The marketing and sales landscape has arguably grown more complex and nuanced over recent years, particularly in B2B. Organizations with longer, more involved sales cycles are feeling the strain on their lead-generation funnels –– with fewer qualified leads coming in and even fewer crossing the threshold to a closed-won deal.
Where’s the rub? Why are fewer deals closing?
There are new layers of complexity on both sides of the equation. There are more options, more information and more stakeholders involved in the buying process than ever before. For buyers, the deluge of information and choices combined with the varying opinions of their expanding purchasing committees have created an overwhelming, and in some cases, paralyzing environment. And this has created a tricky climate for sales and marketing teams.
If you’re selling into enterprise and haven’t been having success lately, there are five reasons why and what to do about it.
1. Your marketing and sales teams are not aligned.
Because the buying process has changed, sales and marketing can no longer afford to operate in silos, with marketing simply handing over marketing qualified leads (MQLs) for sales to slog through. Marketing, sales and even customer success must be united as one team focused on revenue, operating from a shared vision and set of goals. The marketing and sales teams have to join forces early in the process to identify target accounts and what events trigger specific actions. And customer success will be integral to supporting upsell and expansion opportunities.
2. You haven’t clearly defined your total addressable market.
It’s no longer enough to target leads based on a simple set of demographic or market data. You have to dig a couple layers deeper. Using firmographic data, if you’re in B2B, is a good start for developing your total addressable market (TAM), but you’ll also want to consider fit and intent to purchase. One place to start is to review your current best customers ––what qualities or attributes do they have? Use this as a model for developing your TAM, then look at intent to purchase to help prioritize outreach efforts. This will also become an integral part of the lead-qualification process.
3. Your lead qualification process is broken.
Lead qualification has become increasingly complex, particularly since most buyers prefer to complete most of the purchasing journey on their own. A form fill or information download no longer signifies a qualified lead. You have to look at engagement across the entire journey. What are they engaging with on your website, how frequently are they engaging, have other stakeholders from the buying committee started to engage as well, are they searching for specific keywords related to the solution you offer? These insights will signal what type of outreach to target them with and when to do it. Of course tech tools like Salesforce, Bombora, DiscoverOrg and others will help with this process.
4. You don’t truly understand your buyer.
In B2B marketing and sales, the buyer is rarely one person. Rather, purchase decisions extend to multiple stakeholders who make up a buying committee. Learning who is on this committee and working to engage each of them at every stage based on their individual wants, needs and pain points is the only way to establish trust. This requires a deep understanding of their motives and needs, as well as visibility into their actions. This is where engagement data can also be used to create more targeted, personalized outreach and direct your next actions. If you don’t have engagement data, look at the buying committees of your best customers. Who were the primary stakeholders involved, what pain points or needs did each care about, what were their perceived or actual obstacles? When you take time to learn and solve for each of these individual needs, you’ll begin to build trust.
5. Your messaging is too broad.
What is your value proposition? Does it truly stand out from the competition? Developing an effective value proposition will hinge on your differentiators, but also knowing who your potential buyers are and where they are in the purchasing process. Everyone has a different perception of value and that can also shift depending on which stage of the journey they are in. You have to uncover what that is to create messaging that will resonate. If you’ve taken the time to develop your TAM, learn your customers and each stakeholder on the buying committee, and make sense of your engagement data, you will be well-positioned to create more dialed-in messaging.
The first step to accelerating pipeline velocity is to unify marketing, sales and customer success as one revenue team. This team should work together to develop every stage of the marketing and sales strategy –– coming together to identify the TAM, prioritizing that list into a target account list, and identifying where there may be opportunities for expanding with existing customers.
Operating as one revenue team also requires everyone working from one central source of truth or a CRM like Salesforce. This will ensure all data on target accounts is visible to everyone at any given time, position the team to take action in near real time based on certain trigger events, and effectively measure activities and report outcomes.
Given that buyers are feeling the paralyzing effects of a more complicated purchasing process, it’s essential to become a trusted resource and guiding hand to help simplify the journey, and empower them to overcome their information overload and make a decision that will benefit everyone.
Brandt Bogdanovich is the Sr. Director of Marketing at MST Solutions where he oversees the company’s marketing and sales team and orchestrates high-performance marketing strategies. Learn more about MST Solutions on AppExchange.
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