Q&A with Lauren Jaeger
Global Senior Director, Brand and Demand Solutions
Frost & Sullivan
By Patricia Jacoby
Publications Editor, Events
Frost & Sullivan
Anyone who has ever had the pleasure to meet Lauren Jaeger knows that she is practically the personification of a charismatic, likeable sales person. But here we go deeper to discuss the experiences, strategies and insights that have helped her to stay successful in an ever-evolving B2B marketplace.
Digital transformation is changing the game in many industries, including sales. How is it changing your approach to “integrated marketing solutions?” (Or is it not changing your approach?)
This is a great question – and I genuinely believe that “digital transformation” is constantly adjusting, and in many ways, changing approaches. We’ve been integrating for years, my entire career, and talking about the importance of making sure each piece feeds off the other strategically. Now that there is a connection to not only the content, but to the prospect’s persona, based on all of the information we are able to gather via their digital footprint, it’s a game changer, and allows us to speak –digitally as well as personally –far more intelligently than ever.
The fact that we now have an abundance of information and insight provides sellers with “power’ — and we truly have the opportunity to tie all of the pieces together, in a sequence that is automated, unlike the old days of manually doing it.
As marketers (I firmly believe all sales people are marketers), we can see things we’ve never seen before. We’re provided insights and intelligence about our prospects needs and challenges, and those of our clients as well, which has changed the world of sales.
Now a reverse kind of question…what is timeless in sales or your approach to selling?
For me, there are certain things that will never change, so no matter how advanced we become in our ever evolving Digital Transformation – there are elements to sales that will remain constant.
For example, while prospects are buying products and services based on needs that will enable their growth, further their success, and help them overcome immediate challenges, at the end of the day, they are still buying as a result of people. They are banking on the relationships that have been built, and their trust in the seller that they will get the results they desire. With all the information prospects can gather on their own, they still need to be convinced, and have someone reinforce what they have learned. They need to be wowed and gain even more insights, and they need to know they are making a more informed decision with backing from the company and individual they are buying from.
So what to me is timeless? It’s making sure you listen, learn, understand your prospect AND build a relationship.
What do you think the ideal “marketing solution” might consist of today?
Visual Elements! I think it’s imperative that we are engaging prospects and clients through multiple senses. And the visual elements, within all solutions, have proven to create impact, which leads to further engagement.
Of course, you don’t want to be tacky or insanely overwhelming, as there is a fine line between visual impact and too much!
How is selling sponsorships different than selling integrated marketing solutions?
There are certainly different types of sponsorships, which make the sale unique, and I like to make sure that the sponsorship is involved in an overall integrated marketing program – in an ideal scenario.
The cool thing about sponsorships is that you should really think about them as their own integrated marketing program. With sponsorships, you create multiple touch-points for sponsors with the participants throughout the course of the event. Helping sponsors showcase their expertise, their products, their industry knowledge, and their team members in a multitude of ways provides the opportunity to develop relationships – and that is 100% an integrated solution itself..
Additionally, sponsorship is an intangible – you can’t print it out, you can’t watch it, you can’t “touch it”, and you have to make sure the right people are on site to make the most out of it. Looking at the sale of sponsorship from that perspective, it certainly makes it different, as it really comes down to being about the people that will be on site (and there are numerous elements that affect this – cancellations, travel issues, emergencies). It’s up to the sales person to deliver passion, event highlights, benefits, content, ROI, and so much more, while truly engaging the prospect – it’s not an easy sale!
Are you incorporating social media into your solution recommendations? Video?
Oh, 100%. Social selling is the no longer a phrase or term, it’s the standard. Leveraging all areas of social media is key – LinkedIn and Twitter are my go- to’s. I am often not as active with posting as I would like to be, but these are my resources – and the knowledge they offer about companies, individuals, trends, real-time happenings, and more is amazing. For those that are incredibly socially active with LinkedIn and Twitter – they have a killer advantage and I guarantee they are surpassing their targets left and right.
I love video – as you can probably tell, I really feel that connecting with prospects and customers is incredibly important, and being able to send over a personal video on occasion, as opposed to just an email – I think it’s genius!
What is one of the most important lessons you have learned as a sales/marketing solutions professional in the last ten years?
Wow this is a hard question! There have been an incredible amount of lessons learned – some from great experiences, some from less than great experiences. I would have to say that one of the most important lessons that comes to mind is that sometimes you need to take a step back, sometimes your approach and style needs to be adjusted. It’s important to remember that on the other end of the line someone might be having a bad day, having personal issues, just got out of an awful meeting…whatever it may be, we all have other things going on. So, while you might be super focused on getting a deal closed, hitting your numbers for the month/quarter/year, or whatever it may be, you have to make sure you think beyond just yourself.
Be driven, be focused, be a go-getter – but be human, have compassion and understanding as well, and when you need to adjust your style if you are not getting through, do it! Or pass the account off to someone you think will connect with the prospect; do the right thing by them and your company.
Tips for selling to prospects and customers who are more informed and empowered (by Google, data, etc.) than ever?
This is a situation that more and more sales people are finding themselves in, and they have to get used to it. They should be prepared for it on every call, it’s not going to change; prospects and customers are only going to continue to be more and more informed. Now, whether the information they have is correct or not is another story and their interpretation of said information is an additional story, which only complicates the opportunity for you, BUT it is reality.
My best advice or tip – is go back to the basics, while information access and absorption has changed, the fundamentals of sales has not – you DO NOT have to be the smartest person in the room, you DO NOT have to have an answer for everything right away -on the flip side – you HAVE to listen, you HAVE to absorb and you HAVE to ask questions. This will allow you to gather your own information and be able to have an intelligent conversation, which is the start to building an opportunity. Of course you have to be quick on your feet and be informed as well, since you have access to information too (it’s not one sided), but you need to be flexible and based on your prospect or customers persona – adjust your approach accordingly.
My boss loves the saying “Two ears, one mouth” and it’s 100% true… ESPECIALLY now as information and knowledge access are continuing to grow – certainly far surpassing where we were when I first started doing this.
Lauren Jaeger works hand in hand with multiple teams, managing the Frost & Sullivan Brand and Demand Solutions Practice, Manufacturing Leadership Council, Event Sponsorship and SCIP Sponsorship Teams. Lauren manages day to day sales, sales operations and strategy, while also supporting and managing a book of clients. Over the past nine years, with teams of some of the best in the business, she has helped to support hundreds of events, brand and demand marketing programs, council memberships and more.
To learn more about Frost & Sullivan’s Brand and Demand Solutions, please visit: https://ww2.frost.com/brand-and-demand-solutions