Don’t Sell Green Juice, Sell Juicers

by Michael Bernstein on March 19, 2018

Before we started a consultancy that sells strategic marketing and sales services to B2B software companies, we were both engineers that completely discounted the value of strategic marketing and sales services. We were interested in the technical problems and felt like once we solved those, everything else would fall into place. Gradually, we started to see the error of our ways. Eventually, we started to look beyond our own experiences and realized that almost every B2B software company drastically underinvests in sales and marketing strategy. We saw an opportunity, and that’s how Reify was born.

Because we’re often found foaming at the mouth about the virtues of pursuing strong storytelling-based marketing and value-based selling, we’ve found ourselves in a bit of an interesting situation: some people think we’re selling green juice, when we’re really selling the juicer.

Before I explain the juice metaphor, there’s one more thing I need to point out: Reify is not a typical consultancy in a number of ways. We’re not trying to scale. We’re not hiring. We try hard not to be working constantly and we want every engagement to be as high impact as possible — we don’t like billing for the sake of billing. We optimize for customer LTV. We pride ourselves on repeat engagements.

So, back to the juice. Since part of our pitch is that marketing and sales activities are just something everyone should be doing more of, to some people it feels like we’re personal trainers. Like we want you to take your vitamins. Like we’re that thing that you reach for after you have a hangover from drinking too much the night before. The thing that makes you feel, temporarily, better about your bad decisions. Like a green juice.

It really does make you feel betterIt really does make you feel better

We really don’t want to be green juice, and if you run a consultancy, we feel like you should avoid it as well. Instead of being green juice, the cheaper option, the thing that makes you feel better temporarily, you want to be the juicer. You want to be there for the long haul. You want a real conversation to happen around purchase. People should have to scratch their heads. Make room. Make a spreadsheet. Think about it.

If your takeaway here is that we have something irrationally against green juice, you’ve gotten us all wrong. We love green juice. We think everyone should drink it, every day. We just think that the best way to do that is to have a juicer at home. To have access to fresh ingr…wait, this metaphor is going a bit too far.

If you want to become great at marketing and sales, if you want to get to the point where you can think strategically about revenue as you do about technology, it’s going to take time. Just hearing our advice isn’t going to be enough. You need to put it in action. In growing your business, as in anything that counts, the follow-through is everything.

We’ve found ourselves in the position numerous times to engage with clients in a palliative way, and we’ve never ended up feeling good about it. Whenever we’ve taken the time to get to the bottom of the problems they’re experiencing, it’s always been worth it. Sometimes, it’s not the easy decision, but we think that if you want to build a lasting, sustainable consulting company, passing off the easy shallow sale for the harder deeper one is usually the right way to go.