Abolish Sales and Marketing, Embrace the Buyer's Journey
Marketing and sales teams are the lifeblood of organizations, but they're frequently at odds with each other. The CEO either plays referee or tries to determine which function is more broken. The result is an all too familiar one: replace sales and marketing leadership. Unfortunately, that's often the wrong course of action to take.
I’d like to share a story about a company, let’s call it ABC. With about 50 employees, ABC develops construction tools to manage large capital projects like building hospitals and libraries. ABC's customers love the savings they get from using its products, and ABC feels it's doing the right stuff. It markets via a website, blog, webinars, email campaigns and press releases — its sales people do a lot of sales calls, too.
Even though ABC's sales team is making over 40 calls a day, the reps aren't getting to talk "live" to many people. Email and webinar campaigns are hit or miss. The prospects they do get into the pipeline often disengage during the sales cycle. Most CEOs consider this a classic case of marketing and sales failing. It's an instinctive reaction to make a change.
What has ABC’s CEO scratching his head? It's that disengaged prospects often come back six months to 12 months later ready to buy. They're armed with a specific set of questions, performance metrics and a price they’re willing to pay.
ABC’s experience is becoming the new normal. It illustrates how the way we conduct business is changing. Four statistics add some context around this social transformation that B-to-B companies are experiencing:
- Ninety-nine percent of buyers’ time is spent researching their intended purchase, whereas 1 percent of their time is actually spent making the purchase.
- Seventy-five percent of the process that B-to-B buyers go through to make a purchase is completed before they even consider talking to a salesperson.
- Less than 50 percent of B-to-B sales teams achieve quota because effectively engaging with qualified prospects is a major challenge.
- Only 3 percent of sales interactions are considered worthwhile by prospects.
If you want to grow, you have no choice but to redefine how you go to market. To help guide your transformation, here are six laws on how to market and sell in this social age:
1. Discover the invisible. With over 75 percent of the B-to-B buying cycle invisible to vendors, most companies mistakenly assume that the first contact is the beginning of the buying cycle. It's not.