There’s nothing worse for B2B salespeople than wasting time. Finding, qualifying, and working leads into opportunities and revenue takes time. And more efficient processes mean accelerated revenue velocity. Time is of the essence.
In my role as CEO and CMO of a fast-growing SaaS company, I have the unique perspective of both a marketer and CEO. Sales and marketing alignment isn’t even a question. It’s a way of life. Our own software platform enables rapid deployment, testing, and measurement of interactive content — quizzes, assessments, calculators, configurators, interactive infographics, lookbooks, interactive white papers, etc. Using our platform, our marketing engages in an enlightening dialogue with prospects — a dialogue that must be contextually and succinctly communicated to our sales team.
We solved the common marketing/sales divide problem by looking at the entire customer experience as one seamless communication that starts online and continues on the phone.
Here’s how we start a marketing dialogue online, learn from it, and pick up the human dialogue in sales — right where the digital dialogue left off. There’s very little wasted time and energy.
From the earliest stage of the buyer’s journey, we use interactive content marketing. We build awareness, generate leads and demand, and accelerate sales by putting highly engaging content and tools in front of prospects — experiences like assessments, quizzes, calculators, interactive infographics, and interactive white papers. Those experiences establish a two-way digital dialogue where prospects make explicit choices that become the foundation of their relationship with us. This is qualitatively much better than inference-derived data often referred to as the digital body language that comes out of passive behaviors with old-school content like PDF white papers, web page visits, or webinar views.
Based on explicit data, our marketing team quickly and reliably appreciates each prospect for who they are and how well they fit as potential customers. This allows our marketing messaging to get more specific much faster — accelerating best bets through the buyer’s journey.
Data from the buyer’s journey flows from our interactive content platform into our marketing automation platform, Pardot. Since this type of data is intended only for automation, it can be mashed up into a single field, keeping integration and scalability agile. Prospects are then automatically segmented, scored, and selectively surfaced to sales using automation rules in Pardot. Again, because these automations are triggered by explicit data learned through personal interactivity, scoring and segmentation are reliable and relevant.
From our prospect’s perspective, interactive content provides the self-discovery they want. Across all stages of the journey, we enable them to take away best practices, assess their own performance and potential, calculate upside and pricing, and even configure what it’s like to implement our platform. We usher them along using a three-week cadence nurture email program that directs them to our interactive assets. Each time they respond builds on previous interactions, making their next experience more relevant.
We get a data feed from their journey. In some cases, they travel deep into the late stage before raising a hand. In others they surface earlier. And in many cases we don’t wait for the inbound at all — our sales team reaches out to ‘best bets’ surfaced to them based on data from the digital dialogue.
But this is the point in the sales and marketing alignment continuum where things often break down. The typical problem with all the data at marketing’s fingertips is that very little of it is actionable by sales. Sales needs to quickly and succinctly understand the person. And that picture is tough to see through hundreds of data points.
The way we solve giving the sales team context is with a ‘sell-side’ view of a buyer’s interactions with our content. This allows our sales team to instantly see the results of that buyer’s interactions — prices calculated, pains rated, challenges tallied — all within the context of the actual experience. This is the puzzle piece that enables sales to seamlessly and efficiently begin their dialogue — meeting the buyer at his or her point of interest. There’s no backtracking. No annoying redundancy for the buyer. No deciphering of cryptic data points for the sales rep. And most importantly, no wasted time.