B2B Customer Acquisition: The role of human engagement in a world of digital-first enterprise marketing
Updated and meaningful research is key to the shift towards virtual sales relationships, and it feels fundamental, but it isn’t.
How can sales teams adapt best to a virtual selling environment?
Organisations are best served by a combination of in-person and virtual events, which have different benefits. For virtual sales to be most effective, sales teams need to make the buying experience better, especially in the research phase, to avoid losing sales to disinterest.
This means starting with research into both the company being pitched and the people they are talking to. This is time-consuming but if SDR and AES team work together and take one type of research each, for example, then share results, it makes things faster. Updated and meaningful research is key to the shift towards virtual sales relationships, and it feels fundamental, but it isn’t.
The second piece of this is empathy for the buyer, which means we approach conversations as a way to help and understand people’s problems and offering a solution that best fits, rather than trying to just sell to them.
try to become a partner to prospects on their journey, engaging with them in ways that feel authentic and meaningful.
How much time should sales and marketing teams spend on activities that inspire, delight and entertain customers?
In the current era, vendors must create strategies to become partners to prospects throughout the lifecycle journey. The mistake many organisations make is to view relationships only in terms of sales, using cold-calls and messaging that buyers perceive as pushy or fake.
Instead, try to become a partner to prospects on their journey, engaging with them in ways that feel authentic and meaningful. This might be inviting people to events or sharing a webinar and following up with a personalised LinkedIn message showing an interest in their professional needs and challenges. That authenticity is what can provoke genuine surprise and delight.
Marketing plays an important role in designing this process, helping to train up salespeople to engage in those multiple touchpoints and ensuring that sales teams have the appropriate materials to support more experiential marketing.
Should B2B marketing strategies adapt to reflect the growing importance that millennials place on their own personal brand on social media?
It is beneficial to interact with prospects on LinkedIn through comments and interactions, these interactions can sometimes look as though the sales or marketing person is working to a checklist. Whatever interaction your team has with a customer, the priority must be interactions that are genuine, and which show an interest in helping the prospect to build their brand. That is how we create warm and memorable interactions.
For example, inviting prospects to webinars, roundtables and company events where they can share experiences and ask questions can help someone to build a personal brand. Crucially, it also demonstrates that the vendor is interested in understanding that person’s pain points and isn’t just treating them as a sales lead. The goal is to create a symbiotic relationship where your prospect becomes an authority in their field, and in doing so, to build long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationships.