B2B Customer Acquisition: The role of human engagement in a world of digital-first enterprise marketing
B2B sales teams must adapt to avoid wasting time on top of funnel activities. Instead, they should adopt an ABM strategy, while marketing supports that strategy.
Research suggests that many millennial buyers prefer a digital-first B2B sales process. How do you think B2B organisations should adapt their sales and marketing processes?
In my experience there is a disconnect between how people respond to surveys and what happens in real sales environments. The more complex a sale is, the more people are involved, and once you get to a point where there are a dozen people on a committee, those sales cannot be completed without inserting a sales person.
We do see that the sales role now happens further down the funnel, after the buyer has done their research. B2B sales teams must adapt to avoid wasting time on top of funnel activities. Instead, they should adopt an ABM strategy, while marketing supports that strategy.
This is a hard shift to make, especially in sales. We need to do the hard work upfront. We need to identify companies that are qualified targets, and then sales and marketing need to collaborate to have the right content in front of the right people at the right time. That’s not the playbook we are used to running in sales.
We are doing more remote selling and that means the tool kit used by sales teams has to change.
What role do you think events and face to face interactions play in B2B sales in the post-pandemic landscape?
We are doing more remote selling and that means the tool kit used by sales teams has to change. Rather than face to face meetings with one person, we are engaging with a more complex and remote buying decision that might involve five or even a dozen different people.
For example, we’re seeing an increasing role for tools that guide prospects through demonstrations, especially in the software business.
What do you see as the most important change sales and marketing organisations should make when targeting millennial buyers?
If you have looked at TikTok then the answer is clearly that we should be making a lot more videos.
That might mean short, animated videos, quick first-person explanations of product features, or more complex three to five minute classes and tutorials. Using video intelligently means the marketing team always needs to consider how the video works, what it communicates, and why.
As a format, video is extremely powerful and if the video is created authentically, and is useful it can seem less obviously ‘sales’ than an email. Organisations should use video to educate but also to entertain. The good news is that the tools to create video are really simple, and relatively inexpensive - and they are highly effective.
If most conversations are now happening mid-funnel, how do you get from mid-funnel to close faster? Marketing can support that with content and sales can support it with more video interactions.