B2B Customer Acquisition: The role of human engagement in a world of digital-first enterprise marketing
When you understand what a customer’s challenges are at different stages of the sales cycle, then you also start to realise what the opportunities are too.
How has digitalization impacted buying journeys in recent years?
Thanks to the digitization, potential enterprise buyers can engage with providers in a multitude of ways. Businesses have had to improve their self-serve sales and marketing efforts to adapt to customer engagement preferences. Many buyers choose to engage digitally, with phone calls to a prospect increasingly seen as an intrusion. (Albeit that customer use of voice-to-voice customer service centers increased markedly during the 2020 and 2021 pandemic years, when people just wanted contact with another human. Numerous studies have pointed to a continuing decrease in customer preference for use of chatbots.) Nevertheless, the digitization of customer channels can be a double-edged sword. Digital channels may be more convenient and in some ways less confronting for buyers, than in-person contact. But they increase the difficulty for organizations to build relationships and personal connections with potential customers. If there’s no in-person engagement from a prospect with someone from the brand organization, then the prospect’s impressions of the organization are reduced to the digital channels they do deal with, and to any potential digital marketing and advertising efforts they may have seen. Granted, digital marketing and advertising helps with reach, but not necessarily with connection and conversion.
A great brand not only represents the company, but also the people within it.
What value does human engagement bring to modern sales and marketing?
It’s important to have a ‘face’ of your brand, not only in your marketing to help build personal connections, but in sales and customer service. Having an individual to talk to and build a connection with, even if via email, provides a prospect with a literal ‘face’ of your organization’s brand. It’s something of a truism that a great brand is not only a representation of the company, but of its people. But the reverse is even more true. Ultimately the people in the company that a prospect deals with are the ambassadors for the brand. This means that businesses need to market their salespeople just as much as their brand. The salesperson’s face is the one that prospects will see throughout the buying journey and will turn to if they face a challenge. It also means having salespeople who are consultative and truly understand the needs of their buyers and the journey that they are on before trying to sell them something. Understanding a prospect’s, or customer’s, daily work life and what their challenges are in order to not only uncover opportunities but to better tailor the offer, product and messaging regardless of where they are in the sales cycle. Striving to provide an offer, message, or conversation that is highly relevant to their current situation, without being creepy or overfamiliar, in a way that engenders trust. Prospects and customers need someone that they can trust and rely on, someone accountable to help them find a solution. Businesses who invest in marketing their salespeople will speed up the rate at which they establish authenticity and credibility with buyers, and ultimately help to create long-lasting, meaningful relationships.