February 03, 2022
by Jay Patel, SVP, U.S Strategy Lead B2B
Among a million other things, this sluggish, ever-evolving, never-ending pandemic has been a catalyst for a remarkable evolution in B2B marketing, as well as how sales teams interact with customers.
For instance, we’ve seen some data across various B2B clients that purely digital deal sizes (without having physical meetings) have increased. This means that more and more buyers are getting comfortable (and trusting digital sellers) spending larger amounts of budget and going through the entire process in a digital way.
Beyond that, the popularity of video and live chats have allowed sales regions — and physical limitations of the volume of conversations — to be redefined and scaled, making way for innovation amongst sales experiences in close partnership with marketing.
Lo and behold, both buyers and sellers in the B2B space have quickly learned to prefer these recent modifications, thanks in large part to the increased speed and convenience of such transactions.
Realizing the True Value
The changes necessitated by the pandemic also brought to light gaps or challenges that existed before coronavirus upended so many aspects of our lives. The forced adoption of digital tools and data has opened sales teams’ eyes and built the foundation for the marketing-sales gap that has, truthfully, always existed. More and more sales teams are understanding the force of marketing-powered sales enablement in a digital-first, mobile-first, hybrid future.
It’s the coming together of two sides. Now sales teams need — and we believe are more open to understanding — the value that marketing teams can bring. With direct sales methods having been forcibly limited for the past couple of years, marketing departments have stepped up to the plate to work closely with sales teams and product marketers to build that bridge.
In a self-service model such as this, more content and more self-serving experiences must be created so sales teams can close deals and enable the process. The pandemic kind of forced the connection that’s been needed between sales and marketing for a long time.
Give Them the Power
Ultimately, a guided self-serving experience actually empowers buy-in on the customer side, and there are quite a few benefits to consider. For one, guided self-serving experiences can lead to more knowledgeable customers who can influence key decision makers with the right content, move their organization toward making the purchase quicker, and come engage with your business directly with a better idea of what they need.
As Millennials move into management and buyer roles, we already know they have grown up with these guided experiences. They fully expect to get any answers they need without having to pick up a phone or send an email. This creates velocity in their ability to move purchase decisions along in their organization and get buy-in from key stakeholders.
The companies who understand this will win the day, and you can’t achieve that by gating everything you have or forcing someone to engage in a one-way sales conversation. Pursuing them relentlessly won’t work, either.
No, you have to provide the experience and content they need to empower their individual role within their buying group. This builds trust so they do move to purchase — and, more important, deepens the organization’s loyalty to your brand.
Building Better Understanding
On the flip side, the marketing and sales teams experience benefits as well. With a greater ability to understand and track how many individuals, which individuals and how group buying dynamics work through digital signals, businesses have a much greater understanding of the types of content, experiences, and marketing support needed to move organizations along the B2B journey to purchase and eventually loyalty.
With more automation, guided experiences and content being delivered as an ungated or easy access value for buyers, sellers can actually focus on what they should be best at: building the relationships. And as you allow potential customers to self-guide themselves through your products, offer demos, create content they can have and keep them within your environments, you can collect information without being aggressive. There’s a true value exchange that forms there that takes you from being seen as a seller to closer to a partner.
You can also start offering valuable information about the market or the vertical of their business and how it relates to your services. Honest (and not entirely sales-focused) content and experiences work in tandem to build organizational loyalty in the long run.