How to Say ‘No’ Without Getting Fired (part 3)

Part 1Part 2 | Part 3

Marketers struggle to say ‘No’ to requests they know are frivolous. Sometimes it’s just easier to go with the status quo than make waves. But admit it: you (and your team) do a lot of extra stuff that is a waste of time and resources.

Part 1 was about linking everything you do in marketing to the goals the CEO values.

Part 2 discussed the importance of knowing your buyers.

The final installment of “How to Say ‘No’ Without Getting Fired” is an exploration into one more thing effective product marketers need to know: the buyer’s process for making a purchase decision.

Buyers follow a process that leads to a purchase decision

Why should anyone in Marketing be concerned about how buyers buy? Your Sales team takes care of that, right?

Salespeople are expected to know how buyers in an individual deal make a purchase decision. Marketing should know how buyers in a market segment make a purchase decision.

First, there are patterns (steps) in the way buyers in a market segment arrive at a purchase decision. The pattern is logical and predictable. Second, there are different buying roles that get involved in making a purchase decision, and they get involved at different times in the process for different reasons. Third, is the two previous items sets the stage for identifying marketing gaps that can facilitate a purchase decision, and help prioritize marketing projects.

According to the Corporate Executive Board…

“57 percent of the purchase decision is complete before a customer calls a supplier, providing a large opportunity for Marketing to influence the early stages of the purchase process.” –

Where do you go from here?

Three things are needed to confidently say ‘No’ to frivolous marketing requests without getting fired:

  1. Having a clear understanding of business goals and how they relate to what you do
  2. Mastery of the people who influence a purchase decision
  3. Knowledge of the purchase decision process

Saying ‘No’ Without Getting Fired is about knowledge not power. Oh and it makes it much easier to say ‘Yes’ with confidence too.

Part 1Part 2 | Part 3

Jim Semick

Jim Semick

Jim Semick is co-founder of ProductPlan, a leading provider of cloud-based roadmap software for product and marketing teams. For more than 15 years he has helped launch new products now generating hundreds of millions in revenue. He was part of the founding team at AppFolio, a vertical SaaS company. Prior to AppFolio, Jim validated and created version 1.0 product requirements for GoToMyPC and GoToMeeting (acquired by Citrix). Jim is a frequent speaker on product management and the process of discovering successful business models. He contributes at Follow Jim on Twitter at @JimSemick.

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