More than ever, customers in B2B purchases are increasingly becoming empowered, controlling the information flow, avoiding risks which is leading to a longer sales cycle and involving more stakeholders that need to be mapped as well as their agenda acknowledged.
Furthermore, information asymmetry has shifted from a context where the supplier had all the information to a scenario where customers, even before visiting the vendor website, already know much about, for example, customer reviews, functional scope, competition comparison and, in some cases, even pricing.
Dealing with this environment using the same tools won’t work. The traditional sales rep, solely focused on short term sales, working as a “lonely wolf” can jeopardize long-term sustainability. Longer sales cycle means being resilient, team dependent and taking in consideration different approaches to get customers engaged.
According to available research, sales reps have nowadays less access to customers because digital plays an important role in researching and educating before engaging with the vendor. Just because in-person begins doesn’t mean online ends. Buyers are actively engaged in digital channels even at the very end of their buying processes and even though they very likely are simultaneously talking to sales reps in person.
Moreover, with on average more than 5 stakeholders involved in the purchase process, the intricacy, to navigate through all the politics, identifying and mapping every key decision maker adds different complexity layer.
This is where a new marketing-sales partnership becomes the win-win value proposition. Marketing can support the sales cycle by laying down the foundations to understand customer needs throughout their journey, define personas, scale up lead generation and create content to help potential buyers to navigate through the sales funnel.
Marketing and Sales are bound for all Eternity.
To be effective, marketing must work closely with sales, there isn’t any other way. Tagging along on customers visits, droping on calls and understanding the challenges sales reps must endure on the field. By doing so, marketing is in a better position to add-value and develop meaningful programs aiming at getting customers through the pipeline stages, generating awareness, creating, developing and warming qualified leads, among other initiatives.
Because customer journeys today are not linear, ensuring across channels alignment is key. As customers shift between digital and in-person channels, suppliers must provide them with the information they’re most likely to seek. If organizations are unable to provide this seamless experience, they are inevitably slowing things down, if not stalling them altogether.
Regardless of the touchpoint, buyers expect the same message consistency, and here relies a new alignment opportunity for marketing and sales. There isn’t a marketing or sales customer journey but only one where Moments of Truth are deal breakers in getting buyers closer to the finish line.
These were some of the topics covered in a recent sales panel I was part of at the #FalandoIT conference. The way customers engage is different in a digital world. To succeed, marketing and sales need to change and adapt to this reality.
These are subjects I’m passion about. Feel free to drop me a message to let me know if you share the same understanding, or not, and if there is something I can help you with.