When I was on territory selling big ticket ERP, Retail, and Supply Chain software solutions, I spent the best part of a 9 month sales cycle digging deep into a prospect's organisation, understanding the motivations, politics and pain points of the various buyers, decision makers, recommenders, and evaluation teams.
As a sales team, we worked to tried and tested sales methodologies, trying to find the ‘fox’ and nurturing all the players with different valuable information to meet their specific needs, countering competitive threats and answering objections.
It was a Solution Sale. It required patience, delivery of information at the right time, a game plan that all the sales and marketing team bought into, and a process to move them towards a decision.
The trouble was that you only had so much bandwidth to run complex campaigns. With all that effort ploughed into 2 or 3 big prospects, you had to qualify hard to ensure you were working on quality prospects and that you closed the deal to make your target. The downside of the limited bandwidth was that potential leads that weren’t ready to buy slipped off the radar and were possibly lost to competitors. Sales people needed to meet targets and they only worked on the ones that would get them there.
Complex sales haven’t changed, it’s just as hard, but the ground has now shifted even more in favour of the buyers, decision makers, and recommenders. They have access to a plethora of information through all the various digital channels and are better informed about possible solutions to meet their needs, who the possible solutions providers are, what 3rd party analysts think of solutions and companies, better access to case studies and reviews….all before you have a chance to engage with them.
With the emphasis shifting to buying cycles rather than sales cycles, all of the understanding of buyer personas, engagement, delivery of the right information at the right time, nurturing, and qualification through lead scoring needs to happen before sales get engaged.
Complex B2B Sales and Marketing never gets any easier. In fact with the ground shifting, it's imperative that companies selling complex B2B solutions adapt and change, and align their sales and marketing to match the needs of the buyer and their journey.
The Intellegentia demand generation process has taken the best of sales methodologies and merged them with B2B marketing techniques and tools to deliver a process of progressing leads through the pipeline.
The benefits of the demand generation process and sales and marketing teams that are perfectly aligned are better qualified and quality leads for sales to work on, increased deal size, lower cost per lead, decreased cost to convert leads, less lead leakage. Interested in the key benefits of having optimised sales and marketing? Read our blog ... 5 key benefits of sales and marketing alignment for technology companies
Mike has worked for a number of top B2B IT software companies including IBM, Marcam, Baan, i2 Technologies. Intellegentia provides focused demand generation solutions to help companies generate leads and retain customers.