Marketing effectively in today’s multifaceted buying landscape

A collection of Sterling notes.

Dustin Deno is the SVP of global sales at Showpad.

The buying landscape has changed. Two thirds of B2B buyers in the last year preferred remote human interactions and digital self-service over traditional buyer experiences – indicating that we’re seeing the end of old school selling. Buyers have more power than ever before, demanding smarter, more flexible, and quicker routes to purchase. The sales cycle has therefore become much more complicated, and many sales teams are falling behind as a result.

We’re entering a new era of collaborative buying, and it’s almost impossible to achieve the same results with old tactics. Faced with information overload, buyers are strapped for time. They don’t have the patience for endless marketing materials or scripted sales pitches, and instead need to know that marketers understand their problems, and can offer products that can solve them. Marketing and sales teams must cut the fluff and focus on wooing buyers, rather than endlessly pursuing them.

Curating a standout buying experience through strong content

The goal of any good marketing strategy is to attract an audience to a company’s product or service and engage them through high-quality messaging. Marketers must understand their audience well enough to design value-driven content that directly responds to the unique needs of the modern buyer – someone who craves human connection but doesn’t have endless time. After all, engaged buyers do something others don’t: they buy.

Sales reps are said to only have around 5% of a customer’s time during today’s complex B2B buying journey; marketing needs to ‘warm up’ the sales pipeline, guaranteeing that the buyer is as ready as possible to engage in a deal before they make the first interaction with a sales rep.

80% of today’s prospects will open a piece of video content but ignore any other type of content that they receive – the modern content mix should be interactive and engaging, making buyer engagement as seamless as possible. Think explainer videos, self-assessments, and ROI calculators, and other rich experiences that provide tangible value. These content offers should also be refined regularly in line with buyer engagement insights, to avoid falling into the trap of providing generic content that does not pique buyer interest. Relevant, curated content allows sellers to focus pitches on what matters to prospects, which crucially is what leads to sales.

Preparing sellers to provide buyers with focused interactions

Nevertheless, silos between sales and marketing departments continue to crop up regularly in the world of modern selling, with 82% of professionals in these teams stating that they have access to the required technology, but not the right content. Marketers can produce a wealth of high-quality, engaging content, but if the structural delivery pillars are not there to support it, the content will go to waste.

Training sellers to provide an adaptable, knowledgeable, and focused buyer experience is key to driving leads. Smart B2B companies understand that their sales force is their biggest asset, and so invest in hiring, nurturing, educating, coaching, and inspiring these teams. The ideal buying experience doesn’t happen by mistake, it happens when knowledgeable modern sellers engage buyers by providing relevant information and valuable consultancy at every stage of the journey.

Leveraging digital technologies to build a modern sales and marketing force

When the marketing content is strong, and the sales team are as prepared as possible, the third element to help the buyer experience truly flourish is technology. Today’s advances in sales and marketing technology can help create an intuitive experience for both sellers and buyers by streamlining every interaction so that it is as efficient and effective as possible.

When it comes to the day-to-day work of closing deals, the best technology stack facilitates easy-to-navigate product portfolios that allow sellers to pull together product details to guide negotiations with buyers at the click of a button. Streamlining the seller to buyer interaction one step further involves implementing experience-based platforms that the buyer can access at their convenience. Such platforms allow buyers to consume content asynchronously, responding to the needs of the time-strapped modern buyer. Offering this curated space for content sharing has benefits for sellers too, as they can pull detailed analytics on exactly what content their prospects are consuming. Technology should be up-to-date and user friendly, facilitating rather than hindering the sales process.

Woo your customers, don’t pursue them

In today’s landscape there are a plethora of companies out there attempting to target buyers. It is easy for sales and marketing teams to blend in with the competition, relying on age-old strategies that they are comfortable with. Yet these strategies do not speak to the modern buyer, who prefers a quick and easy process driven by interactivity. Sales and marketing teams should concentrate on customer delight, working in harmony to close deals and get results.

Interested in hearing leading global brands discuss subjects like this in person? Find out more about Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF) Europe, London, North America, and Singapore.

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