Salespeople, it gets better.
I think it’s safe to say the traditional sales approach is having a bad decade.
In fact, roughly 40% of salespeople people say getting a response from prospects is getting harder and harder. And the sales reps we talk to say this number should be much higher.
While buyers are enjoying more control, salespeople are telling us how frustrating it is to be kept at bay until prospects are ready to engage.
In this new environment, the time and cost to convert a lead is rising:
- Finding the right customer at the right time is getting harder with 50% of sales teams’ time wasted on unproductive prospecting.
- Customers are doing more and more research online, which means they’re not ready for salespeople to contact them until much further along in the buying process.
- 80% of sales require five follow-up calls after the meeting.
In marketing, we feel the shift. Our jobs have changed, too. Instead of being responsible for brand awareness, it’s also up to us to help educate prospects and build engagement. We aren’t just advertisers talking at people anymore; we’re relationship managers, educators and coaches that create content to help buyers make purchasing decisions.
In short, marketers are moving further and further into the sales process.
So where does this leave salespeople?
In a very good place, actually. But only if they are willing to think differently about how, when and where to engage prospects. Where much of the work used to come down to direct conversation, we can now leverage digital channels and content to do much of the work for us. By working closely with marketers, salespeople can become more efficient and effective in converting prospects into customers!
Salespeople likely hold the most direct knowledge of customers, products and industries in their business—that hasn’t changed. What has changed is the buyer’s desire to access that information without talking to sales directly.
If the sales team can help marketers by feeding us insights and offering key questions they know customers have, we can prepare the content that will move buyers along in their journey.
In the meantime, salespeople can leverage the digital environment to nurture prospects with the content they’ve helped us create. They can connect with people on LinkedIn, for example, and share their knowledge. Or they can email their networks with articles, white papers and case studies—not to pitch a sale, but to be helpful while their contacts are kicking tires.
If all goes according to plan, salespeople won’t have to waste their time cold calling or talking to people who aren’t interested. Instead, they can engage with warm leads who have had time to digest the right information, and who are ready to reach out.
By aligning with marketing (and seeing their role as enabling purchases, not selling products), salespeople have nowhere to go but up.
In fact, B2B organizations with tightly aligned sales and marketing operations report 24% faster three-year revenue growth, and 27% faster three-year profit growth.
The bad decade for sales ends now! Align your marketing and sales teams, and make 2018 the year of sales team success.
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