Some of the traditions of being a sales lead organisation still ring true and are still very important. But so is the importance of organisations investing in providing the right level of value and education through online channels. This isn’t new, and I’m not saying anything groundbreaking. Then why is it that a lot of B2B organisations still view digital marketing as being tactical rather than a focused strategy? After all, our B2B buyers are spending a considerable amount of time online, researching solutions and providers before they even talk to us.
A few years back, Gartner produced and shared some global research on what people in B2B organisations are spending their time on- what information they are consuming, and how much less time they are spending with a sales team. Now, I don’t want you to read that we should replace our sales force with more online content. As a former salesperson myself, I’d say you’d be committing commercial suicide or be close to it with that decision. Instead, I suggest a focus on a more connected and combined sales and marketing strategy that works in unison together. Before going into that, here are some of the stats provided by Gartner on distribution of buying groups’ time by key buying activities:
- 27% research independently online
- 18% research independently online
- 22% meeting with their buying group
- 17% meeting with suppliers
- 16% other (more than likely school runs!)
Now, what did we learn? Buyers on average, spend only 17% of their buying decision-making process with Gary, my best sales guy? No, they might only spend 5% of their time doing that, assuming they speak to three or four other partners as well!
So, what to do about it? Now, I know you might not have the marketing budgets like some larger corporations that are VC funded. I get it. But we can get innovative around content production and distribution. Buyers these days favour trust and transparency more than ever. Therefore, documenting and publishing repetitive sales collateral is a good place to start. My personal view is, if your sales team is communicating it verbally, over email or on proposals, a lot of that content should already be on your website and other communication channels.
You might be asking “but isn’t that my precious IP?” I get it. Some of it might be. But take a step back and see if it’s really ‘your IP’ or are you just doing something similar to your closest competitor? The pros outway the cons in that example. Humans are creatures of habit, so unless you’ve got a patent or trademarked something legally, sharing is caring. More importantly, it’s providing a view of how you operate, think and your company culture to a buyer that hasn’t spoken with you yet.
If you’d like for us to provide you with an assessment of how you compare to other B2B organisations, get in touch with us at Inbound here.