B2B Customer Acquisition: The role of human engagement in a world of digital-first enterprise marketing
Your strategy should therefore be to engage with buyers during the research phase in a way that makes that buyer want to engage with you.
What practical steps should B2B enterprise organisations make to use human engagement effectively in the modern sales process?
There will always be a role for human engagement in complex enterprise sales, but buyers typically only engage with a small number of suppliers. Your strategy should therefore be to engage with buyers during the research phase in a way that makes that buyer want to engage with you.
This can be done by ensuring your brand is mentioned in credible places, perhaps by analyst firms or through an association with partners or through the experience of your staff. Second, your website should focus on using messaging that is relatable to customers and demonstrates that you understand and can help with the issues their organisation is facing.
Your potential customer has a filter up the moment he is approached by a salesperson, because he expects you to sell to him.
What can salespeople do to demonstrate thought leadership in the sales process?
Thought leadership is critical because early engagement with a customer has to overcome a filter. Your potential customer has a filter up the moment he is approached by a salesperson, because he expects you to sell to him.
Thought leadership is having the ability and willingness to help the customer without it being about your product and your sale. It’s understanding his challenges and making recommendations that might or might not involve your product – you might make a number of recommendations, and it’s building trust that your interest is helping solve problems, before making a sale.
How important is trust in the relationship between sales and customers in enterprise sales, and how can it be nurtured?
There are some useful lessons that technology sales teams can learn from consulting. In sales, we incentivize for the quarter whereas partners in consulting firms take a more long-term view and strive to nurture long-term, trusted relationships.
Trust is an important factor in achieving the end goal, and there are multiple paths to building it. One way is through long-term relationships where you have seen someone's behaviour over time. While meeting in person can accelerate trust building, there are other ways to build trust, such as through Zoom, by showing thought leadership and an authentic desire to help solve problems.