Rapid technology advancements have benefited buyers and sellers alike. Buyer-accessible information and buyer-controlled technology help buyers research, evaluate, discuss, recommend, check references, review pricing, and even negotiate purchases. Sellers, meanwhile, have access to new tools and information that help them to engage their communities, nurture buyers, identify high potential prospects and guide the sale, while keeping the broader community appropriately engaged.
The biggest challenge for buyers and sellers now is filtering and managing all that information. Buyers have more reference material, and sellers have more data to aggregate and analyze from a broader array of touchpoints. Which inquiries are ultimately worthwhile? How can you nurture them all over time to identify worthwhile prospects, nurture the buyer community, maximize your success, and avoid costly mistakes?
A complicating factor is organizational transparency. Buyers demand it, and can now interact with Marketing and Sales at will, often vacillating between the two, making it difficult to determine who “owns” the relationship at any given point in time. As a result, Sales and Marketing must collaborate like never before and jointly own the relationship – integrating their efforts, sharing data on a common technology platform, and tightly managing roles, responses and responsibilities – to help manage the discontinuous, often backtracking buyer relationship. If done poorly, the Sales Funnel sprouts “leaks” which often manifest later as lost sales, customer dissatisfaction, damaged reputations and inter-departmental friction. Done well, the sales funnel becomes better managed, and the process of qualifying sales leads, concentrating on high potential buyers and nurturing the broader community is enhanced.
All of this is only possible with an integrated technology platform and an aligned organization. The sheer volume and complexity of buyer activity is too great and too nuanced to manage otherwise, and the impact on the buyer and the seller is too important to neglect.
In sum, both buyers and sellers have heightened expectations these days. Buyers gravitate to sellers who provide consistent, reliable treatment with every contact. Selling organizations require tighter integration of sales and marketing functions to effectively provide that consistent treatment, guide each buyer’s journey, and nurture the community at large. With the strategic guidance and alignment of roles and resources, the marketing and sales organization can collaboratively make significant gains in performance and measurably improve overall results. When the sales team spends more time in high potential sales meetings and less time prospecting, you know you have successfully tuned your organization to the higher performance model.
How have these new realities affected your role and your organization?
What challenges have you overcome?
Love to hear your stories.