How sales and marketing can embrace technology — to engage with their buyers.

At the beginning of October, we had the opportunity to partner with Mediafly — leader in sales enablement and transformation solutions — to present insights at the Forrester’s B2B Marketing Forum in Austin, Texas.

The Forrester’s B2B Marketing Forum brought together key thought leaders from across the country to help guide, inform and inspire B2B marketing professionals. Current B2B selling suffers a great disconnect between sales and marketing teams. And that gap inevitably filters down to sellers and buyers.

If you attended the event, I hope you came away with strategies to overcome these disconnects and bridge the gap. If you did not get a chance, I wanted to provide you three key takeaways from Mediafly and Mereo’s partner presentation, “The Engagement Path Less Traveled,” which Carson Contant, CEO of Mediafly, and I delivered.

  1. The “aha” moment for a buyer is hit or miss.

The “moment of truth” or “aha” moment is the point in time when the value you are offering resonates with the buyer: They have a more realistic view of their current situation, they understand your solutions, they can foresee their own gains and they are eager to make a decision about your offering.

Delivering valuable insights at the “aha” moment is sales engagement.

Forrester’s research has found that 74% of the time, buyers purchase from sellers who offer valuable insights — and yet, only 8% of buyers believe that sellers are focused on driving valuable end results for the buyer.

There is a clear disconnect from the materials marketing teams create to the conversations salespeople engage in with buyers. Regardless of the research you have done and the content you have created, if salespeople do not deliver valuable insights to buyers at the right moment in time with the right intentions and in the right manner, you can miss the opportunity altogether. And your salespeople might only get one shot before either the buyer forms opinions about your company and solution or they move on to your competitor.

  1. Buyers long for interactive conversations with their sellers.

Many of today’s buyers dread meetings with salespeople. People do not enjoy being sold to. Buyers believe sellers are focused only on their own objectives — and there is a large engagement gap between what most sellers deliver and what most buyers expect.

Sellers can engage buyers with outcome-oriented conversations and presentations. Content cannot be stale. Content cannot be static. Content must be dynamic and at the fingertips of your sales teams, to tap into on a need-by-need basis at those moments of truth we highlighted above.

This is not traditionally simple to achieve. In the past, sales and marketing have been limited by content creation, sharing and modification limitation. But with today’s modern technology, limit your capabilities no more.

Which brings us to…

  1. You have to align your marketing message with sales’ messaging — and scale that message with technology.

I have discussed in the past the importance of aligning sales and have provided a few strategies on how to bridge the gap that often exists.

I will remind you again here: About 60-70% of marketing content is never used by sales (Content Marketing Institute). Salespeople even spend an average of two days a week creating their own tools and messaging (CMO Council).

So how can your marketing teams create content that is both relevant and valuable to your buyer and accessible and valuable to your salespeople?

It starts with getting the message correct.

Then to realize true cross-functional collaboration — and to create and deliver relevant and valuable content to your buyers — your sales and marketing teams must align their messaging with technology.

Technology can enhance your message and amplify its impact on the buyer. Sales enablement technology can both scale the execution efforts of marketing and sales teams alike, while also embracing the interactive conversation approaches we mentioned above.

Think about Batman, for example. No, Batman does not technically sell anything, but he offers a service to his city by fighting crime. Batman’s “sales” tools are the gadgets he uses to fight crime. His “marketing” team back at his headquarters helps enable him to “sell” with gadgets they think will come in most handy for his audience.

But what if Batman faces a new criminal the “marketing” team did not prepare him for? What if he is put in a situation in which he needs to react quick or else face failure?

If Batman’s “marketing” team gives him “sales” tools or “content” that can be picked and chosen from as needed, that can be modified per the situation — and modified quickly and easily — he will realize success more times than not.

Similarly, if your marketing team can create content your salespeople can use per their buyer’s specific needs easily and efficiently, they will better connect with buyers.    

It you want to learn more about how to align sales, marketing and technology to connect with and serve your buyers, send me a note, and we can talk more.