The job of marketing and sales is to be a decision enabler for the customer, and teaching is the method.

Marketing and selling have changed dramatically for businesses. Gone are the days when the salesperson was the primary source of information that customers relied on for information about a product or service.

Customers might talk to several salespeople to get a better perspective, but, essentially they were stuck with a sales-biased resource. This model has been upended by the fact that every customer now has access to the biggest, fastest, and most readily available information repository ever invented – the internet.

This good news for customers, may not seem so good for you. But it can be if you tweak your marketing aim.

Marketing is what happens before the sale (Ideally it happens after the sale too, but that’s for another post). It’s typically defined as the process of getting people interested in the goods and services offered. Teaching prospects what’s in their best interest is the best way to get them interested.

The ability to inform and enable decisions early in the buying process is critical.

Too many decisions!

Think about the last laptop you purchased and all the questions you had to answer before you felt ready to buy. Unless you’d already been sold on a product and seller – a “repeat sale” – you had a huge number of choices related to the product itself.

Which brand?
Which model?
New or refurbished?
Consider a tablet instead?
Do I want a bigger or smaller unit?

In addition to the product options, you also had a number of product-related questions to answer.

How to back up and transfer data to the new one?
What to do with the old laptop?
Is it time to move to the cloud?

You get the idea. The point here is that as a buyer, you were immediately thrust into the role of learner. An even bigger point, as a marketer who believes your product is the right choice, you must see yourself as a decision enabler by teaching them how to make all the little decisions that lead to the big decision; you!

Marketing is about teaching prospects how to decide

In a 2012 Harvard Business Review article, the authors refer to “decision simplicity index” as “a gauge of how easy it is for consumers to gather and understand (or navigate) information about a brand, how much they can trust the information they find, and how readily they can weigh their options.”

With all the decisions your prospect faces, it’s vital that you simplify the decision process.

The word “trust” also appears in the definition above, and in the past, we’ve shared a framework for creating trustworthy content. But here we’d like to introduce our own for determining how well you teach and inform your client.

Adopt A Decision Enabler Index

Use these three questions to determine how much of your platform messaging is related to teaching your clients and helping them along the decision path.

  1. Does your web copy answer similar questions about your product to those posed in the laptop example above?
  2. When you put together a proposal for a client, are you making a deliberate effort to educate them about your product or service, as it relates to the primary problem you will solve?
  3. Do you have an ongoing, consistent campaign for teaching your prospects and customers about your product or service, using video, social media, articles, or courses?

Are you ready to teach?

If you don’t already see yourself as a decision enabler, simply adjusting your approach could be a catalyst for you and your organization. There’s an important side benefit to add here: it’s been said that the best way to learn is to teach.

Remember, if you’re not learning, you’re not growing.