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Getting found early enough in the right context
Now what we hear so often from sales managers, marketing managers and business development directors, even CEOs in the space is that. Every single deal comes down to price. And we hear these words pretty much verbatim. Every single deal comes down to price. The frustration boiling over is I can never get in early enough to explain our real value.
And we hear the frustration boiling over to the point of this totally sucks. It’s no fun when the only thing that you’re able to get people to pay attention to at the tail end of the sales cycle, because that’s when you first met them, is your price. And that’s not a good place to be.
And we’re going to be talking today about how you can completely change what you’re doing and make sure that you are getting in there early enough to explain your true value, to be perceived as an educator, to be perceived as helpful, to be perceived as a thought leader. Where does this all start? It starts with understanding the buyer’s journey. And the buyer’s journey is very different today than it was as little as five or 10 years ago.
In 2005, marketing invested in lots of things like trade shows, print advertisements, trade journals, and magazines — including direct postal mail and many renting lists and sending emails. So the people on those lists, even if they didn’t want to get your emails, we know the four-letter word that describes that kind of email.
What also jump started the buyer’s journey, the sales process early on about 10 years ago, it was a lot of cold calling. And then about 10 or 20% into the buyer’s journey, 10 or 20% into the sale cycle. Prospects were ready to speak with your sales team way back then. It was a very different relationship between your prospects and your sales department.
Buyers were mostly at the mercy of your sales team, Seattle’s controlled access to almost all information.
There was tremendous asymmetry. It was lopsided marketing could be unaccountable. And in a lot of cases, it was, but it didn’t matter that much. It was also a very seller centric sales cycle.
Fast forward to today, marketing still doing a fair amount of trade shows, even doing a tiny amount of print ads that have fizzled mainly away. Many trade publications either disappeared or are a skeleton of what they once were. Direct mail, the idea of renting mailing lists and spamming the heck out of people is still alive and well.
It’s amazing. It’s still alive, and well, Google just filed a patent a couple of days ago. They put another nail in the coffin with that being able to tie email reputation to your ability to rank in search engines
To a certain degree, in the colo data center space, it still is a practice that’s being done.
However, today’s very different in that your prospects are no longer going to speak with your sales team early on.
They’re much more empowered. They have a lot more research ability. They can get a lot more information. So when you look at prospects being ready to speak with your sales team when anywhere from 57 to 70%, sometimes as much as 80 or 90% of the buyer’s journey is over.
It’s an entirely different ball game, and what’s disrupted this traditional playbook? The rise of search, the rise of social, mobile, and cloud. Massive disruption from those four factors alone for changing the entire dynamics of the sales process.
So at this stage, now sales needs to get found much earlier in the buyer’s journey, so that it can plant its seed in the ground, plant the flag in the ground. And marketing has a lot more control over sales paychecks, and a lot of sales professionals realize, okay.
Because so much of the education, so much of the resources, so much thought leadership is happening in the first 70% of the journey. So the way sales is changing, sales needs to get found much earlier and be perceived as trusted advisors. It’s a very buyer-centric sales process. It’s completely turned the whole funnel on its head.
The sales monopoly on information is long gone. And now most of your prospects expect that your sales professionals can deliver a highly personalized, highly customized conversation, more of a consultation than a static pitch. This is a complete game-changer. And it’s crucial to realize that this is not the future.
This is the present, and this is the present that’s existed for the last two or three years.