The sport of golf is in the tank. Some say it’s the exorbitant price of drivers, clubs, shoes and tee times. Others contend it is the three plus hours required to play a round.
My take: it is all of those technology sales reps who must now spend time understanding the wares they hawk and the markets they serve, rather than cultivating customer relationships while on the links.
OK…I write in jest. Yet, it is no secret the business-to-business sales function has been dramatically recast during the past few years. Earlier this month BusinessWeek published an interesting article on this topic entitled There are No Liquid Lunches in the Cloud.
The rise of the enlightened buyer – a phrase coined by Strategic Communications Group (Strategic) client CEB – coupled with the cloud-based delivery model has shifted the dynamic. Today, it is incumbent to meet buyers on their terms.
Forward thinking, success driven marketers and sales professionals now tend to rely on three guideposts:
1. Embrace thought leadership. Credibility creation is a function of sharing of best practices, lessons learned and unique perspective on industry trends. Educate first…then, when the time is appropriate, sell.
2. Get social. Companies often view social media as a corporate activity. While that’s a part of a well rounded communications program, the failure to also empower individual engagement mutes its effectiveness. Social is another channel to initiate and foster personal connections, which are the foundation of sales and marketing.
3. Go all in with big data. Customers and prospects tell you what they think by how they spend their time online. As we all know, marketing automation suites and analytics platforms allow you to track every click, friend, fan or follow. Spend your time in the numbers to identify and score those who expresses interest. You’ll uncover a myriad of “sales ready leads.”