It won’t be a complete lie if your salesperson complains about the key decision-makers having a change of heart once in a while. 83% of senior executives accelerate or put the purchase decision on hold while prioritizing what the business needs at the moment. (DemandGen Report)
However, this should not become an excuse to not do better at sales. The way transactions were made years back is way different from it’s done now. Today the sales are more inbound than outbound. These days the salesperson not only needs to be a good storyteller but also a subject matter expert to do better at sales.
Marketing and sales have aligned with unison in focus to drive higher sales while telling a compelling story that intrigues. Marketing is no more a sales enablement system or a cost system. They have evolved and work for hand in hand with sales to generate leads. In other words, part of the revenue generation system.
Thanks to the introduction and dramatic evolution of AI and social media in the past two decades, the customer information at hand of sales and marketing departments is immense. The wisdom derived from the customer information is nothing less than finding the location of the hidden treasure of King Solomon.
This hidden treasure, in other words, is Intent data. Intent data or the digital signature information data includes data like event registrations, page visits, form-fills, time on page, content downloads, and the number of visitors from an account. The information that marketing automation systems gather for an organization can also be one level of intent data.
Intent data is a goldmine. It lets marketing and sales to have some idea whether the potential buyer can transform into a buyer. Intent data can give a good insight into will the fish take the bait.
It is worth noting that 42% surveyed in the report mentioned above said that they spoke to and engaged with reps from the vendor in the first month, compared to 33% in 2018. The things that played a significant role in taking the final decision are:
- Reviews (63%)
- Vendor knowledge of the industry (65%)
- The sales team’s ability to demonstrate an understanding of the buyer’s company (56%).
If we consider facts mentioned above right, and genuinely indicative of more massive transformations taking in the industry, then I wouldn’t be wrong if I say this could have significant ramifications the way the B2B demand marketers manage leads.
Now, I’m not about to advocate that we should stop the way we are nurturing leads and serve the leads to sales at the first available opportunity.
However, now is the time when companies can take decisive steps to ensure – if buyers are indeed ready to engage earlier in the process – that they have the opportunity to do so. Not only the departments need to adjust to these new trends, but also the sales reps or BDs need to realign the way they used to make sales. For example:
- Build buyer journey map: Be the customer. Get out and get as close as possible you can to experience by observing the customer behavior. Gain a solid understanding of the customer journey and map it.
What is the customer journey map? It tells the story of the client’s experience: from initial contact, through the engagement process and into building a long-term relationship.Become the customer and answer the following questions:
- How will this product or service help my company?
- Is this worth the hassle of trying to get my team on board to solve this problem? Why so?
- Will their solution work? Can they prove it?
- Is there another company out there that is better?
- Is the company credible?
- Can we afford it?
Answer the above questions of prospect and remind them of the benefits of working with you. Create value with bite-sized and digestible chunks of information.
- Lead Scoring: Do you have a lead scoring system in place? Does it identify prospects exhibiting signs of buyer intent? Are you capture digital footprints such as visits to high-value pages like a case study page, whitepaper downloads, demo sign-ups, feature page footfalls, and other metrics of measurements? Are you integrating with a third-party intent data vendor?A lead scoring program highly tuned to a particular persona will ensure that motivated buyers receive the deserved attention and don’t fall through the proverbial cracks.
- Sales Alerts: How well does your current lead management process can alert representatives about a high-intent behavior? Salespersons, being alert to every sign of intent of a prospect (say, an email click), quickly becomes worthless and duly ignored.Re-evaluate current system to ensure that there’s a hierarchy of alerts – from emails to assigned tasks – that properly align with different stages of prospects and their behavior.
- Gated & Secondary Offers:Customer experience is critical to retaining customers. Therefore, reducing friction in the demand generation process through ungated offers is a trend in our business.However, gating offerings in a nurture stream where you already know who the prospect is – provides an invaluable opportunity to drive additional engagement by serving up what I call “secondary offers.”
Secondary offers are calls-to-action – usually placed on a thank you page or in a fulfillment email – related to the action the prospect just took – like; thank you for downloading a whitepaper, a recorded Webinar you might like.
According to recent research, the decision-makers are hastening the process of engaging. The late-stage offerings – ROI calculators, demos, product data sheets, case studies – should be introduced early in the process for those prospects showing the intent to take the next step.
- Conversational Marketing: Being on the top of mind of the prospects is one of the critical challenges both marketers and sales face. Chatbots have a massive potential for integrating into the demand generation process.Usages of chatbots in conversational marketing have increased the rate of sales engagement with Web visitors and other prospects. If the current behavioral trend holds, there’s an even stronger case for including chatbots on action pages, to identify more highly motivated opportunities, and connect them to a sales representative immediately.
- Spend more time prospecting: You wish to accelerate success, spend time in meetings with prospects. More time with opportunities means more selling. Prospecting generates sales meetings. The more you prospect, the faster you succeed.
- Focus on progression: Invest in creative and content for lead progression as much you do for lead capture. Help the lead progress from initial interest towards purchase intent.You should keep in mind:
- Tactics and frequency of touchpoints should change based on the solution you sell and buy cycle.
- Create different lead nurturing tack on multiple ICPs(Ideal Customer Personas)
- Traverse the path with your customer: The customer journey can be perilous and long to move from the first contact to purchase intent. Sales smoothly sail and make the journey with marketing acting as a rudder, guiding through the treacherous waters.
Slow down and walk at the pace of the customer even if it means taking a long meandering path. Push the customer limits and hurrying the journey can make them feel uneasy and won’t likely continue the journey to purchase.
69% of the salesperson who turns into advisors is most likely to get away with deals. Deals close faster if the sales team’s ability to demonstrate an understanding of the buyer’s company.
Educating and informing the prospect can turn you into a valuable and trusted advisor. You are perceived as a subject matter expert. Provide insights and solutions that are relevant to them. As a trusted source, they will turn to you in times of need.
- Let your client educate you: Every time you meet or talk with a prospect or client is an opportunity of great learning. Your clients can and will educate you. For faster results, ask questions. Ask about what matters to your clients. Ask them to have a better understanding of why it’s important to them. Ask them to share with you why certain things are done the way they do it now, and not the other way. Get an education by asking.
- Become the subject matter expert: It is essential to know yourself (your product, your services, your solution, and your closest competitors). However, you should have an in-depth understanding of the intersection between your business and your prospect’s business. Become the person who transforms clients’ problems into needs and provides solutions. Become the subject matter expert in the concerned field.
- Continue the journey: Repeat sales potential prospects form 40% – 70% of sales, and they form part of the most ignored lot. Without having a lead nurturing system in place and leads are just passed on to sales reps, there is a high chance of leaving 80% prospects for competitors to grab.
- Imitate the best: – Fastest way to growth is to imitate and then innovate. Imitate and take whatever possible from behavior, beliefs, way they talk, and other behavioral patterns. Apply them and deconstruct them and take away whatever works. Understanding the way a specific problem was solved is faster than applying a new concept and solving it.
These, 12 activities can boost sales. Though most salesperson you encounter are no doing many of these things even though they can benefit from doing so. The rate at which you absorb, implement, and make these skills your own will decide your rate of growth.
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