In establishing his latest post on the Digital Leadership Associates blog, Alex Low cites a philosophical sales question it’s likely you have run into before: “Does Black & Decker sell drills or holes?”
Pardon the pun, but this adage drills right down to the core of B2B selling and the prominent disconnect that exists today. No real matter what you sell – something, an ongoing service, a media subscription – you are selling a remedy to a nagging problem.
In nearly every case, the act of solving that nagging problem ought to be the primary focus of any engagement with a buyer. It could still feel foreign to reps that have been trained in pitching pricing and features. However, the data continue to create this transparency.
Assisting a Self-Guided Solution Journey
Ask yourself this, “Are you selling drills? Or the overall solution to drilling a hole?” I hope you see yourself as doing the latter, as this is solution-led rather than feature-led. The point is this: How are you helping your customers and targets on their self-guided journey by guiding them with the right validating questions?
The unavoidable facts are that buyers are taking it upon themselves increasingly more to solve issues that arise face to face. Research tells us that 89% of B2B buyers conduct their very own online investigation, and typically, they’re a lot more than 70% of just how through the decision-making process before getting together with a merchant.
This does not put the sales force vulnerable to irrelevance – in order we are ready to recognize this evolution and adapt long.
It is about maximizing what we do with that final 30% of the journey and ensuring our companies, or even reps themselves, can be found and visible across the real way there.
For this reason, sales and marketing alignment is arguably the single greatest priority of 2018 for B2B organizations.
A Cohesive and Consistent Experience
We view it again and again: people on both sides wincing at the thought of a completely integrated sales and marketing operation. In accordance with data compiled for the Power Couple eBook, there doesn’t appear to be much appetite for job swaps or skill overlap and most pros shun the thought of a shared cover sales and marketing.
But this initiative isn’t about overstepping as well as necessarily direct collaboration. It is more about aligning strategically so that messaging, content and touchpoints are framed around a cohesive, underlying blueprint.
Which means your company’s marketing content should directly address the questions buyers ask within the procedure for solving their problems. Sales might help inform the direction of the content since it includes a more open conduit to actual customers than other people.
It is also vital that you make sure your sales approach coordinates with marketing content a decision-maker might encounter. Because the charged Power Couple eBook highlights, buyers are more likely to activate a merchant from the company if they’ve previously encountered marketing content from that same company on LinkedIn, and they’re more receptive if the messaging is consistent.
In a recently available post for Forbes, Ryan Erskine organized the key questions an organization must address in formulating its strategy:
- Who is your target audience?
- What problems do you solve for them?
- What questions might they be trying to answer when they first experience that problem?
- How do those questions change and evolve as they learn more about the industry?
For best results, marketing and sales should interact to look for the answers and create a plan that’s proactive, predictive, and prescriptive. However, that certainly doesn’t avoid the two sides from maintaining boundaries and autonomy.
“As a salesperson, you need to work with marketing to help them understand that you are not selling drills, but a solution that makes a hole,” concludes Lower in his post mentioned above. “And based on your experience of selling your solution successfully, many times over, supported by continual client feedback, this is how we will guide customers to our solution by reminding them that this is the right one for them.”
By turning your organization right into a comprehensive problem-solving engine for the customers, it is possible to subsequently solve the most significant problem being faced by many sales and marketing teams struggling to acclimate in this new B2B landscape.