B2B Customer Acquisition: The role of human engagement in a world of digital-first enterprise marketing
Sales and marketing must align closely on the number of touches, the information shared and exchange notes about what is working well and what isn’t.
How has sales and marketing changed recently?
There has been an evolution in sales and marketing in recent years. A few years ago, physical events and onsite meetings were heavily used to close deals and acquire new customers. Further, sales and marketing each had non-coordinated set of activities to close deals. We have now moved into a digital era, accelerated by a pandemic. This has shifted the balance between sales and marketing and physical and digital channels. It is simply not optimal for sales to make cold outreaches or marketing to run large extravagant events.
Data shows that 70-80% research is done online and buying decisions are made before someone even engages sales. This is where marketing helps, to identify relevant audiences, share the relevant messaging and generate initial interest through digital channels. After this stage, when sales call on prospects, there is already awareness and interest in the company’s solutions, to have a meaningful discovery call.
As an additional nuance, enterprise B2B deals take several months and several buyers to close. Sales and marketing teams must work together to maintain regular touchpoints, continue to nurture and engage additional buyers involved in the deal. Sales and marketing must align closely on the number of touches, the information shared and exchange notes about what is working well and what isn’t.
The very best sales representatives have found ways to add their personality into virtual interactions
What impact did COVID have on sales representatives?
COVID has been a catalyst for the evolution of sales and marketing processes. It demonstrated that we don’t always need to run physical events or meet face-to-face to gain prospects or close deals. We realized that we could have important conversations and close deals over virtual channels like Zoom. Even as we continue to move away from the pandemic, the number of face-to-face meetings are significantly reduced compared to pre-pandemic numbers.
For some sales representatives this can be quite daunting, because the relationship building, they achieved through physically meeting someone was hugely valuable. But the very best sales representatives have found ways to add their personality into virtual interactions. For example, one sales representative I dealt with recently did not send me long emails or incessantly call me. Instead, he sent me cleverly titled emails with pictures of him holding a white board, with handwritten questions, data, or updates, complete with a hand drawn logo of our company. This was very clever, very personalized and very engaging and it helped him stand out from the crowd and close the deal and I didn’t meet him live even once! The more that sales reps move away from sending boring, templated emails or cold calls with no context, and find innovative, engaging ways to speak with their prospects, the more engagement and success they are likely to have.