3 August 2016 in Aligning Sales & Marketing, B2B Marketing Trends, Modern Selling
While on holiday recently, a particularly violent thunderstorm led to the death of my trusty digital camera. It had a good life – operating flawlessly for close to five years and snapping most of the pictures that now adorn the walls in both my office and house. But it was time to move on. I chose not to replace it like-for-like, as I now knew the basics of photography and was hungry for more. I wanted a higher end camera, and I wanted to make sure I was buying the best for my ambitions, whatever the cost.
So I looked online. I used social media. I sought impartial reviews. Read technical articles. Compared image quality. I spoke to a photographer friend. I searched for the kind of photography I was most interested in and the features I should look for to achieve the best results.
Armed with this knowledge, I visited a well-known high street store only to discover I was the saleperson’s worst enemy; the educated consumer. Sure, he could point me to the best discounts and tell me what this season’s bestseller was. However, when I enquired about performance, sensor sizes or anything else remotely technical, his face instantly slipped into screensaver mode.
Unfortunately for him, at this stage of my buying journey, this was the information I needed. By not employing a technical salesperson, the company had lost my business, not just this time but most likely for future similar purchases.
So what does this have to do with the B2B world? Well, it dawned on me that I’d negotiated this purchase the same way today’s B2B buyers operate.
In today’s data-driven world of instantaneous connectivity, buyers no longer view salespeople as the guardians of information. They approach purchases with confidence and knowledge, seeking straight answers to technical questions. That’s because they have completed 60-90% of their decision before engaging a sales professional and can therefore organise the interaction almost entirely on their own terms.
The examples brought to life the reality of manufacturing demand in the age of empowered customer. If it’s now a case of buyers buying rather than sellers selling, then adapting to the new dynamic is as much about Sales evolving as it is about Marketing adapting.
My eventual purchase came in a specialist store. One whose digital activity in my research period had clearly identified it as a thought leader and whose sales teams offered a technical knowledge capable of nudging me closer to a decision.
And that’s precisely why Sales and Marketing alignment is key. Both must work together to ensure the business has a strong, knowledgeable presence in the places potential customers are looking. They must find the right technology to attract the right people and install a process that ensures context is king. Crucially, they must use technology that makes the system scalable.
If you are interested in finding out how your current demand manufacturing process ranks and the sort of technology winning businesses are utilising, register for a free demand generation audit courtesy of McRae&Co.