What is Modern Sales and Marketing

What is Modern Sales and Marketing

There’s been a lot of buzz lately about adjusting sales and marketing techniques, tactics and alignment to meet the needs of the modern B2B buyer. But what are the needs of this new type of buyer as they search and move toward purchase? What is Modern Sales and Marketing?

Before the days of the internet, people became aware of products in the physical world – traveling to a tradeshow, answering calls from and engaging with a sales person to gather information and learn about a product or service. And if the sales person was knowledgeable about the solution features and benefits, then they bought it.

Obviously, those days are gone, and now the internet gives people the opportunity to self-educate about products and services before communicating with a sales person. Now, if the buyer can avoid a sales person completely (which occurs frequently with SaaS products), they will. If a buyer does need to work with a sales person to complete the transaction, the buyer now expects that sales person to understand their needs and to customize a solution that meets their needs.

The paradigm has shifted and now products are bought first – with digital content that proves you understand your buyers’ needs and pains – then sold by closers or sales reps who take orders, once buyers feel educated enough to engage in deeper discussions.

The numbers continue to prove the acceleration of this trend: CEB Global finds, 77% of B2B buyers say they don’t talk with a sales rep until after they perform independent research. Sirius Decisions says, 67% of the buyer’s journey is now done digitally as today’s modern buyer self-evaluates the value of a product or service on websites, social networks, review boards and other digital resources of choice. And when they’re ready to engage with a sales rep, they’re already more than half way through the traditional journey. So, businesses must now embrace content marketing, marketing automation, content distribution and social posts to keep up with the demands of the modern consumer.

In essence, modern sales and marketing bridges the gap between sales and marketing and aligns the sellers sales process with the buyers’ journey, to sell solutions, not features and benefits. The goal of modern sales and marketing is to map your sales process with the contemporary buyers’ journey to make it easy for the buyer to purchase at each stage of the process.

Aligned Sales and Marketing

Today, a company that wants to succeed in the modern marketplace, must demand its sales and marketing departments work together collaboratively, get along and partner for one goal – increase the bottom line. With the multiple moving parts involved in the modern sales and marketing machine, both entities must work together to bring in an audience, educate that audience and move that audience towards a purchase decision. Equally important, they must also remove segments of that audience that are not interested in purchasing to maximize the time of the sales rep. It seems like an arduous task, but the effort is worth it because the rewards are tangible: Marketo finds that companies with an aligned sales and marketing strategy are 67% better at closing deals.

In order to align the two departments, sales must talk to marketing and clearly articulate the types of people (targets) who are most likely to buy and which ones are the right fit for the company. They also need to be able to clearly convey the problems these buyers need to solve. Then, marketing must take those items and craft a strategy, produce content (both educational and content that facilitates easier transactions) and distribute it in an organized, timely manner.

On the flip side, marketing needs to craft powerful sales stories and value propositions for the products or services, so the sales team can be consultants and offer solutions to consumers, rather than pushing product features and benefits.

It’s also marketing’s job to attract and nurture prospects with quality and authentic content that makes it easy for buyers to understand the company story, what makes them unique, and what makes them different. Additionally, marketing must track the buyers consumption of this content to pass the most qualified leads to the sales reps, so they can convert those prospects into customers.

At Gabriel Sales, we make it mandatory for the sales and marketing teams to meet weekly to review results and provide feedback regarding processes, content campaigns and other sales and marketing tactics. We often go through call verbatims, to learn what works and what does not work to adjust and fill gaps in both the sales process and marketing process where needed. This type of open communication and collaboration ensures our content is customized to our target audience – which the sales team knows best – and is being utilized in the correct stage of the buyers’ journey. In addition, this open communication and collaboration aligns our marketing and sales efforts, which helps generate inspirational and creative ideas for new content and sales and marketing tactics to attract qualified leads. Finally, it allows us to provide our target audience with incredible value and a clear understanding of our clients’ products or services. This level of collaboration accelerates our ability to hit sales goals and to generate the results our clients need.

Content Production, Curation and Distribution

As content marketing matures, the ROI is now becoming established. Demand Metric finds that content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3-times as many leads. But content marketing only works if you aim to educate your buyer and allow them to move towards a purchase. And again, the numbers support this approach as a Demand Metric study reports, 60% of buyers are inspired to seek out a more information on a product after reading about a business approach to the solution.

So, what type of content should you produce for the modern sales and marketing process to move a buyer towards a purchase? It’s important to create several types of targeted content for all phases of the new buyers’ journey, which is broken into three parts:

  1. Awareness phase: to help buyers realize their need for a product or service to fix their problem
  2. Consideration phase: to help buyers research solutions for their problem and to compare and contrast a solution they’re interested in
  3. Decision phase: to help assure buyers the product they’ve identified as a solution is the right choice

Any content device is useful, blogs, videos, webcasts, product demos, case studies, white papers, checklist, etc. But not all buyers like the same type of content. A Demand Gen report notes 95% of B2B buyers choose solution providers that offer relevant types of content at every stage of the buying process. So, it’s good to use several pieces for each stage. It’s also important to not over spend on content production. In many cases authentic communication at a lower cost works just as well as highly produced, expensive content. Blogs articles work just as well, in many cases, as expensive white papers. In fact, a Demand Metric study shows, companies that have a blog platform produce 67% more leads per month than those that do not have one. And video works too: Hubspot finds 70% of B2B buyers watch a video sometime during their buying journey.

The most important criteria is not expensive production, but aligning your content pieces to your buyer’s journey process, so you ensure each consumer interested in your solution is receiving the right message at the right time. As content is pushed out, it turns outbound leads into inbound leads that help your buyers decide if they are the right fit, while at the same time, either qualifying them as prospects for your sales team or disqualifies them (a no is as good as a yes) according to your target identification within your strategy. Remember, unqualifying leads is just as important as qualifying them, as it mitigates time wasted on people who will eventually fall out of the buyers’ journey themselves. This ensures you’re speaking to the right people and increases effectiveness and conversion rates, which, Aberdeen finds are nearly 6x higher for content marketing adopters than non-adopters – 2.9% vs 0.5%.

Marketing Automation and Lead Scoring

Content marketing takes commitment to ensure steady production. But simply churning content to increase your volume of marketing assets no longer makes sense. Creating the right content and using it as effectively as possible to maximize your investment is now critical. To do this, a company needs to leverage the right marketing automation tool to execute a systematic automation and digital communication plan that includes lead scoring. Marketing automation allows you to implement your buyers journey content strategy, roadmap, or digital sales process (whatever you want to call it) within a system that automatically sends messages at a desired cadence. Lead scoring then allows you to identify what buyers are most interested and actively considering buying a solution by assigning a score to the buyers’ digital activities and engagements. Leads are ultimately scored by correlating a buyer’s digital conversation to a buying stage. For example, form fills and pricing pages demand higher scores than educational blog pages. As a user self-educates, it continues to compile points and bubbles buyers most likely to buy to the top of the lead funnel.

When a buyer hits a certain threshold, they are then prioritized by the sales team for follow-up calls and discussions.

And because the automation software keeps a history of the pages visited, a sales rep can jump into that digital conversation and already understand the pains and problems a buyer is trying to solve. This allows a sales rep to become more of a consultant, rather than one that “feature dumps” and/or highlights the benefits of the solution.

At the same time, marketing can constantly study data and improve results with smarter reporting, in the forms of real-time content consumption, dynamic reporting of email activity and correlating campaign results to stages in the sales funnel. Ultimately, marketing automation allows for more accurate data, which allows teams to pivot when needed.

What is Modern Sales and MarketingDedicated Sales Consultants and Engineers

Top performing modern sales and marketing systems optimize workflows to make it easy for sales reps to follow-up with the right leads at the right time.

As Velocify finds, organizations with the fastest lead follow-up have the highest inbound lead conversion. In order to accomplish this, teams must dedicate sales consultants to qualify and contact high-scoring leads immediately, while understanding which “solution ballpark” the prospect is interested in, from the information provided.

Think of this as smart lead distribution – sending the right lead to the right sales rep to optimize the sales rep’s time. As Hubspot’s analysis of more than 2,200 American companies finds, those that attempt to reach leads within an hour of when a buyer looks ready to buy, are nearly 7x likelier to have meaningful conversations with decision makers than those that waited even 2 hours or more.

Summary

While this is a simplified synopsis of modern sales and marketing, there are key pieces SMBs can use to begin to build a process of making modern consumers aware of its products and solutions, while picking up some quick wins along the way.

The keys are to target the right decision maker units through communication and collaboration, set a strategy that clearly outlines the buyers’ journey and automate message delivery for a certain, decided cadence. Top performers solidify a consistent process and leverage technology to help execute it, while simultaneously mitigating wasted time and effort through insightful analytics. Another key is getting all teams on the same page for the same goal, to increase company revenue. Because when organizations achieve that, the results are astounding. Hubspot finds, when sales and marketing teams work together, companies see 36% higher customer retention and 38% higher sales win rates. Hubspot also reports, companies with good sales and marketing alignment practices, generate 208% more revenue from marketing efforts. And that’s good for everyone.

 

About Us

Gabriel Sales helps companies build modern sales and marketing operations. We are committed to marketing automation as one of the critical tools for sales success. We have over 50 marketing automation deployments under our belt. And we have implemented over a half dozen different marketing automation technologies so we can help you decide on the best fit at the right price to meet your sales goals and stage of sales maturity.

To learn more about the gaps we can help you in building modern sales and marketing operations with sales outsourcing we invite you to visit our sales outsourcing approach and philosophy page or our blog post about how we leverage sales outsourcing to build modern sales and marketing operations.

 

We Are Passionate About Helping Entrepreneurs Committed to Sustained Sales Growth 

 

We Specialize in Building Outbound Marketing Engines To Consistently Fill Your Funnel with Real Sales Opportunities 

 

Contact our team and evaluate in detail if our solution can help drive your success and remove barriers to growth.

 

 

 

 

15 B2B Email Marketing Tips

15 B2B Email Marketing Tips

15 B2B Email Marketing Tips for SMBs to Generate Demand and Real Sales Opportunities

 

For ten years, email has delivered the highest ROI for marketers over any other form of marketing, returning $44 for every $1 spent. A June 2016 survey of U.S. marketers conducted by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) and Demand Metric found that email had a median ROI of 122% – more than four times higher than other marketing channels, including social media, direct mail and paid search. (Source: eMarketer, 2016)

What drives the success of email marketing?

A 2017 Marketing Sherpa report revealed, 70% of buyers prefer to learn about a new product or solution by email first, and then prefer to receive additional educational material even after being initially engaged by a business development representative.

And according to a 2016 Hubspot study, email is the third most influential source of information for B2B audiences, behind only colleague recommendations and industry-specific thought leaders.

email marketing icon

With these eye-popping numbers, it’s no wonder 59% of B2B marketers say email is their most effective channel in terms of revenue generation.

So, what do these statistics really mean about the state of email and how it should be used?

As part of Gabriel Sales integrated B2B sales and marketing campaigns, we leverage emails at multiple stages of our clients’ sales funnel development program to generate new leads. We also use email marketing to develop buyers not yet ready to purchase, and over time, we use lead scoring tactics to identify which leads become qualified sales opportunities. Subsequently, we do a lot of research, and analyze a lot of our own data.

What the data tells us is, B2B email marketing does not always function in the same way as B2C marketing. B2C is typically focused on direct response and an immediate transaction, as opposed to generating leads and developing them over time. Thus, click-through rates (CTRs) are 47% higher for B2B email campaigns than B2C email campaigns. That being the case, B2B has a slightly different set of best practices.

So, here are our 15 B2B Email Marketing Tips that can help you with improving your B2B sales prospecting campaigns across every stage of your sales funnel development.

1. Don’t Expect Immediate Results

Emails are a great way to introduce your solution and make buyers aware you exist. They are also a great way to:

  • Start a digital dialogue with the buyer
  • Educate buyers about the problems you solve
  • Kick off an outsourced sales lead generation campaign
  • Move a buyer deeper into the sales funnel
  • Build a short list of early stage buyers for buyer development reps to call

But buyers rarely buy, or immediately schedule an appointment after getting one email from you, so don’t expect overnight success. You will get some quick wins, but this will be a marathon or middle-distance race and not a sprint.

2. The Ability to Score Leads is Critical for Most B2B Companies

Most B2B companies are not straightforward transactional sales, selling concrete commodities that can be closed in one phone call. But that stated – if your sale is at a low price point and every buyer that shows interest can and should be closed, then lead scoring is not critical. What is critical: you need to call every lead as soon as they show interest, so all you need is the ability to track opens.

  • However, if you are like 90% of B2B companies, with longer sales cycles and a heavy need to educate buyers to build trust, then lead scoring may be critical for you to prioritize which buyers are most likely to buy. In fact, a recent Eloqua study of 10 B2B companies using lead scoring systems showed close rates increased by 30%, company revenue increased by 18% and the revenue per deal increased by 17%. Finally, according to Aberdeen Research, companies that get lead scoring right have a 192% higher average lead qualification rate than those that do not.

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3. Increase Your Results by Implementing the Right Marketing Automation or Email Marketing Software for Your Business 

B2B companies these days are implementing marketing automation systems to communicate regularly with potential buyers for product launches, solution education, and to keep their products or services top of mind. And why not, businesses that use marketing automation to nurture prospects see a 451% increase in qualified leads. (The Annuitas Group)

So as businesses shift to automation software, it’s important to keep these statistics in mind:

  • 80% of marketing automation users saw an increase in the number of leads, and 77% had an increase of conversions. –VentureBeat
  • Companies using marketing automation generate twice as many leads as those using just email software. –Autopilot
  • Marketing automation drives a 14.5% increase in sales productivity and a 12.2% reduction in marketing overhead. –Nucleus Research
  • 78% of successful marketers say that marketing automation is most responsible for improving revenue contribution. -The Lenskold Group

4. Have a Specific Intention for Your Buyer for Every Email

In this era of content marketing and access to digital education, email is being used for multiple purposes, so it is important that each email has a specific intention. If it’s an initial email lead generation campaign, you may just want to introduce a new solution or highlight a problem you help solve to identify buyers interested in the solution or need that problem solved.

If the goal is to communicate with a buyer you have been developing for a while, and who has opened multiple emails, or has engaged with your content in the past, you may want to ask for an appointment or send them a more specific piece of content to move them deeper into the funnel.

The key is to know what your goal is for every email, and don’t try to do too much at one time in a single email.

5. Set a Business Goal for Your Company for Every Email 

In this era of content marketing and access to digital education, email is being used for multiple purposes, so be sure you have a goal for each email. Is it for nurturing? Is it for generating a new lead? Or is it for developing a lead? Knowing the end goal for each message allows you to convey each message more precisely to your audience and often leads to better open rates and click-through results. As a best practice that’s produced great results for us we craft the copy of the email to the specific target audience and offer them the right educational piece according to the content framework below:

6. Use Trade Shows as an Opportunity to Generate New Sales Leads

Emails are a great way to build awareness and to fill your booth prior to a trade show. But over the past several years, we have discovered that a trade show is a great “artificial” event to also fill your database with a fresh set of leads.

The benefits of trade show audiences is three-fold: first, the average trade show attendee has travelled 400 miles, so your audience is truly national (Source: CEIR report ACRR 1153.12), second, more than 90% of trade show attendees say they are looking for new products (source: Exhibits Survey Inc.), and third, 46% of trade show attendees are in executive or upper management roles (source: CEIR).

We have had great results running campaigns to a rented, opt-in list of potential attendees – not necessarily registered attendees. Sending to this broad list of potential attendees, we have seen the following results:

  • 3X to 5X the typical unique open-rates of a cold outbound email campaign – because non-attendees are still curious about what will be happening at the show and what they will be missing
  • 2X to 4X the typical email click-through-rate
  • Emails are often forwarded to known attendees within the company by the original recipient
  • Inside reps are able to set meetings with buyers both at the show and buyers that are not even attending the show

7. Design For Mobile First

In 2017, the Apple iPhone leads email client market share with 33% of opens, so design your emails for mobile first. And over the past year, we have seen a rise in senior executives opening early sales pipeline emails on their mobile phones, so this becomes even more important. We became curious about why this was so we asked and the answer was simple: Executives tend to open these emails and check out the educational content offers when they are in between meetings, (in meetings, too, which they loathed to admit) and in the evenings at their kids extracurricular events.

8. Keep Subject Line Short

Buyers use smartphones over 60% of the time to view emails. In general, we put too much copy in the subject line, and often bury the point of the email at the end of the subject line. Our research shows, shorter subject lines are opened more often, especially when the point of the email comes first.

9. Keep Email Copy Brief and to the Point

Once again, more than 60% of buyers check email on mobile phones, so keep this top of mind when you write your copy. Your emails should be short, easy to read, and broken into paragraphs – no more than three short paragraphs is ideal. You can also use bullets to catch your buyer’s attention and highlight key points.

10. A/B Split Test Subject Lines

When we run outsourced sales lead generation campaigns, we run a series of three emails to the same list, as a best practice. We often use the same educational content offer for that three-part campaign, which allows us to perform a comprehensive A/B subject line split test as part of the first effort. We will often test as many as three to four subject lines in the first email, which allows the subsequent email blasts to drill down on the topics most likely to engage the buyer.

11. Don’t Overuse Your Company Name

Similar to your sales calls, spending too much time talking about yourself or referencing yourself does not get the most effective results. Keep your attention on the buyer, their challenges and their needs. Use your name once or twice. Don’t begin every sentence with your company. Email should not typically be an advertisement.

12. Lead with Educational Content Offers

B2B offers perform best when you offer something of value, so lead with an educational offer. Emails are the preferred way buyers wish to learn about new solutions, so attach a link to a valuable blog article, white paper or video that talks about the solution and not a product pitch. When buyers get a link with an interesting asset, they are more likely to save it and/or share it.

13. Use Customer Success Stories

At later stages of pipeline development, once a buyer has some familiarity with your solution, it will make sense to talk about yourself. When you do, use a case study as an example of a key success. This allows a buyer to understand how your solution has helped solve problems for customers like them, and helps them start to visualize and consider how your solution can help them solve a similar problem.

14. Use Your Buyers Name and Company in the Email

With the adoption of marketing automation tools, data merge fields are now the norm. It’s not acceptable not to personalize, so use the prospect’s first name in the email. You can also include the company name if it makes sense, however, only do this if you have a database you know is accurate. By doing so, your email stands out.

For most companies this is all the personalization you need. Personalizing email campaigns with different content offers, color schemes, etc. is not typically worth the effort unless you have database segments over 10,000 plus. If you do need to personalize, and deal sizes support this level of investment, it probably makes sense for your sales rep to manage this directly.

15. Always Have a Call to Action

Your email should always have a clear call to action. When we run an outsourced sales campaign, it should be as specific as possible and require the least amount of effort from your prospect. For example, briefly describe the value of the educational content and clearly display the link to it, or give them a day/time for a 10-minute call to discuss the value you can provide to their business. If you have a calendar app, such as Calendly, use it to let prospects set up their own meeting with you.

How Gabriel Sales Help?

Gabriel Sales specializes in helping B2B companies build modern sales and marketing operations.

We do this for companies with a wide variety of technology, service businesses and manufacturers that have a non-transactional solution based sales process. What this means is, to close the sale, you must build trust with the buyer, which typically requires a thought leader, consultant, sales engineer or demonstration of the product to engage the buyer and close business

Email marketing is just one piece of what we do. We can also help with strategy, automation systems implementation and other tactics required for demand generation.

Feel free to contact us to schedule some time to discuss how Gabriel Sales can help you grow your business.