When great talent combines with the right agency DNA and the right client, the result is close collaboration and more integration. As an agency, we are tasked with developing demand generation and lead nurturing strategies to support the sales process for enterprise clients. One of the first steps we take is to document the current state of existing digital channel platforms, sales systems and business processes. What we typically find is resistance to moving towards creating transparency into the sales lifecycle. It stems from a fundamental shift in mindset about how traditional salespeople can leverage marketing intelligence to fill the sales funnel.
Sales professionals need to understand how different the customer life cycle is today because buyers have unlimited access to competitive intelligence and industry analysis. Customers take a very non-linear approach to getting what they want out of their brand relationships, so companies must put the customer at the heart of everything they do.
The New Role for Sales
So the role of salespeople has shifted away from pushing a sale and towards supporting the buyer through their decisioning path to purchase. What do they need to understand and learn? What information will give them a competitive advantage? Without that shift in understanding, sales systems (CRM) can’t be configured to support the digital process that supports buyer education. This approach not only wins customers faster, but keeps them longer. They see you as a valuable source of trusted insight – people buy from people they trust!
The New Buyer Sales Solution
In today’s digital marketplace, customers learn how to be more efficient and successful, and sales gains invaluable trust from and insight into their clients. How’s this done? Enterprises move from a siloed approach, towards integrating customer data sources. Focusing on metrics like retention and customer satisfaction allow enterprises to tie the selling effort to the buyer’s process. By taking a multidimensional view of the customer, internal and external data can be fed into a marketing automation system to mirror the customers decision journey.
A Marketing Supported Sales Approach = Marketing provides branded content that makes salespeople into thought leaders which is distributed at the top (case studies, testimonials) and bottom (ebooks, blog posts, etc.) of the sales funnel.
The Fundamental Mind Shift
Buying patterns are not linear anymore. The following characteristics, if adopted by salespeople, will enable them to sell more effectively and faster.
- Educator: by creating sharable, snackable and searchable content streams teach the buyer something they don’t know that makes them more effective internally
- Thought Leader: avoid pushing a product and challenge conventions – get your client to ‘think differently’
- Trusted Partner: be where your buyer needs you to be – the right information, at the right time, and in their channel of choice
- Customer Advocate: unselfishly celebrate your customer wins and share these stories early in the sales process, along with renewal by segment of current clients
With 57% of the purchasing decisions completed online before speaking with sales, the time is now to shift the mindset away from antiquated methods of selling and serve the increasingly powerful customer.
Additions & Feedback
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