Last week –– along with 3000 other marketing and sales professionals –– I descended upon the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee for the 11th annual SiriusDecisions Summit.
In addition to making incredible connections with key customers, having insightful conversations with SiriusDecisions Analysts, and networking with sales and marketing leaders at the Summit, I was glad to make time to do some learning.
Candidly, I gravitated to the sessions that focused on Sales, Sales Enablement, and Sales Operations, but the topic that resonated with me the most was around messaging. With so many great sessions, there was a lot of information to take in, but here were my main takeaways.
#1 The B2B sales rep is still vitally important in the digital age
Messaging is such a key component to the sales and marketing function. And while marketing has a huge responsibility to understand the buyer and develop messaging that is going to be impactful along the various stages of the buyers journey, according to Sirius Decisions data presented by Heather Cole and Christine Polewarczyk, B2B sales reps are vitally essential during every stage of the buyer’s journey with regard to how and when they deliver the content. While 79% of buyers found content very or extremely influential in making purchase decisions, 68% said that their interactions with salespeople were similarly influential. Salespeople who leverage content — particularly early in the sales cycle — were more likely to close deals.
While 79% of buyers find content very or extremely influential in making purchase decisions, 68% said that their interactions with salespeople were similarly influential.
Also key in this equation is that B2B buyers interact with sales reps during every phase of the buyer’s journey – even during that famous first 67% of the journey that takes place digitally.
#2 Don’t overlook the value of the sales presentation
So, as I mentioned earlier, digital buying behaviors are not squeezing out the role of the B2B sales professional. Far from it. What’s more, the sales presentation itself is one of the two biggest influences in the buying decision (tied for first place with the analyst report).
The sales presentation is one of the two biggest influences in the buying decision (tied for first place with the analyst report).
And while the sales presentation is important, we shouldn’t ignore the seller delivering the information or the story that accompanies the slides. Sales reps need to be enabled on not only how to build an effective sales presentation but also on how to effectively deliver the key messages and value that brings the presentation to life. In fact, SiriusDecisions says that the number one reason sales reps fail to hit their quota is their inability to articulate value.
#3 The key to moving a deal forward is aligning the sales process to the buyers’ journey
I don’t believe this is a new concept for most sales and marketing professionals, however, Tony Jaros stated in his keynote that 67% of sales organizations still have not implemented a buyer-aligned sales process and buyers are not one of the five pillars of intelligent growth. The next-generation Attribute-Based Sales process drives sales organizations to define interlocked buyer and seller attributes, and helps map opportunity DNA. Presented by Steven Silver, Peter Ostrow and Heather Cole, it illustrates beautifully how to map buyer attributes and activities with seller attributes and activities.
67% of sales organizations still have not implemented a buyer-aligned sales process and buyers are not one of the five pillars of intelligent growth. Tony Jaros
Whether you agree or have a counterpoint to my key takeaways, I’d certainly welcome the opportunity to further share our approach to effective sales messaging, delivery, and value articulation.