Your sales and marketing activities should impact your customers as well as your market.
How can this be planned and executed? Here are 7 proven tips to consider:
More than ever, B2B salespeople need to understand the daily life of their contacts. One way to accomplish this is to create Buyer Personas: what are their challenges, what are their responsibilities, what (if anything) are they looking for, what is their role in the buying cycle, and is there something happening in their industry that affects them? Salespeople who prepare in such a way and then apply this to different key players in the buying cycle can significantly increase impact on customers.
Think about the flexibility that video meetings offer and how often other client stakeholders join meetings without prior notice. This kind of preparation allows salespeople to cope with these unexpected circumstances and create direct impact.
You can provide your salespeople with as much training as they can ingest, but in the end people buy from people, both in real life and in video meetings. Therefore, you should refrain from any artificial techniques during any sales conversations, as this will likely have negative effects on customers. Customers are often aware of traditional sales “tricks” and are rarely fooled by them anymore.
Your primary intention should be to help your customer. Don’t think of targets to be achieved, or products to be sold, but rather step into your customer’s shoes, and assist & facilitate the buying process. Your mindset and corporate culture play key roles here.
Creating solid marketing materials used to be sufficient, but not anymore. Due to increased complexity in invaluable yet varied customer knowledge, salespeople often need customized and visual support to facilitate sales conversations. Marketing needs to ensure that salespeople have sufficient information and means at their disposal to assist customers, approaching those customers in the correct manner and to start interesting, buyer results-focused conversations.
Detailed buyer personas, briefings on the segment in which customers are active, flash cards, demo scripts, ROI calculators, and impact visualization tools, when used in conversations that add value, enable salespeople to better facilitate and influence, rather than just present. These types of tools enable the salesforce to improve results in a systemic manner. Information learned during customer interactions will be captured, allowing marketing departments to continuously improve documents and tools based on their impact.
Engaging in conversations that build confidence in the client is key to success in the digital era. Focus your message on the positive impact the customer should experience by working with you. Avoid the pitfall of making comparisons to competitors, and/or discussing the advantages of your products versus competitive products. Usually, the customer wants to do a feature-to-feature comparison, often because the customer is trying to justify a decision that they have already made in their mind (to buy from your competition). Rather, proactively discuss options and alternative scenarios. By doing this, you can co-create the solution. In situations where the salesperson has contact in an early phase of the buying cycle, often this can result in a customer buying from you without contacting competitors.
Many companies are overwhelmed by the amount of marketing materials they need to create in order to address different market segments, while at the same time adapting to different stages in the buying cycle (the buyer’s journey). The company should create an atmosphere in which everyone who possibly can makes a contribution to the development of content tools. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce the required amount of content.
Within this scope, it is important to take into account the maturity of your product in the market. In instances of very mature and well-known products or services, it’s usually sufficient to develop tools that target the end of the buying cycle, as the customer will not have contacted salespeople early in the process anyway. In addition, you can engage a third party here to provide relevant content – content that is relevant to your target audience and links to your business, while not coming directly from your business. A simple example to illustrate the above: a coffee machine provider can also communicate or use a third party to communicate about content which is not linked to coffee machines, such as coffee (beans, farmers) and how to make delicious coffee.
Most marketing departments are somewhat dissatisfied with the sales department’s follow-up on leads that marketing provides. At the same time, most sales departments are underwhelmed by the quality of leads provided to them by marketing. In order to avoid this scenario,is often beneficial to establish a lead qualification process that is used and understood by all. Marketing needs to apply efficient lead engagement enhancement techniques to ensure that all leads (potential clients) receive enough relevant information so that they are ready when they are approached by the sales department.
Having a solid lead qualification process is one of the best ways to both feed sales while keeping sales costs under control. Automatically sending relevant content to customers from the salesperson’s email address is a good example of reinforcing the bond with the salesperson without the salesperson’s involvement.
If a company wants its salespeople to willingly use CRM on a daily basis, it should:
- Limit the number of fields as much as possible. Try to use flags and pre-defined values, which enable structured reporting for both sales and management.
- Use workflows that enable salespeople to capture reality, rather than impose the use of fixed rules. If fixed rules are imposed, the likely result will be a CRM that is only used as a reporting tool (rather than a Customer Relationship Management tool), capturing wrong or incomplete data because salespeople have found workarounds for the imposed processes.
- Use a sales process that reflects the stages a customer goes through in their buying process, making it easier for the salesperson to use the system in function of his customer.