In the ever-changing environment of B2B demand generation, companies need to keep up with the latest trends in marketing and sales. That’s why Michelle Cirocco, Televerde’s VP of Client Success, has been attending the SiriusDecisions Summit for the past 8 years, and why Televerde is the Summit’s oldest titanium-level sponsor. We recently spoke with Michelle about this year’s Summit and what industry experts are saying on strategies for intelligent growth.
Q: What was the most important takeaway from the SDSummit?
MC: The future of the B2B salesperson is just as bright as it was 20 years ago. The myth that 67% of the buyer’s journey occurs digitally before talking with a sales rep has been debunked! The truth is that buyers interact with sales reps from the beginning to the end of buyer’s journey. Human contact is still necessary.
Q: What were some of the most surprising messages learned this year?
MC: The truth is the most surprising message also happened to be the most important takeaway—discrediting the myth that ‘the sales rep is dead’. This surprised many of us because it goes against what everyone, including SiriusDecisions, has been saying for the past 5 years.
Fundamentally, Televerde always knew human-to-human contact was necessary, but industry experts had started to say digital was more important.
The real benefit of digital is raising the level of brand awareness to help provide the prospect with a steady diet of your brand name. The prospect will know who you are and have an awareness of your business before human contact is made, leading to better sales enablement. However, human contact is still necessary to close sales. The digital side is a supplement to the human conversation.
Another major change in opinion had to do with content. Everyone has been saying ‘content is king’ and ‘the more content the better’, while at the same time 70% of content within B2B organizations goes unused. This is because content isn’t king, relevant content is. Content needs to be relevant to the buyer and serve a purpose.
Q: How have strategies for growth changed in recent years?
MC: Overall, sales and marketing teams are inundated by technology, which means we are always trying to use the newest technologies to get the right picture for growth. However, today there is not ONE set strategy to achieve growth.
Many companies are now utilizing account-based marketing, which starts by focusing on the specific needs and opportunities within a single account or group of named accounts. The root of this idea is that by addressing business challenges at each individual account-level first, overall marketing will improve.
Moreover, account-based marketing is the best way to identify the specific messages and strategies needed to build the best customer relationships. It is about delivering the right message at the right time to the right buyer. Data quality technology is heavily involved in this as well because clean data is the foundation to successfully market to accounts.
After focusing on the customer experience, you need to take that experience and leverage it to grow customer loyalty. Take advantage of your current customers to grow your customer base.
Q: How have buyer expectations changed?
MC: Buyers expect a better customer experience. The need for marketing and sales teams to be aligned is now greater than ever. Companies that maintain alignment achieve up to 19% faster revenue growth and 15% higher profitability. Marketing must deploy accurate messages to buyers, and sales must have consistent conversations with buyers so that your product can meet customer expectations based on these interactions.
Q: What is Televerde doing to stay ahead of competition and surpass client expectations?
MC: We are continually striving to deliver marketing and sales strategies and campaigns that provide prospects and customers with the experience they are expecting or more, which in turn drives revenue results that our clients need.
We offer various services that set us apart from competitors. One of the most important being the foundation for clean data through data quality technology. Accurate data is a necessity of any good marketing program to enable sales reps with the right contact and background information for buyer conversations. Additionally, we use marketing automation tools to develop and deliver the most relevant and personalized content.
The integration between these digital tools and inbound/outbound calling allows lead development reps to see what information the prospect has been exposed to and how we’ve interacted with them, providing more relevant information. Our combination of digital and human touch provides our clients with an integrated strategy that achieves more effective results and ROI. In the end, our strategy works because we focus on the prospective customer as well as our client.
Need your questions answered on b2b demand generation? Find out more about Michelle Cirocco’s expertise and subscribe to our blog for the latest trends in sales and marketing-as-a-service. Have a favorite story from your #SDSummit 2015 experience? Tell us on @televerde!