How Can Sales Take Back the Buying Process?

How Can Sales Take Back the Buying Process?

by Neil Barlow

5 minute read

As sales people, our power is derived from how much information we can extract throughout the sales process in order to efficiently nurture prospects to close. But what if that discovery process could materialize before we’ve exchanged one word or email with a prospect? That is the promise of many types of marketing technologies today and it’s time to tap them for sales.

Today approximately 70% of the buyer’s journey is complete prior to sales having any involvement, according to SiriusDecisions. Nod if this is a pretty scary reality. Back in the day, if people wanted more information about our product or service the only way to get it was to pick up the phone and call us. Living in the age of information, things have changed. Yet sales people still want control at all times. As this control slips out of our hands we have two options: sit back and wait for inbound leads to arrive, or evolve and find a way to understand who our engaged audience is before they raise their hand and request to be contacted.

So how do sales teams surface the likely-to-convert prospects that have not given us their information yet?

 Sales and marketing technology

Get Specific

Emerging marketing technology can help you discover specific prospects that have shown high interest and engagement with your brand, but have yet to become an official inbound lead. Imagine being armed with the intelligence to know which of your competitors a prospect may be engaging with prior to your first interaction with them? Imagine being able to have an inside view into prospects that are in the early stages of the buying process and being able to capture their attention prior to all the other sales people waiting for that 70% of the process to be completed? With social data capability and the maturation of CRM solutions to include advanced marketing software, this is now a reality.

Embrace Automation

A “content journey” is the digital journey of a customer, prospect or influencer as they engage with different pieces of your content while moving down the marketing funnel. Knowing a person’s content journey allows you to understand exactly who engaged, how often, on which topics, and across which channels. Best of all you can group these individuals under your brand’s lead-scoring criteria in order to know which prospects you should engage with immediately. To date, we’ve all been doing this manually and therefore, inefficiently. Automation capabilities now exist to surface content journeys, and the important people who embark on them, with the click of a button. Save yourself time and money, and look prescient in the process.

Look Into Your Crystal Ball

Earlier I stated how so much of the sales process is completed prior to a prospect getting in touch with sales, so these insights allow sales people to regain control of the sales process starting from the first time someone engages with your brand’s content, versus engaging with you.

With this information a sales person becomes more equipped than ever to frame interactions properly with prospects before the exchange of an email or a call. The ability to know, using actual data, exactly what stage of the sales process a prospect is in, is invaluable. Is it the awareness stage where they are looking to get a general lay-of-the-land of the benefits of what you’re selling? Are they within the consideration stage where they’ve decided to invest and now it’s a matter of understanding what is available in the market? Or perhaps they are in the decision-making process and they are currently looking at you and your competitors? More effective management of the sales process is never a bad thing. Better nurturing of prospects through the sales cycle brings them to close easier and faster.

So, how does one begin to implement these 3 components? There’s tons of software options available to start gaining some perspective into your prospect’s 70%. Tweetdeck, for example, is a free social listening tool that will allow you to set up basic searches, so you can get your feet wet surfacing relevant information on your industry and prospects in the social sphere. But, as you mature and crave more actionable information that is easily automated and digestible, you will need more robust tools. Enter NewsCred’s Audience Insights technology that provides a real-time stream of all the important people engaging with your brand. We tell you who they are, where they work, what their title is, and how important they are to your brand. With the introduction of this software we’ve created a way to further align sales and marketing towards their collective goal of increased revenue.

NewsCred Content Marketing Software

NewsCred Content Marketing Software

With this bulk of information, as a sales person I’m now more equipped than ever to frame my interactions properly with my prospects before we’ve exchanged one email or held one conversation. I can hypothesize exactly what stage of the sales process a prospect is in based on the content they are consuming and I can more effectively manage the sales process and nurture prospects through the sales cycle and bring them to close easier and faster.

As marketing technology evolves, sales needs to evolve with it. Become a proactive seller by tapping marketing technology for its sales potential. By utilizing social data to intercept prospects, your cold emails will feel like a friendly chat, and your competitors will wonder what kind of tricks you have up your sleeve.

By Neil Barlow, Sales Director, NewsCred