It used to be popular among B2B companies to say they were “sales-led” or “product-driven.”
But in today’s world, that’s no longer something that will push you above your competition. It’s the baseline.
This post will show you why being sales-led will not grow your business.
The buyer journey has changed dramatically
2002 isn’t just a long time ago, chronologically. It’s also ages ago in terms of the sales cycle.
Previously, sales used to be the gateway to an organization. Sales teams would contact prospects or vice versa, and that’s the only way prospects could get the information they needed on pricing, services, products, etc. in order to make an informed decision.
B2B brands generally felt that if they had a good product and a sales team that was willing to hit the pavement and make calls, then they could grow their business.
That’s changed spectacularly. For one thing, having a good product and a decent sales team is the ticket to entry these days. If you have those, you’ve earned the right to do business—but not much beyond that.
Today, of course, that information is widely available online (and if yours isn’t, here’s why you need to change that). This is due to a combination of buyers demanding more information, and a whole bunch of changes that going digital brought to the marketplace.
According to Gartner, your prospects are already 60% through the buying cycle before they even get to sales.
In other words: They’ve already decided. They know who they want to work with. They’re really looking for validation at that point, which, If you talk to your sales team, is how it should be. Prospects who come ready to buy are also the easiest to close, by far.
But if your prospects are that far through the buying cycle by the time they get to you, then you’ve really got to look at marketing as so much more than an on-demand collateral factory. Marketing’s job is not just to get sales what they need. B2B marketing is what gets the prospect to your brand in the first place, and helps them along that 60% of the journey that they’re covering on their own.
Putting all this pressure on sales, as if sales is the first encounter with buyers, is no longer realistic. You need to arm your sales team with more than a good landing page and some ads.
Another statistic to note: Forrester’s research found that in 2019 it took 17 interactions to go from prospect to customer.
Today it takes 21 interactions.
That could be multiple things, seeing an ad, seeing an article about your brand in Forbes, talking to a colleague who recommends your brand, etc.
You can no longer afford to be sales-led or product-driven. That’s a given if you’re competing in the digital age.
Instead, start thinking about your brand as revenue-led, or trust-led org. These are the things that will put you above your competition in 2021. As Zen’s founder Shama Hyder always says, recall drives revenue.
What are you doing to increase your brand recall? We can help.