Marketing automation technology can help you sell more. We need to get into the buyer’s decision-making process much earlier in order to do so. Marketing automation is based on the sales model and focuses on solution placement rather than helping buyers navigate their decision-making process (necessary prior to the purchase). It’s difficult to predict when/how/why buyers will buy, regardless of how many names we gather.
Let’s take a look at this briefly. We don’t have the ability to be there for prospects in meetings or when they are involved in political infighting. This makes the buying process far more complicated than we can comprehend. Sales are all about solution choice’. Buyers are left to figure out how to navigate the internal politics and biases that they face before they can buy.
CLOSE 1% OR LESS OF WARM LEADS
When I was developing sales training programs for some new clients, I kept track of the success of their marketing automation initiatives. These numbers were consistent with other numbers that I have obtained, regardless of industry.
Three prospects will be selected from 100 potential contacts.
One-quarter of the participants will be unable to attend, leaving 2.25.
Seventy-five percent of these people will show interest in pricing and may even get to the point of pricing.
Thirty-eight percent of those who expressed interest will close the deal, or.59%.
These numbers make it difficult to believe that there might be something missing from our process. There’s no way to know how many of these thousands of leads were good prospects.
Is it okay to waste so much time on a seller, calling 10-15 leads per month, and wasting months of your time to get an appointment with a leader that has a minimal chance of closing? Is this the new norm? We are left to wonder how we can identify…
How many real prospects came to our site and were not called for appointments?
If sold differently, those who got to pricing would have closed.
How many would they have bought from the original 100 if they hadn’t been first approached to make an appointment?
Who would purchase if they were not first asked for (and turned down by) a request to make an appointment?
WE CAN HELP MANAGE THE BEHIND-THE-SCENES CHANGE ISSUES
Marketing automation supporters have upheld the same thinking that drove sales to date: bring people to your site, monitor their online activity, assume they’re leads because they show a certain amount of interest, nurture them to ensure they get the correct data, then score them using unique criteria. Finally, try to close the deal.
Let’s get back to the problem. Sales is a solution placement activity that only addresses the last 10 percent of buyers’ buying decisions. It has very little input into how buyers manage change or buy in. Buyers will not take any action until their Buying Decision Team, and all those involved in the solution buy in to make a change.
Five fundamental questions remain unanswered based on current practices.
Who will be the actual buyer from all the names we have gathered?
What was the role and level of interest for the person who completed the contact sheet?
Which stage of the buying process are they at, and what data is relevant?
What is the use of the received material, and with whom is it being shared (e.g., competing vendors? (In-house teams)
Does the whole Buying Decision Team agree? Is everyone involved in the solution onboard?
No matter what selling model you use, buyers will not buy if there aren’t many unique issues behind the scenes. This is a problem that current marketing automation technology doesn’t even address.
HOW CAN MARKETING AUTOMATION HELP BUYERS FIND THE RIGHT BUYING STRATEGY?
Too often, sales respond to a need like it was an isolated event. But buyers don’t buy from their market forces, people, policies, and rules. Market automation has the unique ability to help buyers navigate their buying journey. Although the path to purchase usually starts with one person and an idea, it also involves managing people and their relationships.
Marketing automation makes it possible to:
Begin with an idea and guide visitors along their entire buying journey.
Find out where buyers are at each stage of their buying journey.
Identify the suitable material to send at that stage of the buying process (even allow site visitors to select the data they need).
Marketing automation is a compelling concept that is being underutilized, causing us to miss the opportunity to lead a lot more buyers through their non-solution-related, off-line decision issues. They will have to manage the buy-in, change, and problems with or without us.
Instead of wasting time following people too early in their buy cycle or sending them the wrong data, we can better focus our efforts to facilitate their entire decision journey, identify who is ready, assist others in getting prepared and nurture all parties at an earlier stage.
Let’s think about how to navigate and facilitate the entire buying process, from idea to purchase decision. We can help more people and close more deals if we think of the buying decision pathway differently than the solution sale.
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