Listen Up Marketers, Salespeople Still Matter

by Adam Luckeroth, on May 26, 2015 2:25:28 PM

SiriusDecisions recently unveiled the results of their 2015 B2B Buyer Study, and further confirm what we’ve been saying all along, salespeople matter! According to this research, buyers are interacting with sales reps more than 50% of the time in earlier phases of the buying process. That’s right, touch points that were assumed to be lost to the internet and other digital channels are actually valuable opportunities for interaction between sales reps and customers.

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What insights can organizations like yours glean from this information? Read on!

Salespeople and the human connection are more important than ever

Marisa Kopec, Vice President and Group Director at SiriusDecisions, has a great perspective on the recent finding. Arguably, this should not be a “new” way of thinking, but Kopec states, “The new way to think about B2B buying is that human interactions still occur and matter and that the rise of digital marketing doesn't mean those interactions go away… It just means that buyers and providers are interacting in new digital ways. Just because buying behavior is done digitally does not mean that sales representatives are no longer required to instigate or facilitate a buying process.”

In short, Kopec says that the human element of selling is not replaced by technology. The research shows that as the complexity of a purchase increases, so does the amount of human interactions necessary throughout the sales cycle. As humans, we have the ability to perceive and address pain points in ways that technology might fall short. When involved in a complex sale, prospects desire this type of involved participation from the sales person to feel confident in their buying decisions.

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Jennifer Ross, Senior Research Director at SiriusDecisions, states, "We found that buyers interact with representatives during every stage of the decision-making process at least half the time, and that the type of decision – or buying scenario – greatly impacted the number and types of interactions."

Additionally, if a salesperson is not involved, the potential customer is left to seek out and interpret information on their own time instead of being delivered a personally tailored message that meets their specific needs. The human connection is more important than ever.

Align marketing and sales to achieve success

Marketing and sales alignment is essential throughout the entire sales funnel to deliver consistent messaging to a prospect, guide him/her through the funnel, and ultimately close the deal. Top sales teams use technology to ensure that they can deliver branded, marketing-approved content. Analytics and goal tracking allow marketing and sales to be on the same page.

You might be wondering why this is so important for the success of your business. According to Marketo, when you align your sales and marketing teams, you are 67% better at closing deals, with 108% less friction. Plus, you generate 209% more value from marketing. This infographic has more information on the benefits of sales and marketing alignment.

Sales enablement is critical

Sales enablement is helping salespeople do their jobs more effectively. There are several steps that that go into enabling a sales team, the first of which is hiring the right people. Once you have hired the right individuals for your organization, you can focus on finding ways to help salespeople do their jobs better, to “enable” them. Some examples include aligning marketing and sales teams and coordinating content and tools with the buying cycle.

The results of SiriusDecision’s 2015 B2B Buyer Study prove once again that technology can provide wonderful tools to enhance the sales process, but the human element is something that cannot be replaced.

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Topics:Sales & Marketing

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