Sales acceleration is an often-forgotten but important consideration for B2B organizations. To get your customers from problem to purchase, from realization to retention, you need to be able to deftly guide them through the buying process.
Deft guidance means helping them dodge roadblocks and side-tracks as they try to find a solution to their problem or need. Providing low to no barriers to entry. And a seemingly effortless, smooth transition from problem identification to information search to the evaluation of alternatives – to a purchase decision and beyond.
There are a few steps you need to take to make the buying process as fluid and easy-to-navigate as possible (and to continually improve it through an ongoing marketing and sales data feedback loop).
Identify and Segment Your Target Audience
Step one is to shrink your target. The best way to get more business is to focus on the right prospects. When you have a laser-focused idea of who you are marketing to, you can develop a deeper understanding of your buyers – you can “talk the talk” so that your buyers will listen.
Your content, from social media posts to case studies, will resonate better, making your prospects and leads more likely to take the next step in the buyer’s journey. Take for example Hireology, creator of a SaaS platform for hiring new employees. After analyzing the market and customer data, they forwent broad-based marketing and instead focused on two specific segments: franchises and auto dealerships.
Adam Roginson, CEO of the company, says, “It’s so much easier to sell within a couple of markets where we are considered the leader.”
How do you identify your target audience? Start with a crystal-clear understanding of your organization and what you have to offer. What are the unique benefits of your product? Based on that understanding, create your ideal-buyer personas. Who would gain the most advantage from what you offer? Your services include not just your product but also your level of customer service, price range, and logistical capabilities.
Then use market research to understand your audience’s specific needs, pain points, and wants. Study your existing customers, gather information from your sales team, and stay up-to-date with industry trends to continually improve on your buyer personas.
Use customer data to segment your buyers. Segmentation will help you better personalize your marketing, which is key for creating a better customer experience and greasing the wheels of the buying process.
Understand and Leverage Data
Overwhelmed by sales and marketing data? You don’t need to be. Data analysis is important in order to truly understand your buyers and accelerate sales. This is where marketing and sales technology tools become invaluable, from Google Analytics to your marketing automation software to data from third-party sources.
Use data to determine:
- The best channels to use to engage with your customers
- What keywords your audience is using to search for the answers they are looking for
- What devices your customers are using to find solutions
- Your customers’ priorities, needs, and biggest challenges
Dominate Your Niche
When your buyers do interact with your brand, every experience should reinforce the idea that your organization is an industry leader. Every piece of content has to be useful and relevant, including website content, social media posts, and email newsletters.
Depending on what you find from your customer data analysis, the channels that your customers respond to should be your top priority. It’s better to focus on a handful of content types and get them right rather than diluting your message across less effective channels.
Find out what media types your target buyers prefer, and dominate your niche through consistent, extremely high-quality content via these priority channels, whether it is LinkedIn articles and expert interview podcast sessions, case studies and well-researched white papers, thought leader blog posts, instructional videos, or live events.
Keep in mind, 90 percent of B2B buyers say online content has a moderate to major impact on their purchase decisions. Therefore, make sure every facet of your organization’s online content creates the right impression for your brand and, more importantly, fits within your overall content strategy. Each piece of content should be connected to the rest.
Land and Expand
Branching out to an adjacent niche isn’t easy, but when done well, it can lead to long-term (and remarkable) growth. For your buyers, it gives them the opportunity to get more out of your brand, offering a one-stop shop for multiple solutions within your industry.
From a marketing perspective, it’s about looking beyond the defined borders of your audience to what else they are interested in and need. And it’s easy to figure out what that is: just ask them.
Nike is one of the best examples of shifting outwards, first through its marketing and later through product offerings. They started by establishing a leading position for selling athletic shoes, and over the years Nike branched out into every area of athletic apparel, from basketball to tennis to golf. It makes buyer decisions pure simplicity – customers already trust your brand and your products. They’ll be more likely to stick with your brand for cross-products.
Know who wants to take the journey and what channels to guide them through. Then, make it as easy as possible for them to find you. Once they are engaged, every step on their path should give them more confidence that purchasing your product is going to solve their original dilemma – and offer more value than they bargained for, because your grasp of data has led to a spot-on customer experience.
Sales acceleration is an important component of effective sales and marketing integration. Start by segmenting your audience, using data to understand their biggest needs, and then achieve growth by tapping into the right content and sales channels to support each stage of the buyer journey.