Maybe you remember the days when sales departments reigned supreme. Sales reps were the axis of the purchasing decision; they researched prospects, learned what selling points were going to matter and mastered a playbook of effective tactics to close the deal. It was their job to explain the product in a compelling way, educate prospects on the benefits and present the company in a trustworthy light.
The overwhelming access buyers have to research and data is changing the sales process dramatically. Today’s buyer typically acts independently of the sales process, with Gartner and Forrester research predicting that 80% of the buying journey will happen without any direct human interaction by 2020. Even today many buyers will sidestep the sales conversation as much as they can. Instead the purchasing decision is molded by influences like brand reputation and coworker recommendations.
In short, it’s become a buyer’s culture – and companies need to adapt their acquisition strategy.
Pretend for a moment that you’re the lead – that your business needs a new IT security solution. After reading content online, you might follow your favorite company on social media. You’ll look up reviews and opinions from other users. When do you finally speak to a salesperson? Only when you’ve got a strong sense of what you’re looking for.
And often that rep acts as a conduit to content and a resource to provide nuance, depth and detail that a buyer isn’t able to secure entirely on their own. For instance, after learning more about your challenges, preferences and goals, the Simpli.fi sales team will share a useful demo or documentation about our Programmatic Marketing Platform.
There are a few factors driving this shift. One is generational; Millennials are getting older and filling the business and consumer landscape in increasing numbers. Most were raised as digital natives, which means they’re accustomed to doing online research and reaching conclusions on their own. It’s becoming increasingly rare for anyone under a certain age to turn to a salesperson for guidance at an early buying stage.
Which brings us to the second factor driving this change – cynicism. Audiences of all ages are jaded. Overly promotional campaigns don’t impress leads because they see right through them. Instead, sales and marketing teams are dishing up content with solid information and documentation to validate the product.
What’s all this mean? Adtech sales and buyers are more technical and savvy than ever before. The typical sales handshake has been overridden by technology and access to what seems like unlimited resources and information. We’re always eager to produce content that provides value, informs your buying decisions and, ultimately, makes your lives easier. So we’d love to hear – what’s most valuable to you? White papers? Videos? Data and research? Share with us what questions you have so we can build content that matters to you.