Anticipate what self-educated buyers will do based on what recent buyers have done.
Know what buyers want. Before they do.Let buyers who recently spent money and time solving the problems you address be your guide as to what prospective buyers are looking for, the outcomes they’re looking to achieve and the criteria that is likely to influence their final purchase decision.
Already this year in 2016, we’ve had lengthy conversations with 100’s of salespeople and marketers, from Fortune 100 companies to start-ups, who are dealing directly with the fallout from self-educated buyers. Reps aren’t making their numbers and with 79% of marketing leads never converting to sales, marketing isn’t helping with the health of the pipeline.
We recognize that there’s an endless number of reasons why sales teams are not making their numbers but the obvious one is lost opportunity.
Almost 60% of forecasted deals are lost to competition or no decision made. It’s not the fault of poor sales execution or a lack of qualified marketing leads, it’s the direct result of not knowing what the self-educated buyer is thinking and doing as they research and evaluate options on their own without your involvement.
Let’s face it, you wouldn’t be losing 60% of forecasted deals if prospective buyers found what they were looking for and got the answers to the questions they were asking.
When we fail to understand what the self-educated buyer is thinking and doing, they rely on peers, consultants and their own prior experiences to decide which options they should consider. At that point, anything can happen.
Uncovering candid, accurate information from real buyers is what we do. It’s all we do and we’re great at it.
What is the self-educated buyer thinking and doing?
Almost 70% of your buyer’s journey is spent conducting internal reviews and assessments, peer networking and considering recommendations from user groups and external experts. And your salespeople are not involved.
This Gartner finding quantifies exactly what we hear every day in our buyer insight interviews; they don’t believe that suppliers have anything valuable to contribute to the conversation. At least nothing they couldn’t get off the suppliers web site on their own, without having to speak to a sales rep.
If your salespeople are getting engaged at the tail end of a buyer’s decision process, your reps are unlikely to know anything about how the buyer navigated the earliest stages of the buying decision, a troubling limitation when this is the part of the buyer’s decision that marketing needs to influence the most.
And if your salespeople are only engaged after the buyer has already determined who is qualified to address their problems, you’re likely to be 1 of 3 suppliers chosen to respond to an RFP or compete on the basis of price.
Buyers spend only 32% of their journey interacting with your sales people. They’re seeing a very small part of the decision you need to influence.
Time spent engaging your salespeople.
Time spent researching on their own.
When losing sales it’s tempting to blame marketing for bad leads or sales for poor execution.
Consider how ineffective marketing personas are for your sales and marketing teams.
You would never allow a salesperson to sit in the office and guess who the key influencers in a deal might be and then speculate what impact each person will have on the final decision. Nor would you ever let a salesperson forecast a deal if they never met with the prospect and don’t understand how your solution value will impact the buyers outcome and influence their decision criteria.
Yet this is exactly what marketers to do with personas. The marketing team sits alone in a room, guessing what messages will resonate with buyers and then rely solely on the opinions of internal stakeholders. Then they reverse-engineer the product’s value based on its top features and unique selling points – not necessarily on what’s most important to buyers.
How can you know what’s important to buyers and what information you need to persuade them to purchase your solution – unless you talk to them?
So let us help!
INSIGHThought used buyer insights to spot a market shift and drive $2M in revenue.
A provider of ERP applications in the utility market space was struggling to gain the attention of buyers. Their product team had developed a suite of new application features that they believed would significantly change their competitive position in the marketplace but found no measurable jump in adoption.
Our buyer interviews revealed that senior managers at the utility companies had been blindsided by changes in state regulations that were recently reviewed and passed and were now totally focused on avoiding significant fines and penalties due to non-compliance. Our client tested the implications of these new regulations in a survey across their market and confirmed the cost impact that the new regulations would impose and the shift in buying behavior.
Our client responded by quickly developing a monitoring component to their application that they highlighted in a demand generation campaign aimed at helping utilities understand the cost implications of these new state regulatory changes. The campaign was incredibly successful generating over 20% response rate and closing 3 large deals exceeding $2M.
INSIGHThought used buyer insights to stop a competitor and prevent 60-75% discounting.
A provider of CRM software to the financial market was losing 80% of their deals to a single upstart competitor. The sales team was planning to discount by 60-75% to stop the bleeding and brunt the success of this competitor. They were going to win the battle but lose the war!
Our buyer interviews revealed that the competitor had tapped into the key capabilities that buyers were looking for (the same capabilities that our client provided but had considered unimportant) and were successfully positioning these capabilities as their strengths and our clients weaknesses. “I’m looking for the technical details that explain the capabilities of your CRM system said the buyer. I didn’t see any mention of them in your website or marketing materials.”
This executive then went on to describe the particular capabilities that he was looking for and the perceived limitations of our clients solution. Our client responded by revamping their website, content marketing and sales playbooks to address the capabilities and obstacles that were preventing buyers from choosing their solution. They have won 5 of the last 8 engagements.
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