Why Are B2B Marketers Struggling to Engage Targeted Prospects?

Top B2B Lead Generation Challenges for B2B Marketers

This morning I read an interesting research study indicating that 57% of B2B Marketers felt “Getting targeted prospects to engage” was their #1 challenge in generating new leads. Following closely on the heels was “Finding leads that convert” at 55%. “Finding Qualified Names,” usually considered one of the biggest challenges was a distant third at 39%. But then I’m not surprised based on the B2B Prospecting I see every day.

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It’s Not Them, It’s You B2B Marketer

Let’s just start with the spoiler alert… it’s not the prospect but the prospector that is the problem here. Today’s sales and marketing teams profess to invest in, understand and practice Social Selling. But the unvarnished truth is that today’s B2B Sales Teams don’t truly understand Social Selling, because the only training they’ve often received is “How to use LinkedIn for Sales” or some other similar platform level training. Yes, I’m painting with a broad brush here but seriously, go look at your inbox, LinkedIn or Facebook Messenger chats or your social feed. I bet you’ve got at least one and more likely a handful of “Hey buy my stuff” type come ons from folks you either don’t know, or just *met* via social media.

That’s a result of platform training. Those folks are following a recipe they learned in a social selling workshop somewhere and that’s why they’re having such a hard time getting you to engage with them.

But the B2B Marketers out there are also to blame because they’re not producing the right kind of content for their sales teams. B2B Marketers are all trying to win the Google war and producing content designed to engage a Google spider but not a legitimate self-educating buyer looking for quality information and answers. Today’s B2B Marketers are producing record amounts of 1st click content designed to win Google Juice, but precious little, if any Concise, Relevant, and Persuasive 2nd Click Content.

If only B2B Marketers could produce more CRAP (Concise, Relevant, and Persuasive), their sales teams (if trained in true Social Selling) might have the tools they’d need to properly leverage the power of Social Selling to both engage and convert high quality prospects.

Social Selling Is a Way of Life

Which brings us to the core issue here, a true definition of what is and more importantly, isn’t, Social Selling.

Social Selling isn’t a webinar, or a workshop for that matter and most certainly has little, if anything to do with platforms.

Social Selling is a methodology based on helping self-educating buyers make the right buying decision vs selling someone your solution.

It’s a fundamentally different approach to selling. One that places more value on connections and conversations than quotas and quarters. Social Sellers understand the relationship is more important, and ultimately, more valuable than the transaction and act accordingly.

Buyers Trust Content More Than Salespeople

It’s true. I’ve tested it in hundreds of social selling keynotes, breakout sessions and workshops over the last decade.

Each and every time I ask a member of the audience to indicate how trustworthy a salesperson’s answer to a sales hurdle is vs the same salesperson offering up a piece of content (produced by the company) that answers the hurdle, the content always wins. Usually by a 2x or 3x margin.

Sure, it’s completely irrational and defies logic, but rarely do human emotions follow either logic or rationality. And buying ANYTHING, including a B2B purchase, is emotional.

Social Selling understands this emotional principle and is designed to leverage it. Thus transforming your sales teams from sellers to educators. From untrusted to trusted.

From ignored to engaged.

Engagement Precedes Conversion

Have you ever noticed how hard it is to sell something to someone that won’t talk to you? I don’t just mean a product or service. Think about the last time you tried to sell someone an idea, a cause, anything really. If you’re the only one talking, chances are they’re not buying and neither is anyone else.

Sales is a conversation. But you can’t have a conversation with a sales prospect that won’t engage with you either directly or indirectly. It’s a simple idea really.

But again, look back at the last 5, 10, 50 or 100 Social Selling efforts targeted at you. Are those folks really looking for a conversation? Or are they just looking for a conversion?

Sure, Social Selling, when done correctly may not produce conversions as quickly as traditional cold calling. But over the long haul, not only does Social Selling produce more conversions, but it does so with less work and certainly more joy on the part of both the seller and the buyer.

Stop Selling… Start Seducing Your Buyer

Wikipedia: “ In social science, seduction is the process of deliberately enticing a person to engage…

Seduction selling isn’t about making more sales calls. It’s about making fewer but more effective sales calls. It’s about dropping your sales baits in a variety of lakes, paying attention to who is biting on which bait and then figuring out how to reel them in — which often requires interacting in a variety of channels and is 100% driven by content.

It’s an art as much as a science. And while anyone can teach you the science, only a select few truly understand the art.

And again, that’s where really good Social Selling training comes into play. Sure your teams can learn how to technically use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc, but Social Selling isn’t about a platform, it’s about an approach.

Get the approach right, and engagement rates will soar. But continue to focus on how to use the platforms and well….

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The Invisible Sale

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About Tom Martin

Tom is 20+ year veteran of the marketing and advertising industry with a penchant for stiff drinks, good debates and digital gadgets that helps digitally challenged companies create innovative and effective digital marketing strategies. He is the founder of Converse Digital , author of The Invisible Sale and a contributing writer for Advertising Age. Tom guides clients through the digital marketing maze and helps companies teach their sales force how to Painlessly Prospect their way to more sales. Connect with him on Google+ or follow him on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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