As we have discussed before, one of the major changes since the downturn in 2007 is that discretionary budgets and experimental budgets went out the window. Buyers now buy more methodically than ever before.
We sell using a process that is customized in selling to buyers the way they want to buy. Our system is designed to quickly capture the specifics for our clients in where they fit and where they divert from what we are outlining below. What we are sharing below is obviously not etched in stone. Each client works in a different tempo but the general beats remain the same. In building a sales machine you need to put a stake in the ground because if a machine works 80%, 70% or even 60% of the time you will win. You win because you learn faster, sell smarter and because selling to a process is a great deal cheaper than selling differently every time. Below is how we see it.
Executive Establishes a Need – Gone are the days when you can expect (or even want) to get a technical buyer to champion something upstream for you. You may find 2 out of 10 that are willing to take a shot and you will be lucky if 1 out of 5 of those are successful. We have stopped selling to technical buyers unless an Executive Sponsor is upstream of the conversation. Below is our map of the buying process.
Step One – Business Buyer – Generally an Executive or Senior Manager – Accountable for P&L
A. Identify the Pain – There is a current situation that is causing some sort of Business Pain that needs to be addressed. Generally around loss of profit, decreased revenue or need to increase revenue. (Awareness – Sales and Marketing Stage)
B. Set Objectives – Around those pains (Consideration – Sales and Marketing Stage)
C. Set Strategy – For addressing those objectives around that pain. (Consideration – Sales and Marketing Stage)
Step Two – Technical Buyer – Responsible for hitting specific targets on P&L and implementing
A. Exploring The Options – What Vendors are out there that will help to execute to the strategy that came downstream? Can we do this internally? (Awareness – Sales and Marketing Stage)
B. Set Vendor/Internal Selection Criteria – How will vendors map to the objectives that came downstream and/or can we do it ourselves (Consideration – Sales and Marketing Stage)
C. Short List or Make a Recommendation – Scoped and toss back upstream to the Business Buyer for the final approval. (Preference – Sales and Marketing Stage)
Step 3 – Business Buyer
A. Finalizing the Scope – Takes the recommendation and finalizes the scope. Decides on need for a Proof of Concept or a Pilot (Preference – Sales and Marketing Stage)
B. Set Final Hard Success Metrics – What are the Return on Investment metrics. How will hit the P&L (Preference – Sales and Marketing Stage)
C. What are the Soft Success Metrics – What are the other benefits to the working with this vendor and how will we measure. (Preference – Sales and Marketing Stage)
We hope this overview has been helpful in understanding the new rules of engagement. If you would like to know more about how Gabriel Sales can help you leverage this information in your B to B Demand Generation Strategy, please contact us.
This is part 2 of a blog series about the value of selling with B to B sales content.
Some of the Wins for the Seller
- Digital Content gives the seller the ability to take that initial introductory pitch (that we give over and over again to see if we are even the “right fit”) and to automate it. This allows our lead gen reps to spend more time prospecting. In the time it takes to plan and execute that first presentation they could have reached out to 6-12 new potential customers.
- When we get an Engineer, Product Specialist and/or Senior Executive to participate it allows us to introduce the team on our side that will eventually be helping to service the client once they become a customer. We introduce our team upfront without needing to involve them in dozens if not hundreds of calls.
- We can track a pitch once it is digital to gauge interest and judge where the prospect is in the buying cycle. We can track the amount of time the prospect spends engaged with the content. We can see if the prospect shares the content.
- We can design the content for both the technical buyer and the business buyer.
- We demonstrate respect for the buyer’s time (and start the process of building trust) without investing a great deal of our time.
- We get to that first “yes” or “no” much faster. It the digital pitch is not moving we should probably not be investing time into that sale yet.
- We demonstrate upfront that purchasing from us will be easy and a process that they can control.
At Gabriel Sales, a B to B sales outsourcing company, we know that selling digital can mean great results and improved ROI.
Some of the Wins for the Buyer
- They can get a feel for whether our product or solution is a fit when they have a window in their day. (The upside for the seller is that we generally see them viewing the content within 24 to 48 hours as opposed to waiting 7-10 days to get on their calendar).
- They are able to share the content and get others involved in the decision making process sooner rather than later. We generally see that with this approach if it is a “right fit” that our first business discovery session generally ends up with more of the stakeholders involved.
- If they are not the right decision maker/champion they can forward us on. There are two advantages we see with digital content. With digital content about 40% of the time we actually get that persons contact info, as opposed to I forwarded it on and “we’ll get back to you if we are interested.” You can see if the new person has accessed the content, as opposed to a sell sheet in an email.
- When some or all of the initial digital presentation is given by a product specialist, executive or engineer it gives the prospect a sense of the caliber of the team they will be working with beyond sales. We hear over and over again that this increases their level of trust and our overall likeability. Now the sales person is becoming a facilitator of a potentially mutually beneficial transaction. This pays off significantly during discovery downstream.
- Finally it gives the gatekeeper the confidence that if they become a champion for us that we will be able to support their efforts to become an internal advocate for us. We will be able to supply them with the tools they need to be successful helping to sell us into the organization.
The bar has already been raised and if you are not convinced this is the right way to go just consider:
Netflix’s direct streaming now takes up 20% of online bandwidth in the United States during prime time so consumers can digest content when the mood strikes them.
- When is the last time you watched a prime time show at its scheduled time as opposed to going to the DVR?
- Do you still buy CDs or do you download tunes you want after sampling on Pandora.
- Do you still read newspapers daily or are you subscribing to New York Times on your iPhone for 99 cents a month (I still get the Sunday NY Times in print because anything else would be sacrilegious).
If you are not providing your prospects with the ability to at least meet you are missing the boat and you are going to lose more prospects in the early sales cycle then you are going to win.
For more on B to B Sales Content Development, please feel free to contact us.
Gabriel Sales would like to welcome you to our blog. We have been in the B to B sales outsourcing and marketing business since 1999 and we feel like the last 2 have presented the most radical shifts we have ever seen. The rules of engagement have changed and the sales cycle is much more complicated. What has not changed is the job to be done, there is just more pressure to execute with reduced resources – we need to drive more leads, qualify them faster, shorten the sales cycle, close more business, up sell and cross sell quicker while simultaneously driving down the cost of sales percentage down. The past 2 years have been exciting time for us because pressure and challenges create opportunities and force innovation. We expect these innovations to continue to increase exponentially.
At Gabriel Sales we have spent the past 2 years focused cracking the code on Sales and Marketing Alignment. We have developed some very unique approaches, proprietary processes, and tactics all driven by some innovative thinkers to help and show our clients to make this challenging market shift! We believe that Sales and Marketing Alignment is going to be a key competitive advantage in the coming years. We are confident that this focus has paid off because we are seeing the results for our clients.
One thing that we always keep top of mind is that Sales and Marketing alignment requires teamwork and commitment. It takes the support of the CFO and the CEO. It requires active contribution of Inside Sales Reps and Marketing Coordinators – and the leadership of Sales and Marketing Executives and Managers. Finally it requires the cooperation of your advertising agencies and marketing vendors. Success requires team work and cooperation because ultimately Sales and Marketing Alignment requires integration and commitment to the following four pillars:
- You need to commit to selling to the buyer using a process that allows the buyer to buy the way they want to.
- You need to manage your effort with hard conversion metrics, feedback loops and analysis
- You need to support your marketers with internal and external communication tools so they can craft and execute the right content and communication strategy to make your sales team successful
- You need to commit to leveraging and pushing your technology stack to drives sales and marketing automation whenever possible
The purpose of this blog is to share what we have learned and are continuing to discover because everything starts as an idea. We know that ideas increase as they are shared and gain momentum as they are executed against. The quicker we learn and execute the more powerful and financially rewarding ideas become. Bottom line ideas are worthless without action.
We hope that everyone from the rep on the phone to the C-Suite will find an idea or two here that will improve the quality of their life professionally and personally and that some of you will decide to explore leveraging Gabriel Sales to help you execute. As a first step on the execution path for B to B Sales Outsourcing, please feel free to visit us for a no obligation pipe velocity review. We look forward to our dialogue.