Examples of the Interactive Journey in Sales

Making Explicit Buyer Data Actionable for Sales

ion recently added an innovative new capability to our interactive content platform. Sell-Side focuses on surfacing data from the buyer’s interactive journey to the sales team. Unlike analytics, Sell-Side surfaces an actual timeline of the buyer’s interactive touchpoints and enables the salesperson to instantly see what the buyer did. All of this is in context of how they expressed explicit, descriptive data around their needs, priorities, budgets and capabilities. It’s literally unprecedented for sales to have actionable access to data of this quality.

Real-World Examples of Buyer Timelines

Since this is an entirely new concept, I thought I’d share real-world examples of how ion uses Sell-Side to align marketing and sales. Hopefully, this will stimulate some ideas for how you could surface high-value insights to your sales team. Keep in mind that the whole idea of Sell-Side is that it surfaces whatever data is of highest value to you and your sales team. These examples show what’s important for me to communicate to sales as ion’s CMO.

For privacy reasons, I'm using my own buyer data as the example here. Each buyer’s timeline is automagically generated for him or her and is a personal and specific reflection of their interactions. Buyer timelines are private and secure.

Sales Insight: Content Consumption

How a buyer consumes content over the course of their interactive journey can say a lot about their engagement and maturity. Our sales team really gobbles up our white paper and eBook content consumption visualizations (like the one below)…

Here you can see my personal buyer’s Sell-Side Timeline (on the left). I am the 'buyer' (that’s my Gravatar automagically pulled into my user profile) in this case and everything I’ve done across my interactive journey is illustrated in my timeline. This screenshot shows what a salesperson would see when they looked at my timeline and clicked into my most recent touchpoint — a 'consumption' Sell-Side that shows how much of an interactive asset I consumed.

Some touchpoints in the buyer’s interactive journey may not be worthy of sales deep diving into exchanged data. Sell-Side makes it easy to visually disregard those by rendering them differently (without a rectangular screenshot). The idea is that it’s fast and efficient for salespeople to scan a Sell-Side Timeline and know what’s important.

Sales Insight: Quantitative Readiness

Calculators can provide some pretty incredible sales insights into fit and quality. Budget, pricing and solution calculators have obvious value, but our sales team also uses other calculators (like our 'value calculator, shown below) to help them understand fit…

Earlier in my buyer’s journey, I interacted with a value calculator. How and what I calculated helps sales understand my scale and needs as a potential customer.

Earlier in my buyer’s journey, I interacted with a value calculator. How and what I calculated helps sales understand my scale and needs as a potential customer.

ion has several calculators in its interactive journey. Here’s a Sell-Side that shows how the buyer configured their solution and calculated their budget. Knowing where buyers stand in terms of readiness and qualification helps sales engage with more relevance and specificity.

Sales Insight: Qualitative Readiness

ion uses a lot of interactive self assessments in our buyer’s journey. If you’re in a nascent market that benefits from education or nurturing of a new concept, assessments are a great way to understand common needs, maturity and readiness across your universe. Our ‘program builder’ helps buyers set their priorities and the Sell-Side of that experience helps our sales team understand which buyers have priorities that align with our solution.

Assessments generally provide a treasure trove of potentially valuable data. As you can see in our Sell-Side for our program builder, sales is provided with a clear roadmap of the buyer’s priorities.

Sales Coaching: What It All Means

Often, just visualizing how a buyer responded isn’t enough. In those cases, our Sell-Sides are augmented with highly specific sales coaching that helps the salesperson better understand the context and meaning behind responses. Everything you see in gold type below is personalized, answer-specific sales coaching.

This Sell-Side shows how the buyer answered our Content Marketing Assessment, but it also provides answer-specific sales coaching to help the sales team add value to the answers as they converse with the buyer. Here marketing is giving sales backup facts and tips that are dynamically shown based on the specific answers the buyer provided.

How Our Sales Team Uses Sell-Side

When an ion rep ends up on a call with a prospect, they’re looking at the lead’s Salesforce record. Right there, within the lead view, they get access to the lead’s ion Sell-Side Timeline. This provides them with instant, real-time status of where the lead is in their digital journey and helps them pick up the conversation right at that point of interest. Since sales has full awareness of everything the lead has done, they don’t need to rehash any of it. They can immediately move the conversation and the sale forward — intelligently and seamlessly picking up where the digital journey left off.

I hope these examples help stimulate your own ideas of how you could leverage the interactive journey for your sales team.