Marketing isn’t the straight shot through the sales funnel that it used to be. With the advent of search engines, crowd-sourced review sites, and more widely available knowledge across every industry, marketers see leads pouring into that funnel at every step of sales readiness – not just from the top. The average B2B customer has already done more than half of the work needed to make a buying decision before talking to anyone in your organization, and these changes don’t just affect the marketing department. These savvy new customers are also game-changers for sales.
When buyers know what they want and where they can get it before they ever contact the sales department, what lessons can sellers learn from their marketing counterparts? Here are five key lessons every sales director should know.
Choose Customers Wisely
With better market segmentation tools and lead scoring software, CMOs have volumes of knowledge about every lead. Forearmed with that insight, they’re able to market to each prospect according to that lead’s individual level of sales readiness. By the time these qualified leads get to you, they’re sales-ready, but they don’t all respond to the same sales conversations. Get to know your customers and look at the marketing background on them so you know who responds well to relationship-building and who needs a nudge at just the right time.
Customize Your Approach
The richly detailed customer portraits your marketing department paints are invaluable to sales as well. Something as simple as knowing where your customer is and checking the weather forecast so you can open a conversation in a natural way is enough to help build lasting relationships with your company’s clientele. People expect a customized approach now, and canned sales pitches don’t cut it. Coordinating your CMR system with your marketing team’s software is a good way to ensure that everyone stays on the same page and can offer consistently great service throughout a lead’s trip through the sales pipeline.
Teach Something New
Customers already learn a great deal about what you have to offer before they reach you, but they still come to you with questions. You must be an authority on your products and services to match the greater knowledge your customers have. Familiarize yourself with the marketing content your company’s producing so you know what knowledge customers have when they come to you. The good news is that you’re working with educated, interested buyers who have already informed themselves about much of what they need to know by the time they reach you. The better news is that you can give them even more: content.
Become a Content Producer
Think content is only for marketing? Think again; today, sales departments are also involved in producing information based on what they’ve learned from their customers. What do you want people to come to you already knowing? Use that information and compile a FAQ or write a white paper about it. Follow up with long-time customers and gather testimonials. Showcase some of your success stories. It’s all content, and it all helps customers make buying decisions in your favor.
One of the greatest challenges marketing and sales teams have is in the transfer from one department to another. Marketing automation software that synchronizes with your CMR makes the transition seamless, letting you work with marketing from the strategic level all the way down to the details. That kind of unified, consistent knowledge also helps you deliver better customer service from the outset.
Technology changes, but buyers still need sellers. Use these five steps to become the seller your customers want by borrowing some of the marketing team’s best insights and tools.