There was a major sea change last year with the passing of the GDPR regulations and while if you live in Europe or sell to Europe this has required a massive mindset change in the way we market.
Add to that the "perfect storm" of buyer changing habits as we all now have access to the internet, social media and mobile. It's become natural behaviour that if we don't know something then we go online and find the answer. This means that the Gartner (what was CEB) statistic that people are 57% of the way through the buying process before they contact a sales person is even more a reality. Hubspot say the figure is 60%, there is figures from SAP where they think it's 70%.
Either way, if you are not active on social then you are not visible to the modern buyer and are not being shortlisted.
Some recent research showed that the average buyer now spends 40 hours researching online for products over $100K.
This is also impacted that as we are all going online and doing research, when it comes to make a decision about a supplier or a solution, we cannot. Gartner (what was CEB) say that in the last year the figure of 6.8 people required to make a decision is now more like 9 or 10. That's 10 people as sales and marketers that we need to influence. In a sales world, that's 10 people we need to meet so we make sure they vote for us and as marketers, that's 10 people we have to influence to make sure they vote for us.
Only 5 years ago, we had to meet 1 person. This has a massive impact to us, if we are to scale as a sales and marketing business.
But let's put all this doom and gloom to one side as there are ways to make life easier, which is social media. Not spamming people on social media, or paying somebody to spam for you on social media, this is having a programmatic process (in other words prospecting) to build relationships to get leads and meetings.
Your sales and marketing team need three things:-
1. Personal Brand - The informed buyers are looking for experts.
2. A strong network - This isn't contacts, these are people that will share your content.
(Sell through your network not to your network).
3. Content - Content needs to inform and educate, show people the expert you are (this probably means that corporate content, that just tells people how great you are, which is what all your competitors say, does not work and we will filter it out as noise.) Time to empower your salesforce to write and share content.
Companies are now replacing the legacy sales methods of the 1980s which still seem to be in use with digital methods which are more efficient and more effective.
Worth a look maybe?
“LinkedIn is known as the social network for professionals, a keystone to any good B2B social media marketing strategy,” said Erica Hakonson, principal and founder of Maven Collective Marketing. “Since its acquisition by Microsoft, LinkedIn has doubled down on that stake expanding the functionality of company pages, hashtagging, post authoring, etc. This credibility and authority building platform within your trusted professional network is an invaluable tool to B2B marketers and B2B sales teams.”