Is your B2B demand generation program a stream of disconnected campaigns, with Marketing organising for a bought/rented list to be called down, given some offer - and then achieve a success rate of around 3%?
What happens to the information you gleaned (if any) from the other 97%? Perhaps they are willing to buy from you - but just not yet!
A new approach is needed, that recognises the new buyer's journey - and that unites Sales and Marketing to undertake specific tasks at each stage of that journey:
1. We don't sell how buyers buy™
Today's typical sales process has actually been around since the late 1800's, yet buyers have changed how they buy even over the last 3 years.
Consider the example of "buying a car" to illustrate the new buyer's journey.
Most people don't wake up in the morning, and the 1st thing that comes into their head is that they need to buy a car. In terms of car buying - they are CALM.
But if they go downstairs and the car is stolen, or it has smoke coming out of it, or their neighbour drives past in a new car and makes them jealous, then they have had their STATUS QUO SHATTERED. Per Craig Elias's wonderful book SHiFT!, the potential buyer has experienced a "sales trigger". (Click here to download the relevant chapters at no charge!)
At this stage, the potential buyer doesn't know what the problem is and hence has no idea about the solution. So they'll go to a search engine and type in their symptoms to SEARCH AROUND the PROBLEM:
The search engine - other social communities etc - will all give their view, and perhaps the buyer concludes the damage is so bad that the PROBLEM is the "engine is ruined", and the SOLUTION is to "buy another car".
BUT - most buyers don't trust sellers - so they will TALK TO PEERS & EXPERTS to be recommended to a reputable car dealership.
Then and only then will they START ENGAGING the PROVIDER (i.e. ring up a number of car yards), and the familiar PROCUREMENT PROCESS will commence.
2. Sellers engage too late
Now - if the end of this buying journey is in fact the 1st time the sales organisation finds out about the deal, then it's much too late. The buyer will ring multiple providers, resulting in lower win rates, lower margins etc. Further, as buyers aren't expert at diagnosing their problems, it's quite possible they're asking for the wrong solution to the problem. Perhaps they don't really need a new car - rather just fix a leak.
3. The need for New Marketing™
Marketing needs to adjust, there's a need for a new focus - via earlier buyer engagement:
The traditional OLD FOCUS involves buying a list, calling it down, making an offer, and getting a success rate of around 3%. What about the other 97%? They need to be nurtured and educated - they'll buy something sooner or later!
If your website only talks about your company, products, people etc - it's a "late buyer engagement™" website. It simply won't attract prospects that are entering symptoms into a search engine early on in the buying journey.
But it's not just websites that need to have keywords that attract "early buyer journey" buyers - LinkedIn profiles are searched just as much by search engines as traditional web pages. A company with 100 employees, each with a LinkedIn profile, in fact has 101 websites - all able to be optimised to attract buyers EARLY on their journey.
Increasingly - LinkedIn profiles are showing up in online searches. Wouldn't you want your salespeople to have prospects land on their profiles?
4. Disruptive insights as part of New Marketing™ (and New Selling)
Buyers will only tolerate sellers along the buyer's journey if they are prepared to educate them. Marketing needs to generate "disruptive insights", and to package these up for Sales to deliver to prospects, to "shatter their status quo".
If the seller can present a statistic, an insight, a case study etc. that makes the buyer realise they're not running their business as well as they could - then this could start the buyer on a whole new buying journey.
5. Implementing New Marketing™
A new approach is required for B2B marketing...
PLANning is obvious - and the need to PREPARE the necessary "marketing infrastructure" and "disruptive insights" is critical. New Marketers need to create an ongoing cycle of listening online for "sales triggers", building lists through social means, curating/writing and distributing content - but then ensuring the HAND-OFF to sales for 1-1 engagement when certain triggers occur.
Triggers might include:
- A prospect lands on a LinkedIn profile
- A prospect downloads a white paper
- A prospect comments on an article
6. Implementing piece by piece
Rather than stop marketing for 6 months to put all the New Marketing™ pieces in place, it is desirable to keep running various campaigns, but to "fix up" a piece of marketing infrastructure as the campaigns are rolled out.
7. Benefits of New Marketing™
So - why bother - what are the benefits of New Marketing™?:
Now - to some readers, the above is simply stating the "bleeding obvious". To others, it might be a whole new world!
Do leave your comments. Are you embracing New Marketing™? Does it work for you? Are the old style campaigns still successfully feeding your sales team?
I'd value your input!