Today’s B2B revenue teams — encompassing everyone from customer success to sales and marketing — are not in control of approximately 90 percent of the buying journey. Unfortunately, B2B buyers are increasingly anonymous, fragmented and resistant. With instant access to third-party resources, savvy buyers no longer feel the need to be led through their purchasing decision, leaving revenue teams disconnected from the buying process. This behavior means we must make a dramatic shift in the way we market and sell to modern buyers.
When an organization feels the pain of a deteriorating pipeline, it’s likely a sign the front-line revenue team does not fully understand or isn’t embracing the modern B2B buying journey. Here are some surefire signs your revenue team is disconnected from today’s B2B customer journey, as well as some tips on how to reconnect with modern buyers:
Read More: How to Fight Ad Fatigue
Are You Still Relying on Forms and the ‘Contact Us’ Button for Leads?
Marketing teams still rely on forms as the “conversion” point when, in reality, 90 percent of buyers don’t fill out forms. In fact, according to Forrester, roughly 70 percent of the B2B buyer journey happens before a prospect ever identifies themselves to a company, providing little opportunity for teams to influence the deal, address the competition or, in some cases, correct the buyer’s misconceptions. All of this anonymous activity is essentially a “dark funnel.” It represents tons of potential opportunities, yet marketing and sales teams have no insight into how to capture and act on that activity. It is crucial your revenue teams have the ability to uncover your dark funnel — allowing you to get into deals sooner, hyper-personalize campaigns, and close deals faster.
Are You Still Going After Leads Instead of Targeting Accounts?
Let’s examine how your marketing and sales efforts are prioritized. Marketing teams tend to measure leads, which is an individual, not a buying team. Getting more leads and more names has always been the focus. But in order to compete, you need to adjust who and how you target today’s modern buyers.
- Account fit: Is this even a good account for you to sell to? Are they in-market and looking to buy? More leads may feel better (who doesn’t like seeing a big number) but it doesn’t mean conversion to opportunities if you have not prioritized based on actual need and fit. This is all about quality over quantity.
- Activity of the buying team: Today’s buyers buy in teams. In fact, the average buying team is 6 people according to Gartner. So, you can’t just look at an individual’s activity to determine if it’s a possible opportunity — you need to look holistically at the action of a buying team. Are the right people engaging? How much are they engaging? Based on these behavior patterns, it’s possible to predict when an account is “in-market” with AI. Picking up buying behavior signals with a higher degree of sophistication and applying AI-based predictive analytics ensures your sales team is focusing their time on opportunities that will close.
Is Email Your Main ABM Strategy?
Engaging and, ultimately, connecting with accounts is the goal of B2B revenue teams, but it is also a point where we can alienate our buyers and prospects. Typical digital marketing has relied on email. As inboxes continue to overflow, our well-designed nurture tracks go unread and generate unsubscribes, not opportunities. Buyers want to engage with us, but at their pace and medium. This challenge requires an entirely new level of personalization and orchestration.
Knowing a prospect’s industry and persona, while a huge step in the right direction, is not the full consumer-like experience today’s B2B buyers are coming to expect. The key to creating a truly personalized experience for your buyer is timing. We spend so much time creating content by buying stage but, with our current siloed technology, we have had no way to deliver that content at the right time, through the best medium. Now, with AI, Big Data and Machine Learning, we can get a full picture of the buying journey by stage. So, if an account is in the awareness stage, now is a great time to surround them with digital advertising vs. at a later stage when an outbound phone call to discuss solution comparisons or an invite to a private event are more appropriate. Intent data is a key piece to consumerizing your personalization technique. Based on what buyers are researching — their real-time behavior — you can adjust your message accordingly.
Email is still relevant in some occasions, however, it can’t be your only engagement strategy. Multi-channel experiences drive 2x better engagement, so look for ways to incorporate additional activation channels. Marketers are seeing increased success around display, so look to incorporate this, especially in early stages. Remember, these buyers have not raised their hand, so being able to reach them sooner, in a targeted, personalized way is essential. Direct mail is also becoming cool again — this is a good way to engage new personas who are key to the buying team or break through to high value but difficult accounts.
Unfortunately, with our siloed tech and sometimes disconnected teams, orchestrating multi-channel touchpoints is nearly impossible at scale. Linking to a single platform that provides both insights and orchestration is critical and will continue to improve as AI becomes more prevalent. Marketers defining the business results and letting AI tell them what actions work best is the future of connecting to the B2B buying journey.
Diagnosing Revenue Team Disconnection
- Do you know how much of your web traffic is anonymous?
- Are you able to deanonymize website activity?
- Are you able to “ungate” the majority of your content?
- Are you using intent data to determine what buyers care about?
- Do you have a strong ICP (ideal customer profile) to qualify account fit?
- Can you prioritize a target account list for outreach based on buying team activity?
- Are you delivering accounts that are “in-market” to sales?
- Are you using insights to understand where accounts are in the buying stage?
- Is your content hitting buyers at the appropriate time with the right message?
- Do your AEs know what competitors they’re up against in a deal?
- Are you over-relying on email as an engagement channel?
- Can you easily orchestrate multi-channel campaigns?
If the answers to these questions are “no,” you aren’t alone. Most organizations want to take back control of the buying journey by throwing more and more of the sales and marketing budget into technology to solve the problem. But, spending on differing, siloed technology is creating mountains of isolated data that is impossible to analyze and orchestrate.
Reconnecting with Modern Buyers
This siloed approach to the buyer journey is no longer sustainable, which is why many marketers have turned to Account-Based Marketing. Companies that deploy ABM strategies see a 171 percent increase in annual contract value. Yet, most organizations that have implemented an ABM strategy struggle to expand their approach beyond a handful of target accounts. While ABM is a winning strategy, the number one challenge for marketers is scaling account based initiatives. But don’t stress, there are solutions designed to help revenue teams both scale their ABM efforts and deliver targeted messaging through the power of automation.
To truly take back the buying journey, revenue teams must unite on a single platform that can leverage Big Data, and utilize AI and Machine Learning to uncover, prioritize and engage with demand. Teams equipped with the ability to know everything they need to know about their buyers can easily do anything they need to do to generate more opportunities, increase deal size, compete, and win in the age of Account-Based Buying.