In their book, Conversations That Win The Complex Sale, authors Erik Peterson and Tim Riesterer discuss the science that tells us sales people don’t have a prospect’s attention when they’re making the critical potions of their sales presentations. There is a higher level of attentiveness at the beginning and at the conclusion of the pitch, but attentiveness drops off significantly in the middle. Higher on the ends, with a slump in the middle forms the image of a hammock…thus the term.
They go on to discuss several techniques that sales people can use to maintain the prospect’s attention throughout the presentation. This focuses on the hammock that occurs in a sales presentation…toward the back end of the opportunity funnel.
But, what about the front end when Marketing is capturing and nurturing leads? I believe there is a “hammock” here as well and we must employ changes in our lead nurturing that will keep the prospect engaged throughout the nurturing process, prevent leads going cold, and have them more qualified than ever for the hand-off to Sales.
How can Marketing avoid the hammock during lead nurturing? Many of the techniques proposed by Erik and Tim can be leveraged in the front-end process as we seek to capture and nurture leads:
- It starts with the content and message, so you still need to spend the time up front making sure you have a uniquely differentiated point-of-view and the right content to support that point-of-view in your lead nurturing program.
- Grabbers. Techniques to break the expected pattern of engagement and wake the prospect’s attention. Erik and Tim discuss several techniques in their book such as “What if you” questions, number plays, customer stories with contrast, and even 3D props. These concepts can be adapted to the front-end prospect engagement.
- Visual stories. Use of “Big Pictures,” infographics and other visual techniques support the narrative and keep the prospect more engaged.
(Image Hammock used under Creative Commons License)