Today’s (B2B) buyers might be anywhere from two-thirds to 90% of the way through their journey before they reach out to the vendor. Lori Wizdo, Forrester Research
67 percent of the buyer’s journey is now done digitally. Sirius Decisions
Don’t call us we’ll call you. It’s almost become a truism to say that prospects will only get in touch when they are ready. After all, the internet has empowered us to become more informed consumers. Most of us read reviews, compare prices, get peer recommendations, before any major purchase. It stands to reason that consumers take that same measured approach when making buying decisions at their job.
But that’s just one side of the story. What’s missing from this discussion is that the access to information that benefits buyers can also help the seller in equal measure. Simply put, your prospects are leaving digital footprints on the public web. If read properly, they can help you sell smarter.
So how can you, as a seller, get an edge? Consider this article in a local area newspaper discussing how schools are gearing up for the deluge of data hungry devices.
As local superintendents explain, there first must be an infrastructure in place to facilitate broadband Internet access for a number of devices. Administrations must then choose the best platforms for their students from an overwhelmingly long list of options.
It goes on the explain:
In Attleboro, installing a wireless infrastructure in schools will cost about \$2 million and take at least another year, according to Attleboro Superintendent Kenneth Sheehan. ”In an aggressive way, I would like to have it completed by Sept. 1, 2014. In a realistic way, I believe it’ll be done by Jan. 1, 2015,” Sheehan said, adding that even the January deadline is optimistic.
If your company sells networking products, the news clipping above is of great interest to you because it alerts you to a potential sale very early in the buying cycle.What’s more, the news clipping has identified the key decision maker and planned time line for the infrastructure upgrade.
It’s not just newspaper clippings. Your prospects are giving buying signals every where. The following is from a regulatory filing by a major public utility in California. The document lists all the planned spending in various categories over the next five years. In particular consider the excerpt below.
The utility plans to fund more than \$17 million towards its disaster recovery operations - information of immense value to firms providing this service.
Now, these aren’t one-off examples. Every day your prospects are talking about their business needs and objectives on discussion boards, budget presentations, conferences and a whole host of other public forums. But finding these bits of information isn’t easy.
First, you need to sift through mountains of irrelevant noise on the public web to identify promising leads. Next, this data, which is culled from disparate sources, has to be organized and systematically routed to businesses, and individuals within that business, that value it most. \
At Compile, we have now proven in a variety of companies, large and small, that sell many different end products, that we can solve both challenges. In the process we provide a unique value to the B2B seller - helping your team meet its targets by delivering leads that are tied to a definite buying action.
None of this is to say that you or your team’s job is now easy. You still own the burden of crafting the appropriate message that resonates with these prospects. You still have to position your product against the competition on dimensions that matter to the buyer.
But you now have all the context behind the sale, and can craft your pitch accordingly. Even better, you can now focus a lot more of your time on higher value marketing and sales function, and a lot less on the blind search for qualified targets.
A level of lead qualification that previously was impossible without a 30 minute dialog with a prospect, can now be accomplished before you ever connect.
Maybe the seller isn’t so disadvantaged after all.
We can make a difference to our customers by thinking through what matters to them, by putting ourselves in their shoes, and by focusing on how we can help create a better experience for them.