The average B2B buyer is 57% of the way through the purchase decision before engaging a supplier sales rep.
Early. Early. Early.
It feels like a universal theme in sales and marketing these days: your best bet at closing a prospect is to engage with them early. Unfortunately there are limits to how far in advance you can reach your customer. Perhaps someday, in the not too distant future, it will be possible to plant the seed of an idea in your prospect’s mind. But until then are we limited by finite boundaries of space and time?
It turns out that there are signals that your customers give out which are good indicators of an eventual purchase. If you decipher these signals correctly, you can be alerted to opportunities before the buying cycle begins.
Consider a few scenarios.
A local school district has just announcedplans to build five new schools in the area. The event here is the construction of new schools. If you play this out, each new school will require new I.T. infrastructure including a wireless network. If your company sells networking gear, this is a good time to engage with the school district and educate them on your product. You could even design customized solutions that increase the stickiness for your product. All this before a formal proposal is issued.
A major retailer has notified its customers that it was the victim of a security attack. The event here is the security breach, but it clearly points to an impending review of the bank’s security perimeter. As a vendor of security solutions, your company can reach out to the retailer when the breach was made public to discuss possible solutions.
In the examples above, the actual buying cycle for the wireless products or security solution has not begun. However the trigger event - a new building construction or a security breach - clearly indicates that there is a need for your product or solution area. The challenge of course is being alerted to these trigger events.
Unfortunately most lead sources today are static, i.e. they are a list of phone numbers and emails, with no link to customer activity. There are some that alert you to organisational changes in your target accounts. But few solutions can link an event today with a sale in the future.
It’s a difficult problem because identifying opportunities based on events that are relevant to your product requires an understanding of your business, your product area. Difficult, but not impossible.
At Compile, we have built an engine that uses machine smarts to flag these trigger events. The computer then pairs this information with your product portfolio to determine if there’s a future sales opportunity. If so, our customers are notified before the opportunity formalizes into a buying cycle.
We may not create leads Inception-style, but we do identify them early.
By leveraging data-science and machine learning techniques, demand generation teams can now automate the opportunity identification process, completely reshaping how public sector marketing is driven.