble with Blitz Days and how to increase their effectiveness

“Blitz” [blɪts]noun.
1. Any swift, vigorous attack, barrage, or defeat.
2. A sudden concerted effort to deal with something.

Businesses that use Blitz Days as a sales and marketing strategy probably want them to be seen as the second of the two definitions above: “a sudden, concerted effort to deal with something.”

That “something” could be a challenge or an opportunity but, either way, the desire is to achieve a positive outcome and do it quickly. This might include focusing all sales staff on one product for one day or getting all staff members on the phones, talking to customers no matter what their experience or job function.

Whichever way you cut it, the common theme is a short period of heightened activity (usually client-facing) focused on getting the results the business needs.

The problem we have, though, is that somebody vitally important is usually forgotten along the way: the customer.

Even with the best intentions, it’s probable that corners are being cut to enable such a large-scale sales effort within a short timeframe.

For example, how much planning has been done on an individual customer basis? Are the conversations highly specific to that customer’s needs or somewhat generic? Who is the conversation actually about; us or them?

Let’s consider it from the customer’s perspective.

A salesperson who is somewhat (but not wholly) familiar with the product that is being “blitzed” calls them up. The lack of familiarity on the part of the seller means they’re focused on trying to remember all those features and benefits that “Mr Average Customer” needs to hear. But because there’s no such thing as an average customer, only some of what the customer hears is relevant to them.

Additionally, the customer has no idea why they need to do anything differently. So why are they being offered a solution to a problem they don’t think they have?

On top of all of that, the call sounds like it’s one of about a hundred the salesperson will make today. The words feel somewhat scripted, the tone lacking in authority or belief.

Our customer feels like just another name on a spreadsheet.

All in all, they haven’t learnt much, they’re unlikely to buy and they’ll never get that time back. The “Blitz” they’ve experienced is much closer to the first definition at the start of this post: “any swift, vigorous attack, barrage, or defeat.”

That example might seem extreme but any short-term sales effort that is focused on selling what you have and not what the customer needs is probably going to feel something like the above.

That being said, the principle of committing to a large scale, coordinated sales and marketing effort over a short timeframe is fine. It’s the objective, planning and execution that often lets us down.

Next time, have a think about the following ways to improve the effectiveness of Blitz Days and make them more customer-centric:

– Consider the objective: make sure that you’re doing it for the right reasons and that the desired outcomes are actually achievable. Read this article fromThe Sales Blogfor a few home-truths on when a Blitz Day is the right option and when it’s not.

– Teach them something new and valuable: if you’re going to speak to a lot of customers in a short space of time, make sure it’s worth their while. One way to add value to your calls is to share something genuinely insightful with them. Ideally, this insight will help lead your customers towards you specifically, rather than another supplier who can offer something similar. Consider readingThe Challenger Customer,the latest book from CEB, for ideas on how to develop powerful insights.

– Plan properly: the more you plan the less generic and more customer-centric you will be. If you don’t have time to plan individual calls then the easiest way to do this is to work out customer profiles or personas related to their job role. What does their average day look like? What are their concerns and pressures? What are the results they care about? Why would they choose one supplier over another? Different personas have different knowledge levels, needs and challenges. Knowing this and setting a realistic objective for the call is key.

What are your thoughts on how to make “Blitz Days” more effective? What quick and easy sales and marketing strategies do you employ to good effect? Please share and comment so we can all learn what’s working (and what isn’t).