How do you think B2B buyer attitudes have changed in the post pandemic world? What should organisations be doing differently to improve their customer acquisition?
Before the pandemic, you could rely on external calling houses and demand generation agencies, for tried and tested B2B and ABM activity. That’s more difficult now because we were relying on people being in the office.
Lots of B2B lead generation relied upon data like work addresses and desk numbers. Now, with people working from home, even the simplest ‘surprise and delight’ campaigns are going unopened. We sent some of our pantry packages to prospects and they were telling us, “Thanks, that’s amazing, but I’m not in the office.”
Previously, buyers weren’t exactly a captive audience but as a marketer, you knew where they were, and it was fairly simple to go and engage with them. Whereas now, they’re at home and you’re dealing with their personal life, and they can be much more selective in who they do and don’t want to deal with.
Before the pandemic, I think buyers proactively reaching out to a brand were 50 to 60% of the way through the buying journey. I think now, the people who are in front of us that we want to influence are probably 75% of the way through the buying journey. It’s harder to influence them, and have engaged conversations.
What role do you think humans will play in customer acquisition in an increasingly digital buyer journey?
I think the B2B buying cycle is generally more complex than in B2C. It takes longer and requires people to have more in-depth understanding and empathy with potential customers.
We’re dealing with long contracts and break clauses and hundreds of thousands of pounds. People are naturally risk-averse and they want to buy from people rather than an unknown source. B2B is very different to buying as a consumer. You aren’t buying for selfish reasons, but there is still an emotional component to the buying decision.
B2B sales often falls into the trap of focusing on the functionality, but we need to help customers overcome their fears about spending a lot of money, and focus on the culture of the business you’re selling to, alongside the functionality. It’s about helping customers to see that your product answers the need, and your brand fills their emotional need.
“I think the B2B buying cycle is generally more complex than in B2C. It takes longer and requires people to have more in-depth understanding and empathy with potential customers”.
“To make the most of the potential of marketing, we need to stop operating in silos and find a way to provide email and tele-marketing teams with seamless data sharing”.
What changes should organisations like yours make to more closely align marketing and telemarketing functions to digital marketing?
There are a lot of myths about telemarketing, it can have a poor reputation but telemarketing doesn’t have to be spam, any more than email or any other communication. Done well, telemarketing can be extremely effective, especially if it is well-timed.
There will always be a place for digital and telemarketing. People are embarrassed about investing in telemarketing today, just as ten years ago they were embarrassed to invest in email. Eventually, email found its place and a new name in marketing automation. Perhaps telemarketing just needs a new name!
We’re in a transitional phase of digital and telemarketing, and there is a lot of fear and confusion. To make the most of the potential of marketing, we need to stop operating in silos and find a way to provide email and tele-marketing teams with seamless data sharing.
I think often marketing and sales work in separate bubbles, and people can become territorial about ‘their’ data. There isn’t any communication across teams, which just reinforces the silo. We need to build a culture that puts aside ego, and creates one team that shares data to work towards shared goals and deliver a better customer experience across all marketing channels. That means finding a way to integrate data and present the right information at the right time, to both parties, so they understand what’s happening in the real world and in phone conversations.
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