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Author's profile photo Justin Borders

Let’s Talk about the Taboo: Community & the Sales Cycle

Let’s talk about the taboo. The sales cycle. Over the years, the sales cycle has gone through some drastic changes. Gone are the days where going door to door or picking up the phone once or twice were enough to get the job done. Some flowers and a nice bottle of wine probably won’t cut it either. The people want trust, Authenticity. I think that leads us to the real questions. How can we build trust and authenticity in today’s low touch cloud environment? How can we reach new customers and build relationships in a way that isn’t “salesy” or overbearing?

Community. It might sound confusing at first. How do communities equal more sales and revenue? Sales cycles can be long, especially as the price (and value) of the product or service in question go up. Sales require stickiness. Think of the community as the glue. The in-between of the first conversation and the signature on the dotted line. Or think of it as the entry point. If this still doesn’t make sense, let’s look at it in a more relatable way. Where’s the first place you look before you buy something on Amazon? The Customer reviews. You watch a YouTube video about the product. You look within the community. This can go one of two ways. Either you find good reviews from product experts, people just like you, or info from the company that makes the product. Or you don’t. In which case you just buy someone else’s product. Community builds the trust necessary to make that purchase.

You’re probably saying, “Okay, that makes sense for Amazon, but what about the B2B market and expensive SaaS deals?”. I’ll admit it. It’s slightly different… but is it really? Customers want the same thing. It doesn’t matter if its B2B or B2C. It doesn’t matter if it’s in the field or online. Customers want Trust and Authenticity.

This is why companies need to focus on their community. Product experts need to be sharing insight into the products they are working on. Roadmaps, new features, feedback loops. Customers want to see that the product they are buying is actively cared for. Marketers produce millions of content pieces of day, a lot of which gets wasted or ends up in “content prison”. Why not utilize the community to share these things? Product demos, customer success stories, workshops.

Let’s bring this back full circle. How does the community increase sales and revenue? When customers see that people care about the product or service they are buying, it builds trust. They find authenticity through the product experts and solution managers. This content can also be used by account managers as well. You want to stay in the customers mind but you don’t want to be too pushy. Send them a piece of content that might provide value to them. Show them it’s about more than just the deal! The impact the community provides is hard to measure, you don’t see the direct results it provides like you can with other campaigns. Despite that, it’s something you can’t ignore.

I would love to keep this conversation going. What are your thoughts about communities? Do you think they’re as important in the sales cycle as I do?

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