Off the Cuff Instant Interview Question:: Why is it important for a salesperson to get into a prospect’s buying cycle early, and what are the best ways to do that?
In answer to this question I quote Julie Schwartz, ITSMA: “It’s widely believed that 60% to 70% of the buying process is over before prospects want to engage with a salesperson. The premise is that there is so much information available online that salespeople are thought to be unnecessary in the early stages.
“ITSMA’s data says that for high consideration technology solutions, this is a myth. In fact, we believe just the opposite: 70% of B2B technology solution buyers want to engage with sales reps before they identify their short list.”
The myth that buyers don’t want to engage with sales early in the buying process started when inbound marketing pundits declared the following:
Outbound marketing is dead.
Cold calling is interruption marketing.
Thoughts like these became the zeitgeist that drove marketers to inbound solutions. By relying on automation and scoring (and dispensing of human-to-human engagement early in the process) many marketers—especially those in complex B2B environments—are missing opportunity.
What inbound does (unless supported by outbound and nurturing activity) is allow marketers to get more poor-quality leads to sales faster than ever before.
In this blog (and video) I cite the three major symptoms of what I call “inbounditis”—a condition resulting from over-reliance on inbound marketing:
- Deal sizes slowly decrease as inbound leads increase,
- High-performing reps avoid inbound lead follow-up, and
- The percent of sales-accepted leads decrease while lead quotas increase.
Why do these problems occur and what can be done?
Poor marketing results as described above happen with inbound-only approaches because junior executives are more likely to give up their digital body language and score more marketing automation points, while senior executives (the ones you want to reach) aren’t.
Score-driven lead prioritization leads to smaller deals with lower level decision-makers. Senior executives are 2.5 times more likely to respond to a quality multi-touch, multi-media, multi-cycle campaign with a professional yet persistent cadence. These senior executives have more decision-making power and more spending authority than their junior counterparts.
The secret to winning more and bigger deals is to get in early and help define the solution to a need rather than waiting until late in the game when the best outcome you can expect is to be column fodder in an evaluation won by a more agile competitor. Here’s what you can do to get in early:
- Use account-based marketing processes to define and identify the market.
- Contract with an outsourced tele-prospecting firm to cover the market completely.
- Leverage tele-prospecting efforts to gather market intelligence about competitors, buying cycles, executive movement—and use it.
- Nurture the market to drive three-times the return on your marketing investments.
Don’t wait for prospects to come to you. Most of them won’t.
Pipeliner CRM empowers salespeople to reach out early and accurately. Get your free trial of Pipeliner CRM now.