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Your customers are shopping without you

Published: 10th October 2019
by: Glenn Hewson

If you have shopped for a new car recently you’ll understand it when we assert that 60 - 75% of both B2B and B2C sales cycles are now the responsibility of the Marketing department, not Sales.  Customers only want to engage with Sales after they have reduced the potential number of solutions to their final short list.  As we have seen recently, this includes some amazing technical and even custom B2B products and services.  As a result, this requires a significant change in how most of us go to market.  

What do they want? 

Customers now expect to be able to research our product and/or services online, including formal reviews, opinions via social media and the costs of ancillary services (e.g. the cost of insurance for the car).  The implications for your sales team are threefold: 1) unless your sales reps are prepared, your customer will probably think they know about your company’s products or services than your sales team does, 2) the customer will only want to discuss price and availability, and 3) your company may be eliminated from the competition without you even knowing you were ever in the game. 

What to do. 

This dramatic change in buyer behaviour creates an opportunity for the savvy company.   The key is to use CRM to align your sales and marketing processes to provide visibility of the prospect from the moment they first step foot on your website to the time that they convert to be a hard-won customer.  Here are some top tips: 

  1. Be where your customers are searching for your product or service.  Consider it as if you were looking for your own products.  Where would you go?  It’s probably a bigger answer than social media.  Make sure everything you do drives people to your own website.
  2. Invest in content marketing.  Enough said 

  3. Lurk the people who are lurking you on your website, on social and online ads.  There are many tools available.  Make sure it feeds into your CRM and provides alerts so that Sales and Marketing can see a prospect’s activity.

  4. Don’t be Mad Men, Be Math Men.  Go beyond seeing a prospect’s activity, track and score engagement (e.g. a website page visit equals one point, a white paper download equals 5, a visit to your careers page equals – 20).

  5. Get Sales back into the game earlier.  Once the engagement score of a lead reaches a certain point, hand it over to Sales.  If your CRM is being used right, all behaviour, product/service interest is already tracked within the CRM giving your sales rep the ability to engage with full knowledge of the customer’s interest.

  6. Use Sales playbooks.  Make sure that each step has associated activities that have to be completed before the prospect can be advanced from one stage to the next.  Have your best sales people build the playbooks.   

Be pragmatic:

If your CRM can’t handle the above or it starts to get ridiculously expensive, have a look around for a replacement. There are best of breed solutions on the market that can be assembled to meet your needs, and with some professional services to assist you get your processes right, can help you to get ahead of your competition.

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