The new B2B buying cycle. Do you have the right tools for sales success? p 1

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1 The new B2B buying cycle Do you have the right tools for sales success? p 1

2 Table of Contents 3 Introduction 4 The new B2B buyers what do they look like? 6 - The impact on sales and marketers? 7 - Marketing and sales must work hand-in-hand 9 - The role of Account Based Marketing in the new buying cycle What is Account Based Marketing (ABM)? 10-5 steps to implementing ABM 11 - How tracking and nurturing through your ABM automation system works 12 Conclusion p 2

3 Introduction Sales success - when confronted with today s new B2B buying cycle - requires passion and hard work. But it also involves new technology. Whether we like it or not, today s buying cycle is firmly anchored in a digital age in which B2B companies cannot must not afford to ignore the new sales and marketing digital tools at hand. We need these tools to tackle our emerging some might say accelerating digital times. One method that has gained massive traction in the B2B world is marketing automation. Essentially this is an effective tool for nurturing inbound prospects with until they show an interest to buy. However, today most companies are disillusioned with their marketing automation. WHY? Because it focuses: - On prospects and not on accounts - On quantity and not quality - On inbound interest, not on the accounts sales want to win Plus: - Most inbound leads represent small opportunities - 95% of website visitors leave without filling in forms - 80% of s are never read 25% OF FORTUNE 500 B2B COMPANIES HAVE ADOPTED MARKETING AUTOMATION, CLICKZ FORTUNE 500 B2B ADOPTION OF MARKETING TOOLS STUDY (2013). p 3

4 The new B2B buyers what do they look like? At the heart of the new B2B buying cycle is the buyer. And it is an unassailable truth that in recent years the B2B buyer has evolved to become a digital savvy, master/ mistress of the Internet with a strong taste for social media. Outside of work in their everyday consumer life, buyers are increasingly turning to digital tools to find solutions and to help them make purchasing decisions. Away from their B2B world, buyers as consumers will pop onto Trip Advisor to check out reviews for a hotel they might stay in, or visit AirBnB to book vacation accommodation. They ll buy their own flights, order clothes, buy books, and maybe even purchase car parts. All these decisions are independent of the influence of a sales rep. The consumer-buyer has been liberated and empowered. They re more mobile, and heavily influenced by online content, both at home and at work. According to a recent study by IDC, a massive 75% of B2B buyers are influenced by social media for their B2B purchases p 4

5 Purchasing decisions: the B2B buyer goes solo Thanks to easy access to content, buyers today are self-sufficient. Indeed, they might make their way through a massive 90% of the purchase journey before they make a call or contact the sales person [Forrester, Buyer Behavior Helps B2B Marketers Guide the Buyers Journey, 2012]. Buyers would previously call the sales person early on during the buying cycle for valuable insights into products/services/the company et al. Today the potential B2B buyer can easily dig into big data, turning to swathes of relevant information online to answer their B2B questions. That initial scoping call to the sales person has become a thing of the past, a distant memory along with the fax machine and hand-written letters. BEFORE, A B2B BUYER CALLED A SALES PERSON RIGHT AWAY AND HE WOULD ANSWER ALL YOUR QUESTIONS. NOW, THE LAST PERSON HE WILL CALL IS THE SALES PERSON, NICK HEYS, CEO, AZALEAD. Buyers are now less reliant on sales teams to provide all the required data and details to make an informed purchase decision. In other words there s been a shift in the balance of power. The buyer is more in charge now. p 5

6 The impact on sales and marketers? What does this mean for B2B sales teams and marketers? As a result of the buyer s self-sufficiency, today it has become harder to influence the buying decision and the buyer s purchasing journey. In order to be truly effective, B2B sales and marketing operations need to understand that the new buyer - born into the brave new digital world has changed form. Actions taken by marketing and sales teams must reflect this evolution. They must rapidly adopt fresh, effective methods and tools to influence today s self-sufficient B2B buyer along their purchasing journey. HOW? Crucially, businesses must be more present at the beginning of the buyer s discovery process. Your business needs to leverage effective digital tools to build awareness, attract, harness, nurture and capture sales. When the buyer is ready to engage with a vendor, you need to make sure you are the first to reach out. Digital details will absolutely influence the decision-making process for your prospects. Recent research, for example, suggests that content on vendor sites needs to be spot on to convert leads. According to DemandGen, 64% of B2B buyers say that vendor content has a significant impact on their buying decision. And out of every 100 visitors that come to your website, only five of them will fill out a form [SiriusDecisions Benchmark Study] that could be 95 prospects effectively walking out the door without leaving a trace for follow-up and nurturing. p 6

7 Marketing and sales must work hand-in-hand In the context of the new B2B buying process, a universal truth frequently overlooked is that sales and marketing teams should be working side-by-side to accomplish common goals. Deciding target accounts and strategies to target your prospects, identifying the right content to communicate, and selecting the right tools to ultimately lock-in sales at the bottom of the buying funnel is a job for both sales and marketing teams. Indeed, one of the major developments for the new B2B buying cycle is the necessity for marketing and sales teams to work together from the beginning. They must be aligned. To be truly effective, marketing needs to run down the buying funnel from the top, while sales need to jump into the funnel much earlier. Today Awareness Your ideal! Interest Marketing Compare Evaluation Marketing Sales Sales Purchase Source: Effinity B2B Marketing Agency p 7

8 Making a difference in the new buying cycle means B2B marketing must evolve In practice, real steps to alignment need a common vocabulary including Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and Target Account, and Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL). There must be open communication between sales and marketing teams no Chinese walls permitted; metrics to track; and follow-ups to identify any disconnections in the marketing or sales process. Making a difference also means marketers must follow-up on the MQL s they gave the sales teams to close the loop How many MQL s convert to sales opportunities? What is the sales pipeline value of my MQL s? One progressive - and effective - way to ensure sales and marketing teams are aligned is through Account Based Marketing (ABM). WHY? Because today s B2B buyer is not alone. In B2B, many people are involved in the buying process. This means that sales and marketing teams need to see their target company not as one buyer but as many buyers. They need to treat customers as accounts. And this is not just for firms that target massive organizations. With new technologies, ABM is now applicable to businesses of all sizes. B2B MARKETERS SEE AN AVERAGE 20% INCREASE IN SALES OPPORTUNITIES FROM NURTURED LEADS VERSUS NON-NURTURED LEADS AFTER SUCCESSFULLY DEPLOYING A LEAD NURTURING PROGRAM, DEMANDGEN, CALCULATING THE REAL ROI FROM LEAD NURTURING, (AUG 2013). p 8

9 The role of Account Based Marketing in the new buying cycle What is Account Based Marketing (ABM)? With ABM, sales and marketing teams work together to come up with a list of named target accounts that are most likely to buy. The ABM strategy is often initiated by top management with the support of both the head of sales and head of marketing. So, what are the key benefits? - With sales and marketing resources focused on the same targets - sales performance improves with higher lead to sales conversion, fewer cold calls and faster sales cycles. SALES MARKETING MORE lead to sales conversion FEWER cold calls FASTER sales cycles p 9

10 How can you implement ABM? Here s how in 5 steps 1 Analyze your best customers and the most active companies on your website. What are their common criteria? Beyond details such as revenues or employees, the criteria should be specific and relatively easy to identify perhaps they use the same software, or are members of a particular trade association? Once you ve identified this list of common criteria you can define your ideal customer profile (ICP). 2 Come up with a list of accounts that match your ICP. Start with a small list first. They will become the targeted accounts that your sales and marketing forces will focus on. 3 Get to work on LinkedIn to identify all the buyers and influencers in each account, ensure contact details are correct. Come up with a plan to educate and nurture the contacts at your target accounts with targeted and social and display ad messages that might include webinars, White Papers, or specific invitations for VIP events. 4 And finally 5 Automate and scale your program using an account-based marketing automation system. p 10

11 How your ABM automation system works 1. With the TARGET module, your sales and marketing teams will see which companies have anonymously visited your website to help them identify and target the highest value accounts Sales reps synch their target accounts with their sales pipeline in their CRM. Sales reps will get alerts when their target accounts visit your website - including details of which pages, ads or s they have viewed. This timely sales intelligence will give your sales reps a competitive advantage when closing their deals. 2. With the B2B AD NURTURING module, you automatically send sequenced display ads to your target accounts throughout the buying cycle Only identified businesses will get your ads, regardless of whether they are on your list or not. You ll find your leads moving efficiently from enquiry to lead to sale. 3. The MARKETING ANALYTICS Module will provide actionable insight to measure your marketing and sales impact with target accounts. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing sales and marketing working together towards measurable success! ABM IS THE MOST SUCCESSFUL B2B MARKETING STRATEGY, UNDERLINES ITSMA. p 11

12 THE RESULT? Ensuring your sales and marketing teams are aligned to focus on the same key accounts - and embracing a powerful, Account-Based Marketing automation system to identify, target and nurture these accounts - will translate into higher close rates with strategic accounts, shorter sales cycles and significantly better sales and marketing performance. Conclusion The time for dispersed, broad and unfocused B2B marketing campaigns is finished. The brave new digital world we inhabit has irreversibly impacted the B2B buying cycle, and the buyer that operates within it. Don t let old habits obstruct new sales opportunities. Embrace the change by locking-in ABM automation solutions to track, nurture and hook the new digital savvy B2B buyer. Azalead p 12

13 DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES TIED TO MARKETING WILL MULTIPLY BY 10 OVER THE NEXT 10 YEARS, FOUNDATION CAPITAL. Stop wasting time and energy with random marketing. Accelerate sales with Account Based Marketing. With Azalead your sales and marketing teams are aligned around the same target accounts - to bring in the best clients, faster. Request a demo. 426 W Broadway New York, NY 10012, USA Paol Desforges 10 rue la Boétie Paris, France Hervé Paolini Visit us at Follow us on p 13

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