Last week Justin blogged about his passion for the digital dialogue, explaining “The digital dialogue is a marketing conversation that takes place before personal selling.”
The thing is, this digital conversation isn’t just a marketing thing. When used correctly, insights and data gathered from the ‘digital dialogue’ can help guide the sales conversation significantly. As Justin explained,
When sales has access to this two-way communication, it helps inform conversations, making the entire experience with your company seamless for the buyer.
As a sales leader at ion, I’ve always been obsessed with the concept of ‘meeting the buyer at the point of interest’. It’s incumbent upon sales to not drag a buyer through some sort of rigorous pre-defined process, but rather to start the conversation based upon where the buyer is in their journey. The best sales people instantly (intuitively, perhaps?) pick up on this and know how to shape their conversations accordingly. Buyers appreciate connecting with a sales person who is knowledgeable enough to make it all about them.
The concept of the marketing department providing insights to the sales department is nothing new.
With the capabilities of marketing automation, and other buyer insight tools, it’s common for sales to know what visitors downloaded and what pages they hit. That’s pretty much table stakes these days.
But the digital dialogue Justin refers to goes much deeper than hits to pages and content downloads. He’s really talking about interactions with your content and a feedback loop where that interaction is impacting the outcomes the buyer has with the content.
Here at ion if a visitor to our site downloads a white paper or hits a page, sales knows this. Of course. Just like every inside B2B sales team. But really this information isn’t all that illuminating. We don’t know if the buyer read the white paper. We haven’t learned anything about the buyer other than a potential interest in the topic of the white paper, and which pages of our site they were curious enough to explore. As a sales person, that’s not a whole lot to go on, when you really think about it.
But — lucky us — that’s not where our knowledge stops. ion’s marketing team creates tons of interactive content that gives us far more insights than views and downloads. With an interactive version of a white paper, we can see which sections of the content the buyer viewed (and which they didn’t). With an assessment tool, we can see how the buyer answered questions about their situation or needs. With an online calculator, we can see the exact specifications the buyer input to receive pricing. Ultimately, what this information helps us do is pick up where the two-way marketing dialog leaves off. It gives us flexibility to meet the buyer at their point of interest and not force them to answer a bunch of self-serving questions while we try to dig for need or pain or fit. With the right interactive content, the buyer will have already shared their needs, pains or aspirations along the way. Static content really transforms into interactive sales enablement tools that help the buyer along in their journey. Which is what buyers want.
It’s the job of sales to pick up where the marketing conversation leaves off.
When done right, sales has just the right information to ensure a fantastic buyer-led experience, which is a far more modern approach to selling. That is why I am personally so darn excited about the digital dialogue.