It was difficult to sell software to a group of sheet metal manufacturers. That was because they don't think of themselves as manufacturers. They think of themselves as being in the sheet metal business. Changing the approach to fit their self-image, improved the ability to sell to these prospects. Someone made that observation at the Sage Summit user conference earlier this month. I don’t remember who discussed this in terms of how this person's company was forced to adopt to the prospects' thinking, but it goes to the heart of the issue of how to reach a market. In a way, it would be the same as trying to market to journalists as writers. Technically, we are writers. It's not the first way we think of ourselves. The tools we use are similar. But how we think is different. This is the problem of confusing categories with reality. Categories are a way of ordering things. But they organize things from a particular point of view, and obviously everybody doesn't have the same point of view. In the world of business, many labels, such as manufacturing companies or SMBs, are categories that vendors use to make it easier to organize records for selling goods and services. It's often said marketing technology doesn’t work—prospects want to solve problem and don't care about the bits and bytes. And while might agree they are small businesses, letters like SMB and SME aren't really about them, but about the people who apply the terms to them. It's not the best approach. So what's the secret? There's no great secret here. The lesson is that the best way to reach a market is to understand the needs of prospects and treat them as if they are important and let them know that you are worried about their needs first, not about your own pocketbook.     .                      

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