Too often, companies find their sales and marketing processes miss the mark. For example, say one of your prospects is a new-business owner, but receives marketing emails targeted toward enterprise accounts. Or your sales reps know nothing about the free trial you’re offering. The possible scenarios are endless, but they all add up to the same thing—you’ve failed to engage and have thus lost a prospective customer.
How does this happen? For years, sales leaders have focused on productivity and use sales tools to better manage sellers instead of empowering them to deliver value to customers.
Unfortunately, the misalignment of strategy and execution of sales and marketing tools sets a company up to fail. And this misalignment is causing huge issues, including overwhelming sellers, creating inefficient methods of retrieving data, and making it impossible to establish actionable insights and understand customer needs. All these issues impede efforts to deliver value to customers—and they frustrate the sales force.
Microsoft conducted research on this topic. Sales leaders were asked, “What matters most?” While 56% said productivity is crucial, 96% said engagement is crucial. Clearly, the current sales strategy on increasing productivity isn’t working. Empowering sales reps is more about helping engage with their customers, not efficiency through technology.
Research further revealed that buyers value rep engagement over a purely digital buying experience. Digital content—like those misdirected emails—are seen as “off-the-shelf” and sometimes irrelevant. In fact, 72% of buyers say they value rep engagement, even in the context of consuming digital content, because a rep can provide tailored content and a personalized buying experience.
The notion of sales reps acting as “trusted advisors” who provide more tailored and relevant content starkly contrasts the common suggestion that buyers want a purely digital buying process, or even that buyers don’t want to engage with sales reps—in fact, the research shows they do. The research also shows that sales teams that emphasize engagement are 2.3 times more likely to achieve quota success compared to those that don’t.
The rules of engagement
Engagement isn’t a one-time activity; it’s a state that is achieved when sellers accurately (and dynamically) map their touches and sales process to their buyer’s journey—with the right touch at the right time. According to David Held, senior product marketing manager with Microsoft, engagement is defined by how closely a touch maps to each buyer’s unique journey, how helpful it is, how timely or expected it is, how relevant it is in the context the buyer needs, and its impact to the buyer.
Held lists a three-step process to empower sellers and drive engagement:
- Focus on gaining customer insights. Start to define your own engagement metrics and work on capturing customer insights and creating a dynamic sales process to drive engagement.
- Emphasize engagement. This means viewing engagement not as “personal touches” per se, but rather as alignment with your buyer’s unique purchasing process—and seek to understand that process.
- Multiply the forces of productivity versus relationships. This means thinking of productivity and relationships together, instead of in isolation. Digital tools like Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales drive sales rep productivity at scale, and relevant touches drive 1:1 relationships. The combination drives engagement at scale.
Rely on Trustantial, your trusted advisor
Technology is a powerful tool that can either alienate or engage buyers. The professionals at Trustantial can help you design and implement a technology solution that improves engagement and thus help you achieve your revenue goals. Contact us today to get started.