What to say (or not to say) when selling Drupal

Business Drupal

In order for us to be trusted Drupal teammates, it is of vital importance how our clients approach their clients and involve them in the sales process of selling them Drupal. There are numerous ways how one can take this journey, but the desired outcome is definitely to sign a contract and land a new client. 

I will not write about what the right and wrong approaches are, but rather offer some insights from my career to date. Combining my decade-long experience in sales with some more theoretical findings of different sales techniques and methodologies, it could come in handy when preparing your sales manuals.


When selling a product just isn't enough

B2B sales are getting more and more complex, and the customer is better equipped with information about your services than ever before in modern history. And they quite often know what they need. Or they believe so. When talking to them, and more importantly listening to them, you do find out that, actually, some of them know what they want, but the majority just think that they know what they want.

Nevertheless, it is in the hands and words of a salesperson to get to the bottom of what the client wants. And what they need. Those two can quite often be worlds apart. Many times, I have seen salespersons make a critical mistake by making the first meeting about them and not about the client. The client has already checked you out and knows what you are doing; you don't have to do that again.

From now on it should be about the client, what challenges they have, what they want to achieve with their online presence, what their goals are, and even why they want to achieve that. What I'm about to write next might sound blasphemous. The client wants to have a CMS because they would want to update the content on their website. The answer, not necessarily the wrong one, could be: “Of course, Drupal can do that”.

This can have at least two possible outcomes. The first one is favorable, and the client agrees. The second, and I believe the more probable one, is that it leads to a technology and ultimately price debate. And we all know how that usually ends.


There's something else to it

I have to admit that our clients don't have it easy. But, then again, in the business of selling, no one does. First of all, you have to deal with the competition which might do very similar things as you do, only at a cheaper price. And the client will most likely go for the cheaper option. Second, the client. They would like a new website but don't know where to start.  Or they already have it, but it isn’t providing expected results. 

Is it really just about the web design and the CMS? Loading and updating content? Open-source or SaaS? Is a website just a website? Very unlikely. There is something else behind it all, something bigger and/or more valuable for your clients.

They want to address and solve their marketing, sales, consumer experiences, logistics, membership, PR challenges they face in their everyday business. Websites can and do provide solutions for those and many other challenges. Is it safe to assume that clients actually don't care what platform you use, no matter how great you think it is?



Clients are technology agnostic

Agnostic, yes - but not ignorant. As said before, a B2B buyer gets more and more educated and knows a lot about what they want to achieve with their online presence. If not already decided on a specific platform, anything is a possibility. How many clients do you stumble upon that say: “I want Drupal”?

My guess is, not all of them. As they are becoming more and more educated, they know that whatever technology they decide on, it will work. On a technological level that is, because there is no difference between open-source or proprietary systems if we focus ourselves only on their technological capabilities. 

So how to engage your client to talk non-technology? Imagine the client says: "We need to update the content on our website by ourselves." You could say: "Great, Drupal does that." And that is it. Literally. Some of them could even say, "OK, let's go with that." More likely, very few of them. 


What's missing, then?

The what's, the why's, the when's, the who's ... You want a blog? Why? You need some marketing automation system? Who for? You would like to integrate the marketing automation system with your CRM? When?

Those are just a few questions to demonstrate how to open up the client to talk about what they really want. The current website doesn't serve its purpose which was to generate leads for the marketing team which didn't have the proper marketing automation tool to engage those leads and convert them into prospects so they could be passed to the sales department.

So, the bottom line is, the client wants the website to generate more customers. And those customers are very valuable as they are the ones generating revenue for the company. And herein lies the real business opportunity for your agency. Are you asking those questions? They might come off as a little bit strange, but they serve at least two purposes.

Firstly, you are reassuring your clients that you give a damn about their business by wanting to know all this. Secondly, you get to the bottom of what the client really needs, which means you'll likely be able to sell your services for a higher price. 

How valuable are your services to you? Enough to stop talking about the technology and focus on the client's needs and wishes?

We have worked with over 80 happy clients (happy because they come back) and when talking to them we get as many different insights as we have clients about how they are selling Drupal. Feel free to contact us, and we can talk about some of them and maybe give you some ideas of how things could be done differently.