As Marketers, we hear sales reps share the difficulties of selling in today’s buying environment. We face our own marketplace challenges, but for a moment, let’s put ourselves in the shoes of a salesperson to understand their frustrations, show support and collaborate to find effective solutions.
First, prospects and customers prefer going online for most of their information, around 70% of their buying process takes place before they even want to talk to sales,1 so finding a way to get through to a buyer takes more time and effort. Second, sales receives leads that are often not close to closing – on average 50% of leads are qualified but not ready to buy.2 Which means once they do get ahold of someone, it may not be the decision-maker or the right time in the buying process and that only frustrates them further.
Does any of this sound familiar? What if we could understand additional sales challenges and as Marketers help support our front-line friends by taking action to counteract these marketplace forces? Read on to learn more about the how our marketing behaviors can help support sales more effectively.
4 Marketing Tactics that Sales Reps Can Leverage
1. Too Much Content
Over the past couple years as Content Marketing has gained momentum, marketing teams have been busy developing content to meet market demand. Now, there is a proliferation of content and sales reps need to be the equivalent to librarians to keep track of all of this information and where it is located. This is on top of their other research to ensure they are tracking customer activities and staying on top of relevant industry or company news. All of this research takes time. In fact, >20% of a sales rep’s time is spent researching leads3 and Only 29% of a sales person’s time is actually devoted to core selling activities.4 We know that content is king, and buyers want it to guide them through their buying journey. At the 2015 Forrester Sales Enablement conference, it was shared that 61% of buyers feel better about a company that delivers customer content and are also more likely to buy from that company. 5 Leveraging technology such as curated content hubs – repositories of curated content for a particular buyer, segment or persona – or content recommendation engines reduces the time sales reps have to spend sifting through internal information as well as the time spent doing outside research on leads. This opens up their time to drive revenues and close deals which makes both marketing and sales numbers look better.
2. “I’m not interested,” in talking to a sales rep
Sales reps face rejection all the time, but today rejection rates are higher than ever. In 2007, it took 3.68 cold call attempts to reach a prospect, today it takes 8 attempts.6 Why is this? Because 53% of buyers believe that gathering information online is better than interacting with a sales representative.7 Regardless, Sales has a quota to meet and a VP of Sales that is checking in to ensure those numbers are achieved. What if as marketers we had a way to support our sales team that leverages another channel? Tapping into the power of social media and social selling is an effective way to support your sales team. 85% of B2B buyers believe companies should present information via social networks.8 However, only 20% of CMOs leverage social networks to engage with customers.9 There is a market opportunity for marketers to leverage these channels and position sales reps as subject matter experts, break through clutter and reach prospects outside of their inbox, where they truly are paying attention.
3. Time? Ha, what time?
Let’s face it, it is not just research that is eating up a salesperson’s time, further aggravating the situation are the marketing leads that come in are probably not ready to buy or they are not the right candidates at all. The precious time you spend gather input may be wasted on the wrong people. To minimize this wasted time, Sales and Marketing leadership should gather input from both sales reps and members of the marketing team to develop an appropriate and accurate lead scoring model. Lead scoring can help ensure that Sales and Marketing are aligned so that the right leads are passed to sales which means higher conversion rates, improved sales productivity and enhanced revenue performance.
4. Time? Ha, what time? (Part II)
Marketers have deadlines and so do salespeople. Typically, at this time of year, the first quarter close looms and sales reps are driving hard to make their quota. They hustle these last couple weeks, calling prospects, sending emails, and trying to get that one or two last deals in to finish the quarter strong. This all sounds great, except it perpetuates a flawed system where sales can only focus on the top 15-20% of their sales funnel. What about cultivating their territory for the next quarter and the next while still closing short-term deals? As Marketers, we recognize a nurture opportunity to help keep prospective buyers engaged through content, relationship building and personalization. Sales enablement and collaboration platforms make this possible. Content is matched to prioritized prospects allowing sales reps to choose from the relevant content options and easily share these with prospects via social channels or email. In providing the content buyers want and positioning sales as a trusted advisor, marketing can play a real role in ensuring that when that prospect is finally ready to buy, they will reach out to our sales reps!
Time to get started!
The changing marketplace, too much content and lack of time are some of the challenges that sales faces. As Marketers, we can support their efforts and lighten their loads by implementing content hubs, supporting social selling, developing effective lead scoring models and leveraging available technologies in the marketplace. Sales has developed a robust pipeline and we have great information to share, it is a matter of finding the right tools to support our efforts and to help drive efficiency and effectiveness.
6 – Telenet and Ovation Sales Group, http://www.customshow.com/sales-statistics-presentation-data-youll-be-amazed-by/