B2B Customer Acquisition: The role of human engagement in a world of digital-first enterprise marketing
How can businesses adapt to new generations of decision makers?
As decision makers within purchasing companies reach retirement age, there will always be a new generation of decision makers ready and willing to take on their responsibilities. It’s a cycle that has been going on for hundreds of years. With every new generation that matures into decision making positions, there will be new buying priorities that businesses need to understand and adapt to. When you couple this with the rapid change in working habits over the last two years due to the global pandemic, the need to understand how your buyers are working and how they want to buy is now one that simply cannot be ignored. The end goal should be to place the decision making process firmly within the buyer’s terms.
The first step in achieving this is to understand the different types of buyers that exist within your customer base. How complex are their sales cycles? Do they typically require a bespoke solution? Is their problem unique to them or seen across the industry? Understanding these different journeys will then enable you to map out different buying journeys for the different types of customers. When your sales team understand how one buyer may need direct human interaction and at what stage, compared to other buyers who might be able to self-serve the majority of their sales journey, then they can apply the appropriate amount of sales intervention for each buyer at the most relevant stages of their journey. This will ultimately empower the sales team to have more meaningful and valuable conversations with buyers.
With every new generation that matures into decision making positions, there will be new buying priorities that businesses need to understand and adapt to.
How important is helping a buyer build social capital?
A great marketing strategy should help buyers to build their social capital. It's not an easy task, but when buyers share your information it establishes a huge amount of authenticity and credibility both with the buyer and the wider market who may see the buyer sharing your content. Content that is intellectually stimulating and reflects well on the person who shares it offers the greatest chance of being shared. If your content can help a buyer be seen as a thought leader within the industry, then the buyer will feel a need to reciprocate and therefore becomes more open to working with you. Top tip though - keep your content topical but avoid anything political!
Content that is intellectually stimulating and reflects well on the person who shares it offers the greatest chance of being shared.
What can sales and marketing teams do to ensure they are aligned?
Sales and marketing strategies have to be aligned with one another if a business wants to stay competitive within a crowded market. If a prospect receives a sales message that isn’t relevant to them or at the wrong stage of their buying journey, then they will simply discard it. Whilst this sounds innocent enough, if repeated then it can start to create a negative impression of your company within the prospect’s mind, ultimately harming your chance of winning the sale. To stop this from happening, marketing teams can support their sales colleagues by providing relevant and valuable information or content that a salesperson can share with a prospect at the most appropriate time in their journey.
There are two things required for successful knowledge transfers between sales and marketing departments. The first is for marketing teams to stay regularly updated on sales processes, to create understanding of what the sales team is trying to achieve and how the process is continually evolving - this will help the marketing team to curate and create the correct content required for sales teams to share. The second is to hold an open forum anytime a new product or service is launched. Whilst this forum will of course need product or marketing teams to present the new solution, it should also include an opportunity for open discussion on ancillary factors such as competitors, USPs and value positioning. Timing is key and presenting this information at a launch event will add value and relevancy which in turn will help reinforce the knowledge transfer.