There’s a great quote from Sue Monk Kidd’s New York Times bestselling novel, The Secret Life of Bees: “If you need something from somebody always give that person a way to hand it to you.” It’s pretty good advice for just about every aspect of life, including selling in the digital age.
If you’re in sales, you will no doubt have noticed that customers today are more empowered than ever (Tweet this). According to the CEB, the world’s leading member-based advisory company, your business-to-business prospects have completed 57 per cent of their due diligence work before they even engage with one of your sales people.
In contrast, most sales organisations on the other hand, are not very well empowered. It’s a radical change from the pre-Internet days when vendors held all the information (and power). Today, we’ve moved from customers having information scarcity to information overload (Tweet this). Buyers can find just about anything they need to know within a few clicks. If you’re going to succeed in sales today, you need to level the playing field of knowledge and find a way of gaining unprecedented insights about what your prospects want. Or as Sue Monk Kidd would say, give them a way to hand their business to you.
The good news is there are huge clues in the form of digital footprints that customers leave behind. When collected and analysed, these data points can enable sales and marketing teams to pinpoint where prospects are in their customer journey, and when and how to step in and engage them through different touchpoints delivered through the right channel at the right time.
This isn’t just a ‘nice to have’ functionality. Prospects today expect to be ‘known’ if they’ve been on your website, have downloaded some white papers or attended a webcast. Meeting customers’ rising expectations dictates a minimum of three core requirements from sales organisations (Tweet this).
- First, sales and marketing must be aligned. That means collaborating on consistent ways to engage with customers across selected channels.
- Second, create analytics-driven processes that inform sales teams about what matters most at particular points in time to prospects, and offer advice for next-best actions.
- And third, develop expertise about your customers’
business challenges. In other words, tell them how it’s going to solve their business pain points, the impact it will have on their profits, revenue goals, cost reduction efforts and other critical objectives.
There are now powerful new tools and technology platforms to help you achieve this. By enabling big data analytics, mobile delivery of insights and omnichannel consistency you can align with buyer expectations and engage prospects more effectively, regardless of where they are on their customer journey. The key is being able to collect and analyse data on customer behaviours and respond quickly.
“If you need something from somebody always give that person a way to hand it to you.”
Of course, technology alone is not the answer, but it will level the playing field and empower your sales people to aggregate all of the information and insights so they can connect the dots.
Take a look at the complimentary report below from Harvard Business Review for more on this topic.