The Buyer Preference Evolution

Author: 
Jim Hooker, President and CEO, Televerde

Remember when instant messaging was the new tool for sales? Remember when texting was just for teens and college students? So many new digital tools come out each year that it’s hard to keep up.

Today’s sales and marketing professionals are faced with buyer preferences that constantly change due to new mobile and online tools, making it difficult to stay ahead of the curve to reach the right audience faster and with more relevance throughout the sales cycle. A buyer may prefer a webinar when they first get to know a company, but then prefer a whitepaper to help them make a final decision. And that preference changes if the buyer is a manager or an executive. If your company is global that preference will change with every region and culture. It’s a lot of contextual and differentiating information to keep track of and filter correctly through the sales and marketing pipeline.

The result of all this buyer data coming from different companies and even departments within a company is that 50 percent of a sales and marketing agent’s time is spent just researching for the right buyer information, instead of time spent actually engaging with potential buyers. Additionally, with so much information to sift through, sales and marketing departments don’t have the resources to align completely with their lead-to-revenue process, increasing the potential for conflicting company messages and inefficient agent-buyer engagement. This “misalignment” reality is concerning to sales and marketing agents that work best in an efficient and strategic environment.

However, this “misalignment” reality will not come as a shock to most sales and marketing executives. In fact in a recent survey by Televerde more than 60 percent of sales and marketing executives said they are not aligned, although 70 percent consider alignment very important. This means the need for alignment is greatly felt, but a solution is not readily known. So how can sales and marketing professionals align themselves to better engage with buyers?

Data-Driven Strategies
Some sales and marketing departments use automation tools in order to filter buyer data for campaigns. However, automation tools have not yet been able to deliver an integrated sales-to-revenue process that works in a way that matches the new buyer journey based on digital preferences. It has also not yet provided sales and marketing departments with a continuous process and path to greater revenue. Sales and marketing departments need to have a platform in place that allows their lead-to-revenue process to produce data-driven strategies based on clean data that can then be turned into targeted and personalized campaigns to better reach buyers. Here’s what that looks like:

Starting with clean data means starting with insight that’s vetted and verified to be accurate. Clean data includes only information on buyers that are interested in a company’s offerings and contact information that won’t fail. With that information readily at hand, sales and marketing departments can then use sales pipeline tools that allow for full transparency of campaigns and strategic insight from those campaigns for continued improvement around engagement.

If sales and marketing departments can track efforts from both departments in one dashboard and gain insight into how best to reach certain buyers, the amount of time spent trying to find the right buyer content will decrease significantly. This will also help agents know exactly where a buyer is in the sales process instead of wasting time playing catchup.  

Additionally, if campaigns are better understood then buyers can be better understood meaning much more personalized and targeted campaigns. Imagine knowing exactly which engagement tool a buyer prefers and knowing exactly what their pain points are. This takes all the guess work out of sales and marketing and leaves agents with time to better build relationships with buyers that will last a lifetime. The buyer will know a company understands them and will become a loyal buyer. This is the result every sales and marketing agent hopes for. With the right lead-to-revenue tools in place sales and marketing misalignment will be a thing of the past. 

Jim Hooker started Televerde in 1995 with a mission to help clients solve complex problems through market intelligence and demand generation programs. Prior to founding Televerde, Jim served as president and COO of Pacific Corp Capital, one of the top five diversified computer leasing companies in the U.S. He also served as an executive vice president for Pacific Atlantic formed through a merger with a Bell Atlantic subsidiary.