Optimization. That has been the term we have heard the most in recent months.
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that our clients continue to ask us to help them optimize their acquisition, demand generation, lead process, data, and reporting efforts. What has stood out the most to me, though, are the steadily increasing requests to help them optimize their sales enablement efforts.
Here are some of the statements and requests I am hearing from my clients:
- “We need to consider what a high-touch, digital sales experience is like in B2B.”
- “We have to do more with less sales headcount.”
- “My field sales team has largely ignored using Salesforce properly. What can we do for them?”
- “We need to revisit how Marketing and Sales can work smarter together.”
- “There is no buying now.”
During these uncertain times, one thing is clear: Sales will forever be transformed by a stay-at-home, less mobile, more digital workforce.
A few of my predictions:
When the world returns to “normal”
|Sales are taking longer to close||A mix of high-touch, personalized digital experiences and an in-person/virtual close|
|Prospects are not in an active buying phase||Once budgets are freed up, a mad spending spree with shorter sales cycles to “catch up”|
|Uncertainty about what sales and marketing look like when this is over||A digital world with less noise, more empathy, and focused selling. Fewer “feet on the street”|
|Being reactive and relying on your gut||A renewed focused on data-driven decision-making with marketing and sales investments|
How MarTech can save Sales
There is no definitive answer yet as to what works best. As organizations look to optimize across people, technology, data, and analytics, however, we have begun to see some clear areas of focus:
Sales Enablement Strategy
|Account-based targeting & expansion||Contact discovery||Engagement tools like Conversica (AI-driven connections) and Drift (chat)|
|Account & contact insights||Account & intent augmentation||Account dashboards informed by intent and engagement data (MA) and delivered through BI|
|Lifecycle content distribution with a content marketing tool||Customer journey analytics||Email/SMS/Social templates like Outreach and SalesLoft scaled through automation tools|
|Intent & data augmentation||Personalization tools like PathFactory and Uberflip for distributing content and informing sales engagement|
|Conversion optimization of high-value actions & transactions||Direct campaigns for meeting maker and eGifting like Sendoso and PFL|
Digital transformation has been interrupted — or accelerated, depending on how you look at it. For Sales, this is a never-ending “Survivor” episode where someone is out after each commercial break (in this case, each quarter). Marketing is suffering as well, with event marketing functions feeling it the most. However, demand is high for digital marketers and low for field sales.
For the record, I do not believe there is a world without salespeople. Selling is ultimately a personal experience and machines cannot replace that completely.
What I do believe, and I feel strongly about this, is that successful companies are going to find a broader balance of digital self-service and ecommerce. And I believe marketers are well-positioned to help Sales survive their pipeline disruption with optimized sales enablement strategies.
What do you think? How has your organization responded during these uncertain times? How do you think marketers can help navigate the way forward?
Will Waugh is a consultant for DemandGen focused on helping clients with demand generation, lead management and leveraging marketing technology. He genuinely believes that data can change the world. Follow him on on Twitter. Other articles by Will Waugh: What Is Demand Generation in 2020?