The Buyers’ Evolution
You mention real-time notifications. How much do you think technology has really transformed the modern buyer? Are buyers different now? Is technology changing things?
Oh, the buyer has changed more in the past 10 years than the past 100. And more in the past five years than the past 50. And marketing’s been evolving. I’ve been part of that. And that’s what’s been so fun about my career. I’ve been part of driving transformation in marketing, from being data-centric, being automation, nurturing further down in the funnel, being analytical, being revenue-minded, bringing technology into the marketing organization to be more sophisticated. And so everything that I’ve – I say I’ve seen this movie before – because the buyer has evolved, marketing’s had to evolve faster and sooner than sales, because they’re earlier in the buyer’s journey. So marketing’s had to adapt much faster.
Now sales is starting to get that the buyer has changed and they have to change. Sales is starting to get their “aha” or “oh shit” moment that the old way of doing things, the “more” strategy, hire more salespeople, to make more calls, and send more emails, is not getting the job done. And so they’re starting to now look at instead of the more, they’re saying how can we do things more efficiently and effectively. And that means process and technology to transform the sales organization. We’re at the beginning stage of the transformation now.
What do you see changing? Is it just using the technology to be more efficient? But there’s also relationship building and understanding the buyer. How much do you think this is going to evolve from that aspect? We’re trying to have a more authentic conversation, which is ultimately what we all want, right?
I think even more than an authentic conversation, we’re trying to deliver value. I used to say people buy from people they know, they like, they trust. It’s not enough. It isn’t enough anymore. No, like and trust doesn’t cut it anymore. There has to be a value exchange. And the sales rep has to lead with value, not lead to value. Oftentimes in the past, the salesperson would not give the value away up front. Because that’s what they were holding on to. But to be able to even initiate, to get the potential buyer’s attention, you have to lead with value. And value means it’s about them, not you. So the old way of leading with you, your company, your customers, your NASCAR logo slide, doesn’t work anymore.
I think the sales professional today has to be smarter, has to have more business acumen, has to have more customer acumen.
How do you think that is impacting the sales and marketing relationship? Because in some sense, you think about the old school way of marketing is the one that gets the lead, and it goes through this linear path, and then we flip it over to the sales rep, and then the sales rep is the one that has the conversation. In some sense, the way I hear you talk, deliver value first, it’s like you almost need someone to reach out first with something that’s applicable, with the value first. How does that then have the handoff between sales and marketing? How can that relationship be different and improved?
I almost don’t think of it as a handoff anymore. Although we want things to be neat and clean and in their nice little bucket, I just don’t think that that’s the way buyers buy. I’m going to make a bold statement – if you look at the role of marketing and the changing role of marketing in facilitating the buyer’s journey, and if you believe any of the stats, let’s just go with the 57 percent of the buying process is done before the buyer engages with sales, if marketing’s facilitating that first 57 percent, and marketing still does a lot to help facilitate the remaining 43 percent through content, through customer testimonials, through helping with objection handling and competitive intel, marketing really is end to end, from the potential customer being unaware that they have a problem, unaware that you exist, unaware that you can solve their problems, all the way to they’re a customer, they’re deliriously happy because you’ve generated massive value, you’ve helped them get a promotion, they won awards, they’ve been able to do amazing stuff leveraging your technology and your partnership, so marketing plays a role in the entire process. Why is it that sales is still getting the fat commission checks? Why?
There’re definitely things we’ve been talking a lot to our customers around leads, about the whole life cycle. We call it from brand, through demand generation, all the way through expand. And marketing does need to play a larger part in the journey and be best friends with their customer success officer, as well as their head of sales, as well as the head of people and the lead for the brand. I think there is a need to rethink in some sense a lot of the metrics to drive, as you say, compensation drives behavior, metrics drives behavior, how do we think things a little bit differently in light of this.
Published at Thu, 02 Mar 2017 11:00:00 +0000