Bridging the Gap Between Marketing and Sales – Part 2: How Much Information is Enough?

Tanya CandiaTips of the Trade

The first post in this series tackled the topic of sales enablement. In this second installment, we look at ways marketing can accelerate the buying process by helping the buyer form a positive first impression.

How many times do you go to the home page of a technology company’s website and scratch your head, wondering exactly what the company offers? There’s so much emphasis on how the technology works, it’s hard to figure out exactly what it does – or how it could benefit you. Sprinkle in a lot of buzzwords and jargon, and it’s easy to understand why visitors go somewhere else. While it’s tempting to include as much information as possible, studies show that when people are presented with large amounts of data, it actually reduces the amount of information they use.

The dilemma? You are trying to speak to multiple audiences – technical, business, C-level, perhaps from a variety of markets – and you can’t afford to alienate or ignore any of them. However, meeting the information needs of multiple audiences often results in creating an abundance of content, much of which is simply not relevant to most of the viewers. In an ideal world you would produce clear, usable and complete information that is accessible to all audiences.

We have some tips on how to avoid an information dump that just leads to cognitive overload. Follow these simple steps:

  • Rule of threes: Determine the three most important, high-level messages you want to convey to all audiences collectively.
  • Focus on the benefits: Tell what the visitor can expect, not how your solution works. A side benefit: this approach makes it easier to communicate with multiple audiences, once you have determined the high-level messages.
  • Be concise: Albert Einstein said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” Today we would advise you to take a tip from Twitter and keep important points down to 140 characters. (OK, it’s 280 now, but strive for 140 anyway.)
  • Strip out the buzzwords: Question each bit of jargon, buzzword and acronym. Don’t assume your collective audience has in-depth understanding; use simple terms that focus on the benefits.
  • Think creatively: Try to find analogies, similes, metaphors, concrete examples – like Steve Jobs who once explained a computer as “It’s the equivalent of a bicycle for our minds.”
  • The “so-what” test: When cutting down on web copy, ask yourself what the reader will do with this information. Will it help the visitor make a decision, such as to read on? Take out everything that will not help the visitor figure out, in a few seconds, what you do and why it matters.
  • Understand your audience – no, really! In today’s world, someone visiting your website already has multiple tabs open, is listening to music, texting friends and reading email. Keep that in mind as you shorten your copy, make it more compelling and concise.

These ideas can bring your website to a higher level and bring a succinct, compelling message to your target audiences.

About the Author

Tanya Candia is the author of several engineering and marketing books, including the five-book series “Starting Your Startup” published by IEEE. She has held senior executive positions in technology companies, and works with organizations around to world to develop and implement winning strategies.

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