By Nancy Selig
Vice President, Interactive Platforms Services
As stated in my earlier posts, when building Business Value tools into your organization, you first have to focus on demonstrating business outcomes, and quantifying the value of your service to clients and prospects. The final steps are automating the sales process wherever possible to create efficiencies, and integrating all these activities into your sales and marketing programs – which I’ll expand on below.
The end goal of this integration is straightforward. You want to take third party customer research and re-purpose it for use in multiple assets along the buyer’s journey. In practical terms, this means utilizing research for all kinds of lead campaigns whether in social media or content marketing campaigns. It means supporting campaigns with lead-gen tools – generating leads that can then be nurtured throughout the sales funnel. Inside sales can get involved with very actionable follow-up based on lead-gen tools and activities – an interactive process that can glean more information valuable to the sales team. In turn, the sales folks can use this information for very targeted conversations that further nurture the leads.
The sales tools that help bring automation to the conversation can be utilized to support workshops and events. Should you have a strong partner channel, interactive tools can enable your partners to have engaging two-way conversations with their partners as well.
It’s important to see the various mandates for the sales team – beginning with a focus on business outcomes and ending with integration – as part of an overall sales strategy. From the beginning, develop a message to position your products and services to target the business buyer – ultimately – it is the business buyer who makes the decision on what technology purchases the company will make.
It is the business buyer as well who determines what type of technology strategy the company is going to pursue over the next three to five years, and what types of results the company wants from those technology investments. So business outcomes are very key.
As for quantifying the value, develop your unique compelling value story. While every tech company has a case to make in support of digital transformation, you want to create a campaign that demonstrates howyour company and your solutions are different from your competitor’s when it comes to helping your customers achieve their business goals. This is your compelling value story.
Elevating the customer experience involves developing assets that reach all buyer personas – IT, line of business, and procurement. Engage your customers in a way that makes them feel like they’re having a conversation that’s going to help their company. In this vein, you will be seen as a trusted advisor, not as someone making a sales pitch. Then automating sales centers around pivoting conversations back around to business outcomes.
Ultimately, automation enables sales to guide the conversation from beginning to end. In the course of this conversation, your customer should recognize that whatever problems it has today, your company has the products and solutions to help overcome them. This discovery takes place in an automated way which helps sales think of itself as a problem solver as well as demystifies the process for the customer. And then finally, integrate everything together by developing end-to-end digital programs to exploit assets. It is often helpful to engage in a bit of “reverse engineering:” Begin by asking your customers about the target market, the specifics about whom they are trying to reach and what exactly are they trying to convince the target audience to do. Then work backwards from that – a process which will inform all the research and assets you’ll present to your customers.
As you change the selling process, you will also change the way customers think about you. And ultimately, this will drive new customers, more agility, better innovation – and more revenue.