January 26

Leveraging Sales Content Automation to Anticipate Buyers’ Needs Earlier in the Sales Prospecting Process

B2B Sales leaders need to rethink how they manage their sales organizations in terms of content, data, technology, processes and people to effectively compete in today's social distanced, hybrid work; self-servicing world. 

Today and in the future, the best informed bird wins the sale. Why?

  • 70% or more of buyers are conducting pre-purchase research online
  • 50% or more of buyers will go all the way to short list before contacting a sales person
  • 43% of Buyers (54% for Millennials) prefer a “seller-free” sales experience

The problem all of this self-guided, online research creates, is a world of Invisible Sales opportunities that ill-prepared companies and sales teams are unable to pitch much less win.  

The solution is making immediate, meaningful investments in:

  • better content 
  • housed on trackable platforms 
  • tied to intelligent marketing automation software
  •  managed by teams of digital sales and marketing unicorns uniquely qualified to maximize the return-on-digital-investment 
  • because they possess the digital skill sets and understand the techniques required to discover and convert these invisible sales opportunities 

Why this works: This digital content & marketing automation combination creates your very own personal Painless Prospecting Machine, enabling the lifting of an invisible buyer’s digital fingerprints from your content to effectively anticipate his or her needs. 

The result: Your Painless Prospecting Machine separates the sales signal from the marketing noise — creating the kind of leads your sales teams can’t live without

The key to success: is that you have to stop selling… and start educating. Today's Self-Educating Buyers don't want to be sold. Instead, they want to make the right buying decision. Hint: that's why they'd rather talk to Google than your salespeople. So you have a choice: you can educate them or let your competition handle the job. 

The advantage of educating them yourself is lifting all of those digital fingerprints your customers and sales prospects forget they’re leaving all over your digital content.

To create more fingerprints you need to:

  • Encourage your prospect to Go DeeperEmbed Dynamic Funnel links in every piece of content you publish. Dynamic Funnel links offer the reader an opportunity to dive deeper into a specific issue, solution, product or service feature, etc. And these links create recordable sales signals in your CRM every time someone clicks one. It’s like your salesperson asked them, “do you have X problem?” Only, in the digital world, they don’t play it close to the vest. They’re too busy self-educating to remember you might be “listening” and thus, they unwittingly provide you and your sales teams with valuable information for building a better sales prospecting plan or when the time comes, a more tailored sales proposal. 

  • Answer The Damn Question. Props to my pal Marcus Sheridan for this idea. “They ask, you answer” has been his rallying cry since he first emerged on the inbound marketing/sales scene and it’s as true today as they day he first uttered the words.
    But, you’ll need to stop creating content that kind of provides the answer your sales prospect thought they'd find on your website, in your video, or white paper, etc.
    You know the trick. You make it sound like your content will truly help them, but once they read your blog post, or white paper, watch your video or scroll through your landing page, they find out the true answer lies behind a lead generation form. A form that ensures a helpful team member will reach out ASAP to provide the answer they seek. I know you believe that is “great lead gen” technique, but please, stop it… today. 

  • Give them CRAP. Yes, you read that correctly. I just told you to give your best sales prospects CRAP! And I meant it. Stop overwhelming your sales prospects with more content marketing noise. Instead, give them Concise, Relevant And Persuasive answers to the question they have or the concern that is creating friction — possibly the friction standing between you and turning that prospect into a new customer.

Next, you’ll need to leverage marketing automation to create those leads your sales teams can't live without.

  • If prospects prefer a self-service model - let them have it. Leverage the power of marketing automation software to constantly answer questions asked with trackable answers. The more questions your prospect asks that your marketing automation software answers, the more detailed the dossier your Painless Prospecting Machine builds. Add in a bit of well designed lead scoring and all of a sudden your content marketing program automatically spits out conversion ready leads that your sales team will more consistently and quickly convert to new customers.

  • Track buyer and non-buyer journeys to create more insight into what a winning vs losing journey looks like. Is there a piece of content that consistently seems to turn prospective buyers off? Likewise, is there a specific piece of content or maybe a sequence or group of content that consistently produces leads that convert?

    Or maybe you can map a predictive sales path. That is, a pathway or list of content objects consumed that tend to predict future sales. Imagine the power of knowing earlier in a sales cycle that a sales prospect seems headed down the buy vs bail journey. And not just knowing, but telling your Painless Prospecting Machine to alert the lead’s owner of this qualified sales opportunity.

Then hire closers to help that sales qualified lead complete their education, hopefully by doing business with your company.

In the modern, digitally centric sales prospecting process, sales people don't need to focus as much time or effort on sales prospecting. Prospecting has become Marketing's job. Powered by helpful, educational CRAP, served up and tracked via marketing automation platforms, today's modern marketing teams constantly run unending "what if" scenarios to produce robust, sales prospect dossiers that even the NSA would envy. Then they pass them over the wall to their sales colleagues, where armed with these insights and verified sales signals, sales teams simply close the deal by Selling Greatly.

What are you waiting for?

Tomorrow is today. The invisible sale construct is over a decade old already. If your sales and marketing organization hasn’t yet adapted to this new normal, and you want to catch up to your competition, we can help. Just click here to schedule a time to chat

This post was originally published on Painless Prospecting, the weekly sales and marketing blog created by the fine folks at Converse Digital. If you want to learn how to create, engage in, and convert conversations into new clients and customers, give them a call

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