So, where does that leave the salesperson? To succeed, sales professionals must understand how the buyer’s journey has changed and unlock the advantages that data analytics, predictive analytics, and statistical modeling can offer to the sales process.
The new buyer’s journey is data drivenThe traditional buyer's journey can be summed up in three parts: awareness, consideration, and decision. Today’s buyer’s journey is no longer linear or product-specific. The new buyer’s journey is shaped by his or her quest for information. Thanks to the internet and smart devices, people have access to more information than ever before, which has changed the way they look for solutions to their problems.
Instead of contacting a sales rep, your customer base is more likely to conduct its own research first. They are also turned off by pitches that repeat information they already know or are irrelevant. As a result, sales leaders need to understand the unique needs of B2B customers, which may encompass a team of decision makers. They must identify where exactly individual buyers are on their journey, what the buyer already knows, and where sales and marketing can add value.
Enter advanced analytics and big data. As generic and interruption-based advertising loses effectiveness, marketers and salespeople must find new ways to bring in leads and close deals. The smarter lead generation approach is for marketing to create materials the buyer is actively seeking out. This requires a close alignment between the marketing and sales teams to collect and act on the types of data insights that are available throughout and beyond the sales cycle.
Align sales with the buyer journey through sales data analysisUnderstanding the buyer’s intent and needs is essential for building an ongoing relationship and driving repeat sales. So, how can sales organizations innovate to stay ahead of buyer expectations? It starts with placing the buyer’s unique requirements at the forefront of all that they do.
Here are a few steps to aligning siloed sales activities and processes with the key friction points in the buyer experience to improve your overall marketing strategy.
Increase your data set by populating the buyer journey with personas.Build a buyer-focused journey map that shows the key objectives, activities, and conversions that buyers engage in as they make a purchase.
For example, in B2B buyer acquisitions, the buyer’s journey will likely include various types of buyers who play different roles in the purchase decision. In this case, it is useful to include multiple buyer types or personas in the journey and show how and when each is involved in the overall purchase. Personas are also a helpful tool for organizing the different expectations, needs, and behaviors of your buyers to deliver the appropriate response.
Use analytics tools to understand the buyer’s goalsYour buyers interact with your brand to fulfill specific wants, needs, or expectations, i.e., goals. A goal could be something specific, such as to get information about a certain product, or to explore options.
People leave a trail of behavioral information when they search websites, read an article on a company site, download content, or comment on a blog post. Computational models can capture relevant bits of information like this and piece it together with CRM data and other data systems to gain insight into the intent of a buyer.
B2b sales analytics is the key to understanding your customers (and your potential customers)Quotas and revenue targets will always be important standards for sales teams, but to succeed in today’s market, salespeople must prioritize the buyer or customer. At the same time, creating a sales organization that is buyer-responsive is an ongoing process. Being receptive to data insights and new ways of analyzing an issue will help sales organizations stay nimble and be disruptive instead of being disrupted.
In this blog post we've outlined just a few of the steps we recommend to leverage data analytics for B2B sales. To learn more about how to sell in a buyer-empowered world, check out our eBook, “7 Steps to Integrate B2B Sales and Marketing With Data.”