When sales is a long game, your marketing can help shape the outcome

In the B2B world, the path to purchase is rarely direct or swift. That’s especially true when buying means a big financial or contractual commitment. In general, the higher the stakes of the purchase decision, the longer a customer needs to make it—and the more support they need along the way.

While you can’t rush a customer to a decision, you can actively guide them through the process and keep your brand top-of-mind when they’re ready to take the plunge. The key to doing this is to deliver the right message at the right time. Enabling the sales conversation can happen across a wide range of communications, including internal tools to make salespeople more effective, external communications that raise awareness or generate leads, and contact streams to continually engage current and prospective customers. But what do you communicate when? Where? And how?

At Simple Truth, we use a three-step process to uncover the answers. Our approach has helped clients like Aon Health dovetail their marketing strategy more seamlessly with sales efforts.

1) Know your audience.

You gain a natural in-road when your marketing is designed to give audiences what they want to know at a given point vs. what you want to tell them. The goal isn’t to steer the conversation but to guide it, ideally in the direction that supports customers, as well as your sales pipeline. To understand how to do this, answer these key questions: What are their purchase drivers? What are the steps in their decision-making process? What content can help address their questions, concerns and buying barriers?

2) Map the sales journey.

The B2B sales pipeline involves multiple audience touchpoints. Plot them out. Where, when and how do your salespeople connect with potential customers? Are there gaps in knowledge or information that your marketing can help fill? Can you help your salespeople engage in higher-value conversations with prospects? Or can materials like white papers, brochures or online resources do heavier lifting to educate and guide audiences to enable more fruitful sales meetings?

3) Communicate around the intersections.

Put your audience needs and sales journey together. There may be key points where you find intersections. There may be gaps. There may be milestone turning points. All of these are sweet spots for communicating in ways designed to support sales. Establish goals for each of these areas. From there, you can better determine which tactics will do the job most effectively.

By breaking down sales enablement into steps, bringing your audience across the journey becomes more achievable. If you’d like help along the way, Simple Truth can work with you to do journey-mapping and to create a marketing strategy that empowers your audience, supports your sales team and keeps the conversation going with customers at each touchpoint by delivering the information needed to ultimately drive action.