Let’s take a walk back in history ten years ago. At this time, businesses used a lot of the following tactics to generate demand for their business:
- Trade shows
- Print advertising
- Direct mail
- Postal mail
- Rented Lists
- Emails Blasts
Ten years ago, buyers were essentially at the mercy of the sales team because they controlled access to the majority of information. There was tremendous asymmetry going on, and marketing could be totally unaccountable. At this point, we had not seen things like Google Ads and Craigslist completely disrupt publishing. In many cases, it did not matter that marketing was just doing arts and crafts projects and playing with their color chart.
During these times, it was a very seller-centric sales cycle, and because of this, prospects were ready to speak with the sales team extremely early—often 10%-20% into their buyer’s journey. Back then, cold calls were very effective in catching buyers in the first 10%-20% of their buyer's journey.
Today’s Modern Buyer
Fast Forward to today, and oh, what a major difference five-to-ten years make!
Today, we have seen a massive disruption to traditional marketing and sales playbooks because things like search engines, social media, mobile devices, and the cloud have all become mainstream.
People are doing crazy amounts of research on social media and search engines before they are ready to speak with sales. In today’s buying process, it is critical for sales and marketing teams to align together.
Align Sales and Marketing
If sales and marketing are sitting in opposite corners of the building and ridiculing each other, it is not productive; it is not how the leaders in our space are winning ground.
Marketing has much control over sales’ paychecks because sales are no longer catching buyers in the 10%-20% of their sales cycles. These buyers are doing so much on search, social, mobile, and cloud before reaching out to sales teams.
In most cases, 70% or more of the buying process has already been completed before a prospect gets to you. At around 70%, prospects are finally ready to speak with a sales team.
This nearly 50% increase is a massive change and tremendously affects how businesses should approach modern buyers.
Personalize the Experience
We have become very spoiled by being able to get exactly what we want when we want. For example, Amazon, iTunes, Hulu, Netflix, Tivo, and Sirius have all spoiled us and made us incredibly selective about our overall experience. If we do not get exactly what we want, we are no more than three seconds away from hitting the back button and moving on to the next choice.
Become a Trusted Advisor
It is critical for sales professionals to be a lot more consultative. Sales need to get found early, so they can be perceived as trusted advisors and earn a seat at the table. The sales cycle is much more buyer-centric in that buyers hold most of the cards; the sales monopoly on information is gone.
Sales teams, marketing departments, and silos as we know it are going to disappear. Things are going to become much more unified as a single revenue team— a trend we see in progressive organizations. Two or three years from now, just about every SMB is going to be forced to come to terms with the fact that marketing owns 70%-90% of revenue generation because the traditional marketing playbook will be insignificant.
It is not just search, social, mobile, and cloud involved in the transformation, podcasting is going to get huge, and it has already grown by leaps and bounds. Podcasts will really take off once they become more accessible to buyers (available on standard car stereos).
Crazy amounts of live video are being consumed and not just on desktops and laptops but tablets, phones, and even on the go with 3G or 4G LTE.
Personalization is going to become the de facto standard. At this stage, it is critical that salespeople are perceived as thought leaders. No one is going to want to talk with someone that has the word “sales” written on their business card or LinkedIn profile.
You need to become perceived as much more consultative. The order-takers and explainers will be completely gone. True consultants are the ones that will dominate sales.
The Bottom Line
Getting found before that 70% is critical to compete in today’s market. To do this, you must invest the time, effort, and resources to create helpful, original, remarkable content. The goal is to be perceived as an educator, thought leader, or professor; this is the true differentiator in the eyes of your buyer personas.
Is your sales team still living in the past? Or is your sales team aware of the changing buyer’s journey? Let us know your Comments below.
To learn more about how the buyer's journey has changed, enroll now in our free 7-day eCourse: Go-to-Market Strategy 101 for B2B SaaS Startups and Scaleups.
Topics:- B2B Sales Strategy