The Seven Trends to Know About B2B Digital First Sales

The Seven Trends to Know About B2B Digital First Sales

The Digital First Buyer is Altering What’s Required for Successful Sales and Marketing Operations 

The world of sales and marketing is transforming at an unprecedented rate. This change is being driven the B2B Buyer’s desire for a Digital First sales process. This article will discuss the seven things every business owner should know about Digital First Sales to help their business thrive.

 

This shift in B2B Buyer’s desires has caused businesses of all shapes and sizes to rethink how to sell more effectively. And the Fortune 500 moved to meet the Buyer’s desires first. To address this new set of expectations, Enterprise companies took responsibility for pre-sales education away from the traditional role/responsibility of the sales development rep and passed that accountability to the marketing operations team.

This change is so rapid, that according to a recent Adobe research project, 82% of marketing professionals overwhelming agree that marketing has changed more in the past two years than in the past 50.  And 89% to 92% of these same marketers agree on three other facts as they take on these new pre-sales education responsibilities:

  • You need to focus on digital education first
  • Marketing operations needs to educate Buyers much deeper in their buying process
  • Marketers will need to keep learning on the job as new trends and patterns emerge

Smart Decisions Require Understanding the Modern B2B Buyers’ New Behaviors 

In this current environment, it’s difficult enough for even the most skilled marketers to keep up with all these changes. As a result, business owners and sales professionals are at even greater disadvantage.  Most sales professionals are confused and struggle how to most effectively fill their sales funnel with well-educated Buyers in the short term while making critical long term strategic marketing and sales operations decisions that will allow them to thrive in the long term. 

Fortunately, for today’s small and mid-sized businesses owners, we now finally have a great deal of information about what these new Buyers want from Sellers, expect from Sellers and how these Buyer’s behave when their needs are met. 

And – after launching over 150 successful sales and marketing automation implementations and sales and marketing ops teams – there are two things we know about business owners and entrepreneurs.

  1. First – once business owners understand the needs of their Buyers, they know how to meet the needs of their Buyer.
  2. Second – once business owners are armed with the right information and insights, most can make smarter growth decisions quickly and can prioritize their budgets intelligently.

With both of these facts in mind, we wanted to share the most recent information on how the Digital First Transformation has permanently altered Buyer behavior. And why the Modern Buyer prefer

 

B2B Digital First Sales Trends

One – Most Buyers Start Their Digital Education Months or Years Before They Are Ready to Buy

First, most Buyers are not ready to buy when they first start their digital education. Initially, most Buyers are just trying to figure out how to solve a problem. According to the most recent research by Aberdeen Research, less than 2% of initial email opens are close to being ready to buy. And even more surprisingly, less than 20% of your pay per click or SEO leads are active Buyers.  

On the negative side, this means ad hoc lead gen campaigns, awareness campaigns and appointment setting campaigns have lost a great deal of their effectiveness and impact.

But the positive fact is that about 80% of all these early-stage leads, we call them “Marketing Qualified Leads” (MQLs) will spend money within 3 to 18 months. So once a lead engages with you, even if they are not ready to buy immediately, you will have a short list of Buyers:

  • That you know will be spending money within the next 3 month to 18 months
  • That expect and want you to educate and nurture them for an extended period of time

You know these future Buyers are receptive to your thought leadership. You know that some will welcome your support as you help them move systematically through their buying process.

 

Two – Buyers Don’t Really Want to Talk to Sales Reps Until They Are Digitally Educated (And Ready to Shortlist)

According to Forrester, your typical Buyer now consumes 7-15 pieces of digital content prior to engaging with a sales rep. And they do this with 3 to 5 different solution providers.  And as noted in the intro of this article:

  • 80% of Buyers want to delay dealing with Sales Reps until they have completed their initial research and are ready to short list for a decision. (Marketing Sherpa)
  • 62% will try and reach a decision without talking to sales rep, if possible. (Content Marketing Institute)
  • And in 2022 33% to 44% want to avoid a sales rep completely, if possible. (Merkle B2B Study)

This further impacts the long-term effectiveness of ad hoc lead gen campaigns and means nurturing your later stage funnel is now required for Digital First success.

 

Three – Buyers Rarely Short List Sellers Without Sustained Nurturing

As Gartner’s latest survey and chart above clearly details, “Content is King”.  This now applies to the entire sales funnel.  Success now requires Sellers to continue to market the entire funnel after the lead has been generated.  This means you need to use content marketing tactics through the pre-sales process because this pre-sales process is now often happening without the direct involvement of your Sales Development Rep. 

This nurturing process is no longer optional because according to the 2022 Demand Gen Report,  95% of Buyers short list a solution provider that “Provides them with ample content to help navigate through each stage of the buying process”.

If your content marketing campaigns don’t move beyond the appointment setting and lead gen stage, it will be exceedingly difficult to survive and you will have little chance to thrive in the near future.

 

Four – Buyers Overwhelming Prefer Video and the Trend is Accelerating Post Pandemic      

During the pandemic lock downs, with face-to-face meetings impossible to execute and with Buyers moving to home offices (and with direct lines typically going straight to voice mail), video adoption was an experience all B2B Buyers and Sellers shared during the pandemic.  

Zoom normalized video for all of us.  It also normalized video adoption for pre-sales education.  According to both Wistia and Vimeo, downloads jumped by 380% in 2020.  And if you thought this adoption would slow down exiting the pandemic, you would be wrong.  In the first quarter of 2022, video consumption increased by another 148%.  Video is growing because video works.

  • Video is more convenient for the Buyer – 64% of Buyers stated they prefer video because its more convenient for education. (Gartner)
  • Video drives better engagement – Video posts have the highest engagement in Social Media (AdWeek) and using video in the email subject line, boosts open rates by 19% and increases click through rates by 65%. (Pardot)
  • Video is preferred over text when exploring solutions – Given the choice between text and video, 75% of Buyers will choose video to learn more about a solution. (Hubspot)

And according Vidyard and Vimeo, this shift to video is going to continue to accelerate in 2022 and 2023.   

  • In 2022 80% of the Fortune 500 is moving towards internal vs. external production.
  • Video is being used later in the sales funnel, with the average video created coming in at 9 minutes and 48 seconds in length.
  • And the average company that has been using video as part of their nurturing process is planning to double to triple their use of video in 2023.

Five – Buyers Reward Sellers Committed to Digital First Lead Gen, Pre-Sales Education and Nurturing

B2B Buyers are already dramatically rewarding Sellers for a Digital First sales and nurturing process:

Sellers have more opportunities to do business – Businesses that implement a content workflow and use marketing automation to nurture prospects, experience a 451% increase in qualified leads in 9 to 18 months. (ANNUITAS Group)

Sellers win more business – 95% of Buyers chose a solution provider that “Provided them with ample content to help navigate through each stage of the buying process.” (DemandGen Report)

Sellers win more business more frequently – You are 2X as likely to win business over your competitor if you provide a substantive digital education experience for your prospects throughout their buying process. (McKinsey)

 

Six – Enterprise Companies are All In on Digital First

According to McKinsey’s survey, “The Future of Sales”, close to 9 in 10 enterprise companies confirmed that the new Digital First go-to-market sales practice was going to be a fixture of their business moving forward.  And 85% stated they were going to stay committed to this process throughout 2023 and beyond.

They are committed to this process because it works; i.e., it meets the desires of their Buyers. 

And they plan to accelerate the adoption of this Digital First process by their Buyers because they are planning on almost doubling their spend over the next 4 years. 

 

Seven – This Will All Lead to Pre-Sales Automation

The combination of B2B Buyers preference for Digital First pre-sales education over speaking with a sales rep, combined with the success of this process, and the investment being made by the Fortune 500 is why:

“Gartner’s Future of Sales research shows that by 2025, 80% of B2B sales interactions between Suppliers and Buyers will be automated and occur in digital channels”

 

Conclusion

Replacing your historical sale rep driven process and ad hoc lead gen tactics with a comprehensive content marketing strategy and nurturing process  is not an “if” decision – it’s a “when” decision.  The B2B Buyer and the Enterprise market are both driving towards Sales Automation and the cost savings that this shift will represent.

Many small businesses, young companies, mid-size companies, and even under-resourced sales and marketing groups are struggling to keep up with this Digital First transformation.  Many have an initial lead gen program in place, but that program is not producing the results it used to, or it’s not producing to expectations.

In many cases, SMBs struggle to craft a solid strategy deeper into the funnel, or they’re flying blind with a scattershot strategy.  They lack the bandwidth to make informed decisions around the right marketing and sales tech to leverage.  They lack the talent and resources to create quality content on a consistent basis, or they lack the time or can’t afford to assemble an experienced team of proven sales and marketing operation experts that are required to run a sales engagement engine consistently.

 

Gabriel Sales can help!  When you’re ready, we have developed Digital Demand Center™ , a turnkey solution designed specifically for SMBs that turns the Digital First Transformation into an opportunity for SMB Sellers to survive and thrive.

If you are still not convinced or feel like you would like a much deeper crash course on all challenges and tactics required for success, we invite you to check out our Educational Video Series on The Digital First Transformation.

Sales and Marketing Operations Stats B2B Business Owners Should Know

“Gartner’s Future of Sales” research shows that by 2025, 80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will be automated and occur in digital channels

Introduction

What is required for successful sales has changed more in the last 3 years than the previous 50 years.  The modern B2B Buyer now expects you to provide content and support to help drive their pre-sales education deep into their Buyer’s Journey.

Here are 39 critical stats to help you understand why a content marketing process that includes Digital First Pre-Sales Education and sustained Lead Nurturing is critical for long term success.

Here Are the Key Sales and Marketing Operations Stats B2B Business Owners Should Know

Inside Sales Calls Statistics

  • In 2012 it took 7 attempted calls to reach a prospect. Today it takes 18 attempted calls to reach a prospect. (Call Hippo)
  • 44% of salespeople give up calling leads after 1 attempt. (CSO Insights)
  • Making 8 or more call attempts to scored leads can boost conversion rates by up to 70%. (Salesforce)
  • Only 33% of an inside sales rep’s time is spent actively selling. (CSO Insights)
  • Sales reps can spend up to 40% of their time looking for somebody to call. (Inside Sales Report)  
  • 74% of an inside sales reps pipeline comes from marketing efforts, and inside sales average dials are consistently down 20% year-over-year (Bridge Group Inc)

Insights and Action: Calling and connecting is hard. You need to help your Sales Reps call smarter and help them to make the most of the call when they do connect. If, on a regular basis, a company can help a sale rep prioritize who to call, and provide insights about what to call about, you are going to see an increase in conversions. Always track results and collect/aggregate data in your CRM.

Leads

  • 97% of visitors who come to your website for the first time aren’t ready to buy. (Marketo)
  • 78% of inbound leads requesting information on your company today will not purchase for at least 3 to 6 months – and 28% will take 12 or more months to buy. (Sirius Decisions)
  • 90% of buyers attend tradeshows to learn about new solutions. (Tradeshow Network)
  • 70% of your buyers prefer to learn about new solutions by email with introductory digital education. (Marketing Sherpa Survey)
  • 24% are open to first learning about a new solution in Social Media. (Content Marketing Institute)
  • 93% of B2B companies say content marketing generates more leads than any other traditional marketing strategies. (CSO Insights)
  • Targeting users with content relevant to their problem yields 73% higher conversion rates. (Gartner)

Insights and Action: Generating the initial lead and building awareness is still the first step in the process, and you can and should consider using multiple channels. Your initial content should focus on highlighting statistics, challenges, pains and problems. But lead generation is only the first step in the process.

 

B2B Buyers Behaviors and Desires Have Changed

 

  • According to Forrester Research, 74% of business buyers conduct more than half of their research and solution education online before engaging with a sales rep.
  • Your typical buyer consumes 6-12 pieces of content prior to engaging with a sales rep. (Forrester)
  • 80% of Buyers want to delay dealing with Sales Reps until they have completed initial research and are ready to shortlist for a decision – moving from consideration to preference stage. (Marketing Sherpa)
  • 62% of buyers say they try to make a business decision based on online content alone. (Content Marketing Institute)
  • In a typical firm with 100-500 employees, an average of 7 people are involved in most buying decisions. (Gartner)
  • B2B buyers are 57%-70% through buying research before agreeing to meet with sales. (Forrester)
  • 9 out of 10 B2B buyers say online content has a moderate to major effect on purchasing decision. (Content Marketing Institute)
  • 67% of the buyer’s journey is now done digitally. (Sirius Decisions)
  • 80% of business decision-makers prefer to get company information from a series of videos and articles versus articles. (Forrester)

 

Insights and Action: Lead nurturing and content marketing is no longer optional. Buyers now required sustained content marketing and nurturing to support their entire pre-sales Buyer’s Journey.  

 

Video

Where both video and text are available on the same page, 72% of Buyers would rather use video to learn about a product or service. (Hubspot)

  • Using the word “video” in an email subject line boosts open rates by 19%, click-through rates by 65%, and reduces unsubscribes by 26% (Syndacast). Video users have 27% higher click-through rates and 34% higher web conversion rates. (Pardot)
  • Video downloads increased 380% in 2021. (Wistia)
  • Video downloads continued to increase by 180% the first quarter of 2022. (Vidyard)
  • Webinar attendance increased by 330% in 2020. And 20% to 40% of first-time registrants (not even attendees) convert into opportunity within one year. (On24)
  • 91% of buyers believe that the pandemic made video even more important for understanding the specific value of a brand, product and/or service. (McKinsey)
  • 81% of the videos created by companies under 200 employees were user-generated. (Vidyard)
  • 54% of viewers watch a video all the way to the end. And the average length of videos increased to 9:48 seconds in 2021. (Vidyard)
  • Technology, Consulting and Professional Services Companies create the most videos for both awareness and nurturing. (Vidyard)

Insights and Action: Video has emerged as the most powerful type of content for buyers awareness and education. Long term success requires a commitment to video to support your entire pre-sales education process.

 

Lead Nurturing

  • Nurtured leads produce, on average, a 20% to 40% increase in calls to connect ratios versus non-nurtured leads. (DemandGen Report)
  • 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales. Lack of lead nurturing is the common cause of this poor performance. (Source: MarketingSherpa)
  • Companies excelling at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales opportunities at 33% lower cost. (Source: Forrester Research)
  • Businesses using marketing automation to nurture prospects experience a 451% increase in qualified opportunities. (Gartner)
  • 95% of buyers short list a solution provider that “Provided them with ample content to help navigate through each stage of the buying process”. (DemandGen Report)
  • You are 2X as likely to win business over your competitor if you provide a substantive digital education experience for your prospects throughout their buying process. (McKinsey)
  • 79% of most successful companies have been using marketing automation for 2 or more years before they see maximum results. (Forrester)

Insights and Action: Lead nurturing is now a requirement. Sellers that implement lead nurturing solutions win more business, more frequently over competitors that don’t. Consider allocating Sales Development Rep budget to Lead Nurturing as soon as possible

 

Conclusion

Replacing your historical rep driven process and Ad Hoc lead gen tactics with a lead nurturing process is not an “if”, but a “when” decision. The B2B Buyer now rewards sellers for this process.

Many small businesses, young companies, mid-size companies, and even under resourced sales and marketing groups are struggling to keep up with this digital first transformation. Many have an initial lead gen program in place, but that program is not producing the results it used to, or it’s not producing to expectations. In many cases, they struggle to craft a solid lead engagement strategy deeper into the funnel, they’re flying blind with a scattershot strategy or they are completely reliant on inbound leads. They lack:

  • The bandwidth to make informed decisions around the right marketing and sales tech to leverage.
  • The talent and resources to create quality content on a consistent basis. or
  • The time or can’t afford to assemble the experienced team,

What they need is a proven sales and marketing operation expert to run a sales engagement engine consistently.

About Gabriel Sales and Digital Demand Center 

Gabriel Sales’ can help. When you’re ready we have developed Digital Demand Center a turnkey solution designed specifically for SMBs that turns the Digital First Transformation into an opportunity for SMB sellers to survive and thrive.

If your still not convinced or feel like you would like a much deeper crash course on all challenges and tactics required for success, we invite you to check out our Educational Video Series on The Digital First Transformation and Small and Medium Sized Businesses. 

 

Video Trends for B2B Sales and Marketing Operations

Video Trends for B2B Sales and Marketing Operations

Video Trends for B2B sales and marketing operations are a critical strategic touch point for most business owners. And it is common knowledge for most B2B sales and marketing operation teams, that exiting the pandemic, video was one of the breakout tools of the Digital First Transformation.  

But what are the latest trends SMB business owners need to be aware of right now?  What are the trends your Sales and Marketing Operations team need to be aware of?  And what should you be thinking about as you craft your short and long-term sales strategies for the coming quarters and years?

 

 

Buyers Continue to Watch More Video

 

If you thought the pandemic was going to be the high point of video, you would be wrong.  Buyers continue to engage with video at an increased rate.

 

Video Still Drives the Most Initial Engagement

  • Using the word video in an email subject line boosts open rates by 19%. (Syndacast)
  • Video offers increase click-through rates by 65%, and reduces unsubscribes by 26%. (Syndacast)
  • Video users have 27% higher click-through rates and 34% higher web conversion rates. (Pardot)

Video continues to be one of the most productive ways to improve the performance of your email marketing and nurturing campaigns.

 

Video Doubles the Time Spent on Your Website

  • The average time spent on pages with video is 6 minutes, the average time spent on pages without video is 2.4 minutes.

If you invest time and money driving traffic to your website, you lose over 50% real engagement by not offering access to video on as many pages as possible.

 

Buyers Prefer “Video” Education over “Text” Articles When Learning About a Solution

  • Where both video and text are available on the same page, 72% of people would rather use video to learn about a product or service. (Net-Results)

As mentioned above, Buyers are continuing to increase video consumption and some of it has to do with the preference for video over text.

 

Video is Preferred When Nurturing Buyers and for Pre-Sales Education

  • 80% of business decision-makers prefer to get company information from a series of videos and articles versus just articles. (Forester)
  • 91% of Buyers believe that the pandemic made video even more important for understanding the specific value of a brand, product and/or service. (McKinsey)

Buyers continue to increase their use of video as part of their pre-sales education.

 

Buyers Are Watching Longer Videos and They Are Watching More of the Video

According to Vidyard and Syndacast, when videos are less than one minute, most Buyers watch 68% of the video.  But now, even when normalizing for videos between 30 seconds to 1 hour: 

  • 54% of viewers now watch a video all the way to the end. (That’s up from 45% in 2020.)
  • The average length of videos increased to 9:48 seconds in 2021. (That’s up from 4:50 seconds in 2022. )

Buyers are becoming conditioned to videos as part of their Buyer’s Journey. Sellers can now break up longer presentations and use video to replace many of the presentations that were historically done during one-to-one meetings as part of the pre-sales education process.

 

User Generated Video is Now “In”

  • 80% of all videos created in 2021 were user-generated videos, versus just 60% in 2020. (Vidyard)
  • Two-thirds of user-generated videos were either screen recordings (capturing just what’s on-screen) or “hybrid” videos (which include a webcam feed in the corner of the screen recording to show the presenter’s face at the same time). (Vidyard)
  • 81% of the videos created by companies under 200 employees were user-generated. For companies over 600 employees, 75% of all videos were user-generated. (Vidyard)
  • Large and medium companies moved away from external video creation, focusing instead on leveraging a combination of internal and external resources. (Vidyard)

User- generated video has a few distinct advantages: It’s quicker to create, it’s cheaper, and it shows the relatable humanity of the person behind the screen.   This is great news for the small business owner and sales and marketing operations team because it gives them parity and makes it easier for them to compete with larger competitors.

 

B2B Companies That Need to Demonstrate “Thought Leadership” or “Demo” Product Create the Most Videos

  • Technology Companies, Consulting and Professional Services Companies create the most videos for both awareness and nurturing. (Vidyard)
  • These same B2B Sellers increased their average video production in 2021 by 334% compared to 2020. (Wisita)

Now that user-generated videos have reached mainstream adoption, combined with all the advantages of video for increased engagement and pre-sales education, B2B sales competitors with more complex sales cycles are bullish on the value of video to make their Buyer’s Journey as frictionless as possible.

 

Buyers Convert to Sales Ready Leads After Watching Three or More Videos

  • 80% of Buyers that convert to Sales Ready Leads have watched 3 or more videos. (Patel Industries)

Pushing the play button is an “active” action vs. the “passive” act of clicking through ad offers and scrolling through a web page.  Buyers that are interested in considering your solution will typically engage in three or more active acts.   This makes video one of the most effective ways to prioritize  potential opportunities for your sales team.

 

Conclusion

Successful Sales and Marketing Operations, especially for Pre-Sales Education, now requires leveraging video at every stage of your sales funnel.

This means you need to strongly consider leveraging video for your awareness and pre-sales education process to replace your historical rep driven process The B2B Buyer now expects you to leverage video to help them learn about your solution and the Buyer rewards the Seller for this process.

When you are ready to get started  integrating video Gabriel Sales can help.  Video is critical feature of Digital Demand Center  our turnkey solution designed specifically for SMBs that turns the Digital First Buyers into Sales Ready Leads.

If you are new to video marketing and the Digital First Transformation or feel like you would like a much deeper crash course on all challenges and tactics required for success, we invite you to check out our Educational Video Series on The Digital First Transformation and Small and Medium Sized Businesses. 

5 Situations in Which Outsourced Sales and Marketing Helps Small Business Thrive

5 Situations in Which Outsourced Sales and Marketing Helps Small Business Thrive

Should you build a strong internal team, or consider outsourced sales and marketing helps small business grow operation? The question commonly arises for growing businesses with limited resources. Accounting, production, and other department face the same general question. So naturally, the same is true for sales and marketing.

Some vendors will tell you that outsourcing is always the better idea. That’s not necessarily the case. While working with an external partner is undoubtedly beneficial in some situations, others may actually benefit from an in-house approach. Don’t be seduced by a vendor that pushes sales outsourcing simply because they want your business to build their own revenue.

Instead, approach the question strategically. Determine whether or not you should outsource your sales and marketing operations based on your unique business situation. Evaluate your environment, capacity, business goals, and priorities. The fewer variables remain, the better your final decision will be for your situation.

Make no mistake: outsourced marketing can help your small or medium-sized business thrive. And yet, according to one recent survey, only 3% of SMBs actually work with an external marketing vendor. Should you be part of that exclusive group? Your business finds itself in one of the below five situations, the answer might just be yes.

Here are 5 Situations in Which Outsourced Sales and Marketing Helps Small Business Thrive

1) Your Business Lacks Marketing and Sales Integration

The age of cold calls is long gone. Too often, business owners and decision makers consider marketing and sales to be two distinct operations. The problem is that your target audience doesn’t see it that way.

Whether they read your website content or receive a sales email, they’re thinking of the same brand. That means your messaging and strategy has to be consistent, regardless of whether you’re writing about industry trends to build credibility or delivering a sales pitch.

That means the two efforts and teams have to match up. The goal of both is to acquire and retain customers, with marketing providing the initial brand awareness and leads that your sales efforts are designed to close. Align your marketing and sales team, and the results can be astounding. Consider the statistics:

  • 56% of aligned organizations met their revenue goals, and 19% beat their goals.
  • Sales and marketing alignment delivers, on average, a 36% improvement in customer retention and 38% higher sales-win rates.­­
  • Aligned organizations achieve up to 19% faster revenue growth – and 15% higher profitability.

And yet, too often, the opposite is the case. Sales and marketing operate as distinct entities, with their own unique goals. As a result, they often become isolated, and the organization fails to reach business goals. When that happens, you might need to consider working with an external marketing and sales vendor.

Through this type of partnership, the alignment becomes more natural. Rather than having to spend time managing both units on your end, you can work with a partner who builds a wholistic, strategic approach that encompasses both. Especially to begin the integration process on your end, this can be a crucial step.

2) You Lack the Capacity or Resources to Manage an In-House Team

Managing a sales and marketing team can be difficult. Sales especially faces common obstacles, as you need to keep the balance of a confident staff not overburdened by challenging goals that still is motivated enough to meet these goals.

Beat them up too much about your sales goals, and they lose confidence. Fail to hold them accountable, and the sales pipe built by marketing never bears fruit. When you cannot hold that balance, while folding marketing into the mix, it might make sense to delegate your sales and marketing management to an external partner.

Through that partner, you can set firm goals that are both strategic and ambitious. Both the chances of hitting these goals and the satisfaction of your organizational team will increase drastically.

Resource limitations pose a similar problem. Organizational expertise takes time to develop, because it tends to be driven by measurement and verification against feedback loop. You need the historical data to benchmark your performance against, which can be impossible when you’re starting from scratch.

Plugging your sales goals into an existing sales process and operation means you can save your resources for other organizational priorities. That’s especially crucial if you need to focus your talent and executive leadership on those aspects of your core business.

Is your time better spent in business development than sales? Does your delivery, client satisfaction, or product development need more attention? Outsourcing your sales may be the key to focus on your core business needs without neglecting the growth of your customer base.

3) You Need to Control Your Operational Risk

Especially as a startup grows, but also throughout your growth cycle as a business, managing operational risk is crucial. Outsourcing your customer growth initiatives will almost always help to accomplish that goal.

Put simply, working with an external sales or marketing partner will remove a significant chunk of your fixed costs and move them to a variable expense, for a number of reasons:

  • You won’t need hard infrastructure investments n technologies and marketing platforms.
  • You won’t need to hire a full-time sales and marketing staff.
  • Your investment will be more closely tied to output, rather than becoming an inevitable expense.
  • Total costs of a fully functioning sales machine, including talent, managers, executives, and marketing support will range around the cost of a single senior enterprise representative.
  • You will not need to invest in ongoing training and development to keep your own sales and marketing staff active and successful.

In most cases, outsourced sales organizations are bound contractually to hit their targets, report on progress and benchmarks, and provide feedback that can improve your organization. The result is a more informed, data-based sales strategy that is more likely to succeed.

Managing your risk also becomes a qualitative function. Over the past few years, sales execution has become more buyer-focused, moving from the relatively linear ‘traditional’ process to a more fluid, credibility-based alternative. You either have to add new resources to account for that trend, or risk wasting your resources on an outdated, ineffective model.

But if you hire for this shift to a buyer-centric environment, you run into another risk. Adding full-time executives to your sales and marketing team might mean you begin to accumulate too many strategists, and not enough soldiers. Pulling together the strategic side and tactical execution of both sales and marketing is expensive, and can incur significant uncertainty. In an outsourced approach, that is not the case. The same partner will account for both sides of the coin, building an initial and ongoing strategy that tightly integrates with its execution.

4) You Have to Reduce Your Time to Market

The time to market for your business or product may matter for a number of reasons. You might need to contend with a highly competitive environment, satisfy your investors, or ensure the fulfillment of pre-orders. A number of factors influence that process, but don’t forget about your marketing and sales operations.

Even the most well-built product or service cannot effectively reach the market if you don’t know how to unlock your future customers. You need both an understanding of your market, as well as a strategy and a team ready to leverage that understanding into actual sales results.

When you outsource, you get the benefit of plugging into an existing mechanism to achieve those goals:

  • Your sales strategy can be built even as you’re still developing the product.
  • The technologies and platforms needed for an effective sales and marketing execution are already in place.
  • You can tap into a sales and marketing team that is already aligned and works well together.
  • You don’t have to spend time onboarding a new team for your business.
  • You can leverage existing, real-time market intelligence to keep a pulse on the market and adjust your strategy as necessary.

Time to Market is not always an important consideration. But when it is, outsourcing can quickly become a crucial step. You save valuable time in getting your product ready for and in front of your audience. Recruiting, building, and training your sales force can take months if not years. External marketing and sales can help you avoid delays that could otherwise devastate your competitiveness.

5) You Need to Scale a Growing Operation

Time to market, of course, is only one consideration. As demand grows, your business needs to keep pace. Even if you’ve built up a reliable internal sales operation for a startup, that operation may no longer be effective as you grow into  a mid-size business.

The same is true on the opposite end. In fact, downsizing your sales and marketing may be even more difficult than upsizing the same process. Thanks in part to the fixed costs mentioned above, you will be saddled with investments and resources that cannot be effectively deployed.

Now, consider the alternative of working with an external sales partner. The right provider already has the ability to manage any increase or decrease in scale built into the system. The technology platforms account for both growth and declines. The phone systems and workforce are in place to adjust as needed.

The same is also true if you want to grow to a specific size and revenue, then stabilize. During your growth phase, it might make sense to work with an outsourced vendor. As you reach majority, you can work with the same vendor to transfer the earned infrastructure and expertise in-house, and establish your own sales operations. As long as you’re open and honest about that intent from the beginning, you can find a vendor that helps both in the build-up and the transfer.

Should You Outsource Your Sales and Marketing Efforts?

There is no simple answer to that question. Instead, you should evaluate your current situation, and determine based on your existing infrastructure as well as forecasted sales whether finding an outsourced provider makes sense. If you find yourself in any of the above situations, the answer will probably be yes.

In that case, you still need to find a reliable partner who can actually accomplish everything that outsourced marketing and sales are capable of. That provider should not just possess built-up expertise in your core area of need, but also the desire to become a true partner who is invested in your business success.

We can be that partner for you. Outsourced sales and marketing helps small businesses grow. In fact, our integrated approach to modern marketing and sales makes us the perfect fit to help your business grow and optimize its sales efforts. Contact us for more information, and to start discussing a potential partnership.

 

About Us

Gabriel Sales specializes in helping SMBs and Startups grow their business with modern outsourced sales and marketing operations.

Our team can augment gaps in your existing sales and marketing operations or we can be leveraged for full-service campaigns that include:

  • Integrated Sales and Marketing Strategies
  • Database Research and Targeting
  • Automation and CRM Systems Best Practices Implementation
  • Inbound Lead Generation
  • Outbound Lead Generation and Lead Scoring
  • Sales Qualification
  • Closing

To learn more about how we can help you grow your business (or decide if we are the right fit for you), we invite you to visit our page that details our integrated approach to sales and marketing outsourcing. Or feel free to contact us for free initial consultation and discovery session to see if our approach is the right fit to help you hit your revenue targets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Marketing Automation Helps Sales Reps

How Marketing Automation Helps Sales Reps

Marketing automation helps sales reps increase their productivity in multiple ways.

Marketing automation tools are used by companies of every size to increase the value of their online presence. Whether a business needs better lead generation or an improvement in the number of sales successfully closed, automated marketing can dramatically extend your online reach, allowing you to drum up a much higher number of leads, and in turn find more good leads that will turn into sales.

However, sometimes sales departments don’t use these tools correctly. Often this is the result of misunderstanding what these tools are capable, of, and becoming overly reliant on them for help in every facet of the job. Marketing automation is powerful, but in the end still just a method for enabling a live person to do more than would otherwise be possible.

In the interests of helping people understand how to maximize the value of these automated systems, here are ten ways that marketing automation assists sales reps.

Lead scoring. If you have a good number of existing leads and a steady stream of new leads always coming to you—a fortunate situation, to say the least—you still need to know which of those leads are most likely to result in sales. Lead scoring tracks a potential buyer’s activity to determined who is most engaged. This gives sales reps an easily accessible list of priority customers, requiring no guesswork as to who should be contacted first.

 

Buyers indicate their interests before speaking with a sales rep. Related to lead scoring, automated marketing systems track what products and services your engaged leads are checking out. When your sales rep is ready to make contact, they can do so knowing the customers’ interests and thus what to target with their sales pitches.

 

Sales reps can see how effective their contacts are. Every sales rep knows the feeling of having a customer that they’re sure is interested, the customer will buy soon, it’s pretty much a lock, and so on. What helps more than a good feeling, even for the best rep, is hard data. Marketing automation tells you how often leads open your e-mails and click on the links you send. If they are, wonderful; if not, this lets you know that you need to devise a new angle for selling the ‘hot’ lead on your product, rather than continue sending the types of e-mails they’ve been ignoring.

 

Automated e-mail templates save your reps time and give them feedback. Once e-mail templates are programmed into the automated system, they can be put to wide scale use and their effectiveness thus gauged on a large quantity of data. If a certain template does not do enough to trigger further engagement from leads, you know and can try something else. And if you find a template that is super effective, the automated tools make it easy to streamline its use.

 

Automated follow-up e-mails. Follow up contacts are important for maintaining a lead’s awareness of your company and the sales rep with which they’ve spoken; you never know when a lead that is unlikely to buy now will change their mind. However, the effort takes time that could be spent pursuing different leads instead. With the ability to set up a drip campaign ostensibly coming ‘from’ the sales rep, marketing can make sure the effectiveness of follow-up contact is maintained while freeing up the rep to speak with different leads.

 

Quick access to past communications. Any good marketing automation software (Pardot, for example) can integrate with your CRM. Once the rep uses software that connects the two (often Outlook), their e-mail history will be loaded into the automated software, making access a swift and painless matter.

 

Reduced headcount for your company. Marketing automation allows each rep to handle many more potential customers than they would without those tools. No matter how many leads your company is capable of generating, it requires fewer sales reps to deal with that number than would be the case without marketing automation tools at your disposal.

 

Tracks top performers with statistics that can help everyone. If you have a decently-sized sales force, some reps will struggle and some will shine. Rather than let the struggling reps muddle along, or worse, firing them when they might have potential, you can find the differences between how top reps and struggling reps approach their jobs. Which leads do top reps pursue? What lead scores most commonly lead to sales? Automated marketing systems can collate this data and make sure all your reps know how to get the most out of their work hours.

 

Allows for timely contact. Automated systems tell you more than where or how often leads visit your site; they tell you when the leads are there. The lead deck points out to your sales rep that a lead is on your site, meaning that’s a good time to send an e-mail or make a phone call. Catch leads when they’re already thinking about your products, rather than risk doing so at a time when you’ll be easier to ignore.

 

Reduces or prevents lead and deal leakage. One of the unfortunate positions sales reps find themselves in is the necessity of closing enough deals to make their sales targets for the month or quarter, which can often require them to focus on more on leads who are ready to buy now and abandon contact with leads who may need more time to come around. While this can help them reach their numbers in the short term, it creates perverse incentives for the reps at the expense of the company. After all, your business needs every potential customer, both the ones buying now and those considering it down the road, and it does you no good if the reps don’t have time to nurture those long-term contacts. Automated marketing takes enough of the grind out of a sales rep’s job to allow them more time to develop a sales pipe for the future as well as for today.

Used correctly, marketing automation helps sales and is an incredible tool for maximizing sales and revenue across every rep in your company. If you’d like to know more about what marketing automation can do for you, contact us for more information.

About Us

Gabriel Sales specializes in helping SMBs and Startups grow their business with modern sales and marketing operations.

Our team can augment gaps in your existing sales and marketing operations or we can be leveraged for full-service campaigns that include:

  • Integrated Sales and Marketing Strategies
  • Database Research and Targeting
  • Automation and CRM Systems Best Practices Implementation
  • Inbound Lead Generation
  • Outbound Lead Generation and Lead Scoring
  • Sales Qualification
  • Closing

To learn more about how we can help you grow your business (or decide if we are the right fit for you), we invite you to visit our page that details our integrated approach to sales and marketing outsourcing. Or feel free to contact us for free initial consultation and discovery session to see if our approach is the right fit to help you hit your revenue targets.